Most companies and brands depend on their clients to empower their activities. For most Business-to-Consumer companies, having a supportive user community is crucial. These companies generate their incomes through their communities. Therefore, they highly value their users. In the modern world of business models, some companies use business models based on this relationship.
For companies that rely on user communities, the user-base communities business model is applicable. While it is not a unique or innovative model and has existed for a long time, the internet has changed the way it works. Therefore, it is necessary to understand this business model.
What are User-Base Communities?
User-base communities refer to the users that power a company’s business activities. These are groups that have a specific interest and come together under a company’s platform. Usually, the company plays a passive role in compensating these communities. User-base communities can be of significant importance for some companies or businesses.
The companies that use a business model based on communities accumulate thousands of users. Since the advent of the internet, managing and handling these users under the same roof has become relatively easier. In the past, it was more challenging to run a user-base community business model. Similarly, the number of users that participate in this business model has gone up significantly.
Most online businesses have their own communities through which their users interact. These communities can also provide users with support and help when needed. For companies that operate such userbase-communities, the business model is a mean of generating revenues. Similarly, some companies use it to interact with users directly without the need for third-party interference.
How do User-base Communities work?
User-based communities exist as a company’s efforts to accumulate users. The company usually provides a platform for users to interact. Most recently, these communities have shifted focus towards providing companies with an online presence. Users with similar interest or that follow the company’s products or services can participate in these communities.
User-base communities are different from social media platforms. This communities actually belong to the company. Similarly, the users involved in these communities are easier to analyze and interact with for companies. Likewise, companies can combine their user-based communities with other business models, such as the user-generated content business model.
There are various reasons why companies establish their own communities. As mentioned, most companies use it as an online support channel. It allows them a method to support customers without having to pay for other services. Some companies also use it to boost their customer engagement and product adoption. Some companies also use it to use it as a survey platform for platform development.
Companies can also use user-base communities to support their primary business model. For example, most online education companies use communities to allow users to help each other. This way, these communities essentially become a user-generated content platform. There are various online community solutions that are either free or inexpensive, making it easier to establish these communities.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of User-base communities?
There are some advantages and disadvantages for companies to set user-base communities. Among those, the most common are as follows.
The primary advantage of user-base communities is that it keeps companies relevant. Most companies use it to establish an online presence in customers’ networks. These communities have the potential to become much more successful and useful compared to social media channels.
These communities can also help companies attract new customers. When customers search the internet, they can come across these communities. Usually, it generates a positive image for the company. Customers can also use it to survey the company’s products or services.
Online communities can also help companies in harnessing leads. Companies can use it to interact with customers directly and promote their products to them. Similarly, they can use the platform to offer rewards or other promotions to customers.
User-base communities can also go wrong if not executed properly. These communities are usually susceptible to online trolls. Similarly, competitive companies can spam others’ communities to tarnish their reputation or brand image.
Similarly, managing these communities is an extra administrative task for companies. Companies need to have dedicated employees that moderate these communities. For most companies, the effort may outweigh the benefits of operating their communities.
Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon have their own user-based communities. Most of these companies use their communities to promote their products or services. Similarly, they use it as a platform to support its users. Other platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferU and Locanto, operate similar communities.
User-base communities come from companies that have online platforms to support their users. These communities can be of significant importance to companies. Some companies use it as a support platform, while others may use it for promotions or product development. Through user-base communities, companies can get better engagement from customers and users compared to social media platforms.