Community Forums as Focus Group
There are several reasons a community makes an amazing focus group:
1-Community members are actual people, not personas. These are people who use, or potentially could use, your product or service in a real world. Sometimes you can get caught up in personas, but a community will be actual customers/clients, who can give you honest feedback and use cases. You can use this to identify demographics that connect, or work to target those that do not.
2- Every member has a voice. It's not only the owner or staff of the community that asks questions. Members can ask one another for their opinions, too. Being so close to your brand, you may sometimes miss out on what to ask. With a community, you can learn just by paying attention. You can also follow or bookmark those discussions and see how they develop.
3- It can help you make a better experience/product, or give you ideas for content marketing. Examine the topics/issues that keep coming up again and again. Maybe your order page needs clarification on features. Maybe a tutorial video would help people get more out of their purchase. By nature, people love to share their opinions. You may get some very creative suggestions, perspectives or issues you did not consider.
4- A community solution offers you a microcosm. You can ask the whole community for feedback or you can be very selective and use the community to identify trusted or experienced members. A community offers you the unique opportunity to learn from everyone, whether they are novices or experts. With some forum solutions (such as Vanilla with reactions), members can share how they feel about how a member contributes to the community, making identifying the most helpful or insightful users even easier.
5- You can decide how the conversation takes place, in public or in private. With granular permissions, individual members can be invited to share their knowledge and their opinions in private. Or it can be public and you can let everyone voice their opinion.
By bringing the audience you seek to your platform, a community forum can be a very powerful tool full of rich insights. Next time you need a focus group or opinion on any topic, consider your community forum as the go-to source.
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