Our 7th annual Community Predictions edition is almost here!
This year, we spoke to 22 experts in the community field who talked about what’s coming in the next 12 months. Let me tell you, Community in 2022 is set to be a wild ride!
Here are 10 key takeaways from the Community Predictions 2022 edition. Do you predict something different? Let us know in the comments!
1. Community in the new normal
The new normal means that all programs and disciplines will have to adapt - some more than others. For 2022, community is faced with possibles hurdles such as digital fatigue.
How can community builders overcome these potential challenges? “By staying relevant,” Esther Heide told me, “ensuring you provide real value to the lives of the people you serve.”
2. Community-led hybrid events are coming
“We’re never going to separate these two again,” explains Todd Nilson. “There’s always going to be an online component - it’s cheaper, it’s a better gauge for analytics, and it enables people from anywhere in the world to attend,” he continued.
3. The support community is no longer king
Customers want more from their community than product support. They want connection. They want belonging.
“Retaining people purely through support is tough and can limit the expansion of your community portfolio,” explains Erica Kuhl. Transactional relationships just aren’t good enough anymore, customers want connection and belonging.
4. Community will be a leader in online accessibility
“Community,” says Marjorie Anderson, “can no longer be stagnant, we need to be moving toward a more cognizant and accommodating program for those who need it.”
With things already in motion that will mean better accessibility in some communities, we cannot go into 2022 lacking direction and solid guidelines, organizations will be left with no option but to catch up!
5. Community as a part of Centers of Excellence
Of late, community has taken on a more central role as part of an organization’s success, but in 2022, community professionals need to push buy-in and establish value to be recognized as a CoE.
It should be “an everybody solution; a central location for everybody. We use community to touch on everything we can,” says Rav Singh.
6. There will be better assessment on community value and ROI
The value a community provides should not be based on quantity of interactions but instead, on quality interaction.
“Typically speaking, organizations want to see an uptick in human activity,” says Nichole Devolites, but in 2022, “We can’t force that. How we really prove ROI is by utilizing those nuggets of conversation that move things forward,” she explains.
7. The community career path is widening
The pandemic, despite all the damage it has caused, can be thanked for some things; being a catalyst to prove the value of the community professional’s work is one of them.
“We have all this momentum from the pandemic but now we need to clearly communicate what we do, and what we’re worth to bring more value to the role,” says Rachael Silvano.
8. There will be attention paid and action taken on inclusion and diversity
There is a pressing need for conversations that lead to change. Simply talking is far below the par required to play the course. Words are no longer good enough to prove diversity and inclusion. Action is required.
Kara Adams heads the Foundant Community which has employed the Montana Racial Equity program to ensure progression. “We’re still a work in progress but the point is that we are progressing. We’re improving on a consistent basis and what we do now has an impact on what we can do in the future,” explains Kara Adams.
9. Community is moving away from marketing and toward customer success
2022 is an opportune moment for more communities to see their value through the eyes of customer success. It’s much more profitable for an organization to delight existing customers than to sell to new ones and community can enhance the customer journey at almost every touchpoint.
Amanda Peterson thoroughly agrees: “Marketing’s purpose of acquisition doesn’t fit with the community purpose. Nobody wants a space where they’re being sold to.”
As organizations grasp the full scope of community potentiality, we’re going to see a huge push away from marketing and into customer success.
10. AI and automation are coming
AI and automation is not only going to be helpful but it will be necessary to the future of community. 2022 won’t see community being taken over by machines, but it will gradually work to enhance it. A common question though is, how do communities provide an authentic experience if they automate?
Actually, Lauren Krawitz explained, AI could help further authentication rather than damage it: “Utilizing AI over the next year is going to help us come up with even better initiatives.”
These takeaways and so many more can be found in the full, 7th annual edition of Community Predictions. Get your copy here today!