by Carrie Melissa Jones
I have noticed that more and more companies are moving toward creating owned platforms for their customer communities and their power users because they are seeing the major successes of others (look to Salesforce if you want a very clear example of success). They're serious about connecting their customers, and they're moving away from doing it as an afterthought or assuming that community is a nebulous thing they can't possibly tackle.
Choosing a community platform is a big decision. It requires going through a 9-step process to determine the needs of your company and then evaluating over 100 platforms to see if they fit those needs.
There are two types of communities: ones that are central to everything the business does (think: Etsy, Lyft) and ones that are ancillary and fuel the goals of a certain department.
It is never too early to consider creating a community of either type. If you have strong individual relationships with customers, begin to introduce them to one another and tell their stories. This will get the ball rolling.