Use Emerging Online Communities and Shopify Forums to Boost Your Business
Online communities offer many benefits to Shopify stores, whether your business is a brick-and-mortar store with an online element or a solely e-commerce experience.
When you build a Shopify forum, your customers can interact with one another and enhance their experience of your product or service. It also enables you to interact directly with your consumers and offer a more personalized customer service experience.
Shopify forums are a useful tool for:
- driving more traffic to your Shopify store
- keeping your online community engaged
- answering questions and receiving feedback
- allowing customers to support each other, and in turn, decreasing customer support costs
- increasing customer loyalty and retention
So, what exactly is a Shopify forum — and how can you start your own?
What is a Shopify Forum?
A Shopify forum is an online community, and, as with any online community, there is a central common interest that ties the community together. For a Shopify forum, that common interest is your Shopify store and its products and services.
On a Shopify forum, you might find very different information depending on the type of Shopify store where the forum is located. For example, a SaaS company on Shopify might run a forum that mainly discusses how to use their software. In contrast, an art supply store’s Shopify forum may ask and answer painting-related questions.
Regardless of the industry, however, you can expect to find the following on a Shopify forum:
- community engagement
- relationship building (between customers and with the business)
- brand loyalty
- positive and constructive feedback
- creative collaboration
- questions and answers
- unique ideas and innovation from consumers
- collective support
When you build a Shopify forum, your customers can interact with one another and enhance their experience of your product or service.
How to Create a Shopify Forum with PeerBoard
Since Shopify forums are good for business, your Shopify store is missing out on a valuable tool if you don’t host a space where your online community can thrive.
Although you can use sites like Facebook or Reddit to create an online community around your Shopify store, it’s better to create a forum directly on your Shopify website. You can do that through apps like PeerBoard that have a Shopify extension.
- moderation support
- public and private forum options
- flexible customization options
- SEO-friendly indexing
- rich user profiles
- extensive editors
And to get started, you can request a free, personalized demo. There are also other options for integrating your Shopify forum on your website, and you can always use a social media site such as Reddit.
Tips for Running a Shopify Forum
Here are a few tips to get you started if you want to run a successful Shopify forum on your website.
Hire a Community Manager
Although forums do run themselves to a certain extent, a community manager helps ensure that things run smoothly in your online space. The manager helps moderate conversation, promote engagement, and represent your brand.
Establish Rules and Standards
It’s important to have a set of standards for your online community that aligns with your brand values. And while having rules is the first step, ensuring that your community members agree and abide by them is just as important. Before members join, make sure that they understand the basics and have them agree — and let them know the consequences if they don’t.
Know Your Audience
No matter what industry your brand is in, knowing your audience (and knowing them well) enables success. Spend some time researching who might join your online community and try to tailor your Shopify forum to their needs as well as your own.
Build Your Profile
While your community manager will have their own profile, they shouldn’t be the only brand ambassador in the forum (unless that forum is incredibly small). Don’t overlook the importance of creating a strong profile for yourself. Continue to be mindful of your target audience as you flesh out your profile.
Test the Sign-Up Process
Before you launch your online community, it is imperative that you experience it from your users’ point of view. So, go through the sign-up and sign-in processes to see if it goes smoothly. If there are any hiccups, you can remedy the experience. Consider if you need more or fewer questions during the initial sign-up process and if you want users to have certain qualifications upon joining.
Beware of Spam
Spam accounts run rampant online, and once they discover your Shopify forum, they will try to take over. Before that happens, take the necessary precautions and put spam blockers in place. One example is reCAPTCHA, which asks users to click on images with specific objects in them. Real people will pass the test with ease — Spam accounts, not so much.
Take Advantage of Online Communities by Building a Shopify Forum with PeerBoard
When you build an online community through PeerBoard, you can host a Shopify forum directly on your website and reap the benefits of a trusted app that can help walk you through the process of creating a Shopify forum.