Engaged communities are built on a strong structure. Our Community Platform gives you structure so that you can engage members by serving interesting and relevant content to the right people, and so that you can continue to learn more about those people over time.
The feature set that gives administrators the structure they need to build engaged, valuable communities is called Groups, and in this article we want to walk through how they work and what you can accomplish with them.
So, What are Groups?
Think of an online community like a university, and groups as university programs. While each student attends university for similar reasons, to learn and connect, they choose their specific program based on their own personal interests. You wouldn’t lecture a biology student on marketing best practices, would you? Just as each program is designed to satisfy the specific needs of the student, you can use groups to target content to specific sets of users, or segment your reports based on those same groups.
In this article, we include a few screens from a demo community built on our Community Platform.
It's a foodie community, because we're a hungry group here at Chaordix.
In some community platforms, groups are simple areas members can join to discuss a specific topic. Groups in our platform, however, are much more powerful than that. Let’s dig into how groups work in our Community Platform.
We use two distinct types of groups that function behind the scenes to provide structure and control for community administration:
- Static Groups are ones you build yourself. In other words, these are groups that members are added to manually - you get to choose the actual people. This is for cases where administrators want to pick the members of a group, such as employees of a company or members with qualifications that need to be vetted.
- Smart Groups are ones that build themselves based on criteria you set. Once you’ve determined the detailed criteria for your smart group, any members that meet this criteria will be added automatically - you get to choose the type(s) of people. This criteria can range from as general as a member’s location to as specific as a user’s answer to a certain poll question. The number of members in smart groups is not fixed, the group grows as more members meet the set criteria.
The capabilities of groups go beyond their ability to categorize community members. In fact, groups give you power on a couple of different levels.
2 Ways Groups Give You Power:
- Cater (pun intended) Customer Experiences
- Understand Your Customers
Catered Customer Experiences
In our platform, everything administrators post can be targeted by Group. In this way, Groups allow you to create a customized social feed for each group, showing them only the most relevant and interesting content to fit their needs. You’re even able to decide what challenges, activities, surveys and discussions users can view and participate in based on the interests or characteristics of the group. In this way, members are only being served content they get value out of and are able to contribute meaningfully to, improving overall community engagement.
In the Phood community, vegetarians and vegans fall into the 'Veggie Loverz' Group.
Above is an example of an activity that only members of the 'Veggie Loverz' Group would see.
Groups are a powerful tool for brands wanting to offer their customers more tailored experiences. Rather than each member of your community viewing the exact same content, therefore having the same experience, groups give you the opportunity to target your content to specific people, according to whichever group(s) they fall into. This ensures the experience for each member feels as if it’s catered to them.
What about all the meat lovers in the house? Above is an activity for them.
Members of the Veggie Loverz Group would not see it; no grilled steak in their feeds!
Understand Your Customers
Being able to understand your customers’ behaviours, preferences, and how they participate can have a noticeable impact on your businesses performance. In addition to creating catered experiences for your customers, groups allow you to get to know your customers on a deeper level with more advanced reporting capabilities.
Our platform provides administrators with a health dashboard, 26 pre-built reports that you can export with ease, and unique dashboards for each activity. Any reporting that you run within the community can be filtered by groups.
This gives you the ability to compare data within and between groups, which is important if your brand is looking to gain a better understanding of your customers and the types of people that use your products and services. Access to granular and comprehensive data on a group by group basis is an incredible resource for brands looking to test products, experiment with messaging, and gauge reactions to new advertisements - just to name a few common use cases.
Just like students only want to attend classes relevant to their degree, your customers only want to be served content relevant to their interests. Groups allow you to satisfy the unique wants and needs of each of your customers, while also providing your business with the advantage of filtered reporting. If you are looking for a way to improve your customer’s experience while getting to know them on a deeper level, I would consider adding groups to your next syllabus.
Congrats, you’ve successfully completed Groups 101! Class dismissed.