Showing 1-20 of 34 products
Hivebrite is a cloud-based online community management platform for incubators, businesses, schools, and nonprofits including institutions with limited resources. It helps organizations build brand engagements and opportunities for... Read more
Vanilla is a cloud-based community management solution for consumer goods, financial services, gaming, media and publishing and technology. The solution helps organizations engage members, create discussion forums and gather ideas... Read more
Insightrix Communities is a cloud-based online research community platform designed for government agencies, corporate researchers and research units. It helps organizations in both qualitative and quantitative research by collecting... Read more
Disciple is where communities thrive. The platform helps people build independent, valuable and trusted communities in a safe space that they own and control. Disciple offers the best features of social platforms like groups, live-streaming... Read more
Happeo is an intranet software focused on improving internal communications. It integrates exclusively with G Suite and provides users with content management capabilities, employee engagement analytics, permission management and the... Read more
AnswerHub is an online developer community solution available for deployment either in the cloud or on-premise. It is suitable for midsize businesses to large enterprises across various industries. AnswerHub enables team collaboration... Read more
QuestionPro Communities is a cloud-based community management solution that offers customer-panel management, discussion forums, surveys, polls, live chat, feedback management and customer intelligence functionalities within a suite.... Read more
Quip is a project management and community collaboration tool that help users work together and communicate without emails. Users can create and edit spreadsheets, documents and checklists in the system, and team members can chat and... Read more
inSided is a cloud-based community platform that is designed to improve client support and conversion rates. People have many questions in their mind before buying a product and they look for answers online. inSided lets you create... Read more
Jostle is a cloud-based collaboration and social networking solution that helps businesses share news, align teams, invite participants and recognize contributions. The platform allows employees to discuss topics and share their ideas... Read more
Tribe is a cloud-based community platform solution designed for online communities of all sizes. Key elements include complete customization, embeddable widgets, modern design, comprehensive API, gamification, analytics, powerful moderation... Read more
Zoho Connect is a cloud-based project collaboration tool designed for businesses of all sizes across various industries. It allows users to build an enterprise social network so that colleagues can collaborate and connect on projects. Zoho... Read more
Grow your alumni community with ToucanTech, a cloud-based software. It is designed for businesses, universities and schools. It is an all-in-one community software that saves both your time and cost. With secured protocols and servers,... Read more
Vaave is a cloud-based alumni engagement software that helps schools, colleges and corporations build alumni database and plan reunions. Its key features include fundraising, mentorship, employer branding and talent acquisition. The... Read more
VeryConnect is a cloud-based membership management solution that provides services such as member data collection, subscription and payment management, email campaigns and event creation. It is suitable for membership organizations... Read more
AdvocateHub is an engagement and advocacy software that helps organizations manage a group of "on-demand" advocates. AdvocateHub’s features include engagement of advocates with targets and interactive challenges, exclusivity, recognition... Read more
Yotpo is a cloud-based customer content marketing platform for e-commerce businesses of all sizes. The solution enables users to collect every type of user-generated content and use it to build brand and manage customer experience. Yotpo’s... Read more
Higher Logic is an online community management software. It creates a place where customers interact with each other. It helps in building brand loyalty and creates a peer-to-peer support environment. Higher Logic's platform is for... Read more
MangoApps offers digital workplace solutions that combine intranet, collaboration, messaging, learning and 50+ built-in integrations. With an employee platform at its core, MangoApps is suitable for midsize to large organizations in... Read more
Raklet is a cloud-based club and event management solution that provides an integrated workflow for maintaining a contact database, collecting payments, organizing events and automating email and SMS communication. Raklet enhances... Read more
Online communities provide a platform for individuals to connect around a shared interest, goal or activity. Users form a network, develop relationships and collaborate by sharing information and engaging with content.
Community software helps businesses build and develop these forums, cultivate followers and maintain memberships. These tools automate administrative processes and provide businesses with actionable data on metrics and trends such as site activity and user engagement.
There are a variety of solutions on the market designed to serve every type of business need, including brand building, customer support and many more.
We’ve created this guide to help you better understand the community software market so you can select the right tool for your organization. Whether you’re looking to invest in community software for the first time or looking to replace your current system, this guide can help you make a more informed purchase decision.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Community Software?
Businesses and associations build online communities to achieve several goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Grow their customer base
- Support customers throughout the entire customer life cycle (i.e., considering, purchasing, using, maintaining and/or replacing a product or service)
- Provide a forum for discussion/feedback regarding products and/or services
Of course, first and foremost, communities should provide value to the end user.
Community software solutions help businesses build, launch, manage and measure the effectiveness of their online communities so as to strive for continuous improvement, i.e., provide the most value to the customer.
Key Features of Community Software
Look for the following community software capabilities as you compare solutions:
|Member management||Enable users to create profiles, join groups and/or chapters. Often includes search functionality or a directory. Can include membership dues management (works with merchant account platforms) to manage paid memberships.|
|Content management||Create web content and track how users interact with different types of content. Can include process documentation, wikis, articles and more. Set up online and emailed content alerts for when content is added or updated.|
|Forums and discussion boards||Facilitate communication and collaboration among users, allowing them to follow threads, share ideas, post questions and respond to inquires. Includes features such as @ mentions, the ability to like and/or share posts, insert emojis, add tags and other classifications to posts and archive discussions. Often includes the ability to send private messages as well.|
|Blog creation and management||Set up blogs for your business, employees or individual members. Allow users to create and share content, organize content using tags and other classifications and subscribe to blogs. Includes security settings, user permissions and the ability to turn commenting on or off.|
|Gamification/crowdsourcing||Increase user engagement in your community with tools such as gamification, contests, surveys and/or polls. Invite users to post scores on their profile or share to their social networks.|
|Media libraries||Upload and store files in a centralized, searchable location. Features often include customizable user permissions, share settings and the ability to turn on/off commenting. Enlist users in library maintenance by allowing them to tag out of date files, broken links etc.|
|Event management||Showcase events and conferences and work with your partners to cultivate sponsorships and your customers to build out your attendees. Features include online registration, agenda/calendar building and payment management.|
|Reporting and analytics||Includes dashboards and reports for several metrics, including member activity, site interactions, content shares and many more. Schedule one-off or recurring reports, view data in various graphical displays and export data to Excel. Create custom reports to track trends unique to your business or industry.|
Types of Community Software:
Community software can create and manage several types of communities. These can generally be grouped as follows:
Internal business tools. This includes communities designed to facilitate collaboration among employees and crowdsource ideas to solve internal business issues. They can also act as an internal knowledge center where employees can access reference material, join relevant groups and search for important business documentation and processes. Can also include professional development and training.
Capabilities might include:
- Employee directory
- Talent referral
- Opinion surveys and polls
Business-to-consumer (B2C). This includes a variety of communities designed to help businesses engage with current and prospective clients, most often centered around business development/sales, customer relationship management, support and training. Can also host reviews of products and services. Non-profit and professional development associations can also use this software to engage with members or users rather than customers.
Capabilities likely include:
- Branded blog, news, and/or social network
- Forums and discussion boards
- Content and media library
- Group/chapter management
- Event management
B2B communities enable businesses to interact with other organizations in their industry, most often through partner programs and industry and awareness brand marketing. This resource can be helpful when highlighting new programs, product releases and updates as well as when creating and/or responding to RFPs.
Capabilities often include:
- Business profiles
- Product/service videos
- Document sharing
- Event management/sponsorship tools
Consumer-to-consumer. This category includes communities built by consumers to serve and engage with other consumers, such as interest-based communities (e.g., sports, video games, city/geographical involvement etc.), professional development associations and product/service reviews forums.
Capabilities might include:
- Member profiles
- Group/chapter management
- Forums and discussion boards
- Private messaging
- Content management
Additionally, it’s possible (and likely) for a hybrid community to exist within any of these categories. An example of this is when customers interact with each other and the business joins in on the discussion.
Each community will require member management and offer some degree of reporting/analytics for administrative members. As the primary goal for these systems is to provide value to end users, it’s important to chose a solution with reporting functionality that supports your business and industry requirements.
Key Considerations for Community Software Buyers
Keep the following purchase considerations in mind as you compare solutions:
Open-source community software. There are several open-source solutions on the market that can help you get an online community set up with lower upfront costs than you’d have with a paid solution.
However, you will require an IT staff to host and maintain the system, which means, as one vendor states on their website “you break it, you fix it.” You also have limited support, training and customer service options with open source tools, so consider the needs of both your administrative and end users before choosing this option.
Integration with existing business software. Integration allows for seamless data transfer between applications, which is a chief concern when using disparate systems. Look for tools that integrate with your existing business applications (e.g., your CRM, marketing, help desk and social media accounts) to save time and reduce duplicate data entry.
Actionable insights/reporting. The key with reporting is to gain actionable insights. Your community software should help you strive for continuous improvement so as to provide the most value to your end user, so you should supplement your reporting strategy with feedback loops. Additionally, look for trends that allow you to enhance and tailor the user experience to each member group, which can lead to increased and prolonged membership.