Online market research communities have become an increasingly popular way for businesses to gather valuable insights about their target audience. To remain agile in rapidly changing business landscapes, companies must maintain an ongoing open dialogue with their customers, who are stakeholders in their brand. Online communities offer a platform for companies to engage with their customers and gather feedback on new products, marketing campaigns, and overall brand perception. At Fuel Cycle, we understand that maintaining a community can feel daunting, which is why we want to discuss community management frequently asked questions (FAQs) to demystify the process. 

FAQs: Managing An Online Community 

Creating a thriving market research community is a complex process that involves various steps, including selecting a suitable platform, defining research objectives, recruiting members, and gaining stakeholder support. Establishing a thriving online community can take years of hard work and dedication. 

However, the work doesn’t stop there. Maintenance is essential to ensure that the community continues to function smoothly and effectively, even after it has been established. These FAQs will help you understand how to keep the ball rolling even after the initial excitement disappears. 

Question: How Do You Approach Overall Program Management? 

Answer: Fuel Cycle partners with clients to develop a strategy tailored to their unique needs, including key performance indicators (KPIs), implementation and recruiting, development of learning plans, research cadence, and execution. Additionally, we schedule formal weekly meetings and Quarterly Business Reviews to ensure Fuel Cycle exceeds expectations and always aligns with a client’s core KPIs.

All service plans include community management support to ensure a client’s community is happy, healthy, engaged, and connected. Community management includes responding to member questions, weekly meetings with the client’s team, and complete control of incentive distribution.

‌Fuel Cycle offers three service tiers to meet each client’s unique needs.

  • ‌Full Service: Includes a top-tier research team of experts in qualitative and Quantitative research methods
  • ‌ Hybrid: Fuel Cycle recognizes that client needs may change over time, moving from DIY to full service. We are flexible, and you will always have a service team ready to help you with any level of service required.
  • ‌Do-It-Yourself (DIY): Fuel Cycle’s Platform is incredibly user-friendly, offering a complete DIY solution.

Question: How Do You Keep Community Members Engaged? 

Answer: Fuel Cycle is committed to empowering our clients to execute highly impactful research rather than worry about allocating resources to administration and project management.

‌To that end, best-in-class community management services are built into Fuel Cycle’s offerings. Not only will Fuel Cycle consult with clients on best practices to approach community engagement and research cadence, but we will also provide strategic support and planning, direct member engagement, and incentive management.

Question: How Does Engagement Work? In My Experience, A Massive Effort Is Required To Keep The Community Healthy, And I Want To Avoid Worrying About That.

Answer: ‌Market research communities are great places to share insights and build customer relationships. But sometimes, they can get stale.

If your community feels a little stale, Fuel Cycle can reinvigorate it using our four-phase process, including engagement activities, research methods, audience refresh, and KPI monitoring.

Engagement Activities

To avoid a stale research community, researchers develop a roadmap to engage stakeholders with ongoing communication that connects research activities to company priorities. 

Additionally, researchers refresh content and incentives to keep members interested, activate community building/encourage members to communicate with each other and delegate an engagement role to a community member. Incorporating a variety of live events, such as debates, presentations, and parties, can significantly increase participation and strengthen relationships among members.

Research Methods

Researchers will deploy various creativity in research methods, assess the length of projects, vary topics, switch up formats, and allow member-generated topics.

Member-generated topics play a crucial role in the growth and success of an online market research community. When members feel empowered to share their ideas and opinions, they become more invested in the community and feel a greater sense of ownership over their contributions. This, in turn, leads to increased engagement and participation, as members are more likely to respond to relevant and exciting topics.

Audience Refresh

To increase the reach and impact of an online market research community, researchers must proactively recruit new members and promote the community to internal teams and stakeholders. By ensuring that the community is front and center for all new hires and internal teams, researchers can increase awareness and participation and create a culture of engagement that permeates throughout the organization.

One effective strategy for reaching new audiences is to diversify and recalibrate the audience to fit internal and departmental needs. This means identifying areas of the organization that could benefit from the insights and perspectives of the community and tailoring the messaging and content to speak directly to those audiences. 

In addition to diversifying the audience, researchers should focus on continuously recruiting new members to maintain a vibrant and active community. This can be achieved through targeted marketing campaigns, referral programs, and strategic partnerships with other organizations or industry associations. 

KPI Monitoring

Researchers continually measure the volume of members, quality of responses, participation rates/engagement, and members’ satisfaction via surveys so they can make adjustments as needed to maintain the community’s health. 

For example, if participation rates are low, researchers can explore new engagement activities or refresh the audience to attract new members. If member satisfaction is low, researchers can survey members to identify pain points and areas for improvement.

A Sustainable Community Solution 

Research illustrates that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that are not. While most brands can appreciate the notion that customer centricity is a crucial driver of business success, implementing a sustainable solution for collecting continuous feedback and maintaining that solution isn’t as simple as it sounds. 

At Fuel Cycle, we offer a community solution that connects brands with customers for honest conversations that guide business decisions. Our clients can deliver a unique and consistent brand experience, leaving their customers feeling understood and longing for more.

Fuel Cycle Community eliminates frustrations and bottlenecks. With continuous customer engagement that delivers actionable intelligence, you can empower your teams to do more without worrying about maintenance.