How can we show the value of forums to the business?

This is a wiki post, feel free to edit it to add to the list, or add comments with contributions.

Forums have some great advantages over chat spaces, for example, the SEO value, or the general tendency for people to search for answers before posting.

How can we prove, show or document the value of forums to businesses?

Some ideas to get started:

  • questions people ask are useful for research
  • we can tap into real struggles
  • marketing can learn to use members lingo
  • the longer it exists, the more of a moat it is
  • content can be used to inspire business content
  • we can see real people and what they talk about, build up a picture of them
  • a good forum shows we care

What else would you add?

Anyone in the business, even if they’re in a 10,000+ person company is 1 click away from their customers and their pain points (if they can properly apply ethnographic research on it).

Network effects applied to their business as a long-term benefit. Case studies would be indiehackers vs like a starterstory (never heard of it, right? No forum :()

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  • offers a list of folks to provide other outreach to (office hours invitation, etc)
  • can help you find superfans
  • seo bait (a large % of our traffic comes from forum content)
  • can be a place to offer customer support at scale for people on free or cheaper plans
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I like to do A/B values as much as possible. So basically ask questions like:

  • Do community members spend more with us than non community members?
  • Is it less expensive to retain community members than non community members?
  • Is it less expensive to onboard community members than non community members?
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Do you have a definition of A/B values? Is that comparing things to life with and without community?

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Yeah, I do community members/non-community members, so exactly as you presumed.

Real time intelligence on issues. You will see issues bubble to the surface on a community quicker than you will via traditional support channels, especially call centers. Generally I find they give you clues to confirm issues via searching the firehose of support tickets that people raise.

As well as identifying issues forums can also help you know when you’ve definitely fixed an issue, because you’ll get instant feedback from multiple users.

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