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A Powerful All-in-One Community Platform to Engage Your Customers

You need a community platform that provides a seamless experience, no matter where your customers are, or what the objectives of your community may be. Every community is different, so we've created an all-in-one community platform to make your vision a reality.

You're in good company

Build your brand through one-on-one relationships

Use peer-to-peer relationships as a resource

See true impact on your company's bottom line

Deeper conversations can get lost in traditional marketing. Building a community platform gives you the opportunity to develop deeper relationships without sacrificing message quality.

If you have plans to scale your business, having the help of your passionate customers will allow you to bring them into the development process, allowing you to test drive ideas before investing.

Brand advocates are highly satisfied customers that will promote your brand without incentive. They are typically trusted 5x more and refer an average of four customers.

Why community?

5. Compare the vendors side-by-side based on the requirements list.

Prioritize the features/benefits that really matter to you. Use this list to make sure vendors don’t try to convince you that what matters to you isn’t important if it doesn’t line up with their offering.

Selecting a Community

1. Make a list of all key stakeholders that will want to see the results from the community

Ask them what kind of information they are looking for: think about KPIs, Customer Satisfaction Ratings, Employee Engagement, NPS, etc. Meet with them to make sure you understand their expectations.

2. Bring your technical team to the table and ask them their concerns about the new platform.

Make sure you address those from the get-go by getting their requirements. Will you need their help in deploying the selected solution? Think about the flow your intended audience would have to interact with your community (SSO from your product, LMS, CRM, etc).

3. Develop a list of requirements.

- or better yet, download our community requirements RFP document.  It details out every important benefit/feature that needs to be in the technology to ensure it will meet your needs, ensure that you aren’t blindsided by missing important features and address all the security and IT concerns.

4. Build a vendor short-list

Too many and you’ll be overwhelmed by sales processes. A great way to build the list is by:  Looking at your competitors:  What platforms are they using? What’s great about their communities? What’s not so good that you would like to do better?  Look at 3rd-party review websites: Sites such as G2Crowd, GetApp, and others. Turn to your peers: what platforms do they use?

Selecting the right platform for your community is just as important of a decision as the type of community. Put the objectives of your community front and center. The technology has to align with meeting the goals. Although technology alone won’t do it for you, it’s critical that it doesn’t get in your way either.

Lou Gallo
Direct of Support
"Vanilla is so easy to set up. Like, especially with the theming and shaping your community in the way you want it. The CSS coding was there and I could just go in and put in my code."
Graham Henderson
Associate Director of Player Community

Once you’ve determined your platform and the reason for your community, the next step is the fun part. Setting up your community and getting ready for launch. As fun as this may be, there is also a lot of hard work and a lot of trial and error. Remember that a community is a fluid entity and you must be able to adapt as needed.

Setting up and managing a community

In the beginning, and in order to support the growth of your community, designating a community manager is a must. The community manager has their finger on the pulse of the community and is intimately aware of, and involved with all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the community. Depending on the purpose you want your community to serve, they may have different objectives.

Encouraging Great Community Engagement

Qualtrics is a self-proclaimed "customer-obsessed" organization, so with changing customer behaviours and expectations, they realized the need for a dedicated customer space. The Qualtrics' digital support plan needed to scale up and a community was the solution. 

The community was seen as the central aspect of their digital support plan to scale their team and enhance their customers' experience. Self service options, comprehensive documentation, discussion, networking opportunities, and optimized content ensured Qualtrics' customers had a one-stop-shop for online solutions.

To read more on the Qualtrics experience with Community click here.

How to measure Community Success

When measuring your community’s performance, ask yourself this question: “what am I hoping to accomplish with this community?” Answering this question will help drive the analytical approach you use. For example, if your community exists to generate sales, you will be looking at sales conversion rates. Google Analytics, as well as other programs, offer a wide variety of metrics to look through. Answering the question above, however, helps let you know where to look. Download our in-depth guide on implementing Google Analytics into your online community, providing you with information from setting up your personal dashboard to creating custom reports. 

Download our guide.

Lou Gallo
Direct of Support
"I know it sounds simple, but just pinning up the question 'Have a question? Ask the community.' upfront brought us surprising results. The community has taken to really helping one another and it's positively impacted the workload for the support team. We couldn't be happier."
Lou Gallo
Direct of Support
Launching an online community can be daunting. Vanilla provides a one-stop-shop solution that combines the power of customer community, Q&A, knowledge base, and ideation to help brands improve CX and brand loyalty while reducing costs. 


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How to Build an Online Community Forum

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