How B2B companies should build communities

 If you’re a B2B business trying to figure out how to build a community, here are some key tips to consider.

Have a clear business goal

Does your B2B business need to increase referrals or improve your customer retention rate?

Being clear about the goals for why you want to build a community is an important first step. This will help you build a longer term vision for how the community can help your business.

Develop your KPIs

Once you are clear on your business goal, you can develop relevant metrics around this to ensure you are measuring the effectiveness of the community on helping your business over time.

For example: if the goal of your B2B company is to increase the rate of referrals, then your KPI really should be tracking the number of referrals received before you launch the community (as a baseline) and then periodically determining if the community is having an impact on this metric over time.

Really get to know your members (customers) in your community 

What are their goals, motivations, challenges, roadblocks?
All of these answers will help you determine valuable content in future.

Where do they currently “hang out” or go to ask questions around their business?
This will help you determine the best community platform to get started (I always advise to start building where your community naturally hangs out if possible).

How is your community helping them with the first question above (goals, challenges etc)?

You should truly understand how you can help the people and businesses in your community.

Don’t focus on vanity numbers

What does 10,000 members in a community even mean? Refer to my first point of ensuring your business goals are aligned with the community goals.

Community is not sales or marketing

The teams may work closely together, but don’t think of community as “just another sales channel” or another way to push business announcements.

Community is so much more than that.

It’s a two way platform where you can connect members in the group with each other and have authentic conversations with your customers. Developing trust is key.

Listen and adapt to your members

Community is not a “static” play, you will need to listen to the voices in your community and have transparent conversations. If something in your community is not working, look for alternative solutions and adapt to meet their needs.

Alternatively if something IS working, ensure you increase the visibility and include it in your onboarding process (if applicable).

I cover all of the above in more detail in my video below. If you would like to discuss B2B communities further, you can reach out to me directly via email or Twitter

I'm on Twitter & Youtube!

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