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Hints & Tips: Three Approaches to Using Online Communities

Christopher Martin
Written By Christopher Martin
On Jun, 2 2020
2 minute read

Online communities are a versatile tool for generating high quality, qualitative data. But it’s easy to view communities as a ubiquitous, one-size-fits-all solution. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, communities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From customers to employees, consumers to voters; participants can make a huge difference. But so can the length of time the space is active for and business objectives.

Long Term, Pop-Up and Listening

In this video, Charlotte Evans explores three of the most common types of community we run. Each comes with its own unique set of benefits and use cases. In particular, Charlotte looks at the typical long-term community, the short-term pop-up variety and member-led listening communities.

We believe understanding the choices available to researchers is critical to success. The FlexMR team has made use of each of these variations in the past, and also works often on more bespoke solutions. Even so, there’s no clear winner between them. If you’re looking to get started with online qual, it’s best by determining major objectives and finding the solution that best fits.

First, Charlotte looks at the pop-up community. These are ideal for product launches or to capture feedback around an event. Often lasting just a few short months or even weeks, they aim to capture lightning in a bottle – and drive large amounts of feedback in a short space of time.

The long-term community alternative is what most researchers will typically think of first. Taking place over a number of years, membership to one of these communities usually offers participants perks or rewards such as prize draw entries, early access to products or shared results. While they can be a space to dip in and out of, the most effective long-term communities focus on building regular and repeated engagement over time.

Finally, the video concludes by diving into the topic of listening communities. These break from the traditional use of the tool and provide a purely member-led space for feedback. Rather than steering the conversation, researchers instead listen to discussions as they naturally develop - a great way to keep your finger on the pulse without a huge time investment.

Online Research Hints & Tips

The Online Research Hints and Tips series is designed to provide quick, easy-to-digest and actionable advice to help you make the most out of online qualitative and quantitative efforts. Tackling topics that range from participant communication to database management, getting the most out of focus groups to engagement strategies - we're aiming to make the world of online research easier for everyone to understand.

For press enquiries

To discuss press and media enquiries please contact Christopher Martin, FlexMR CMO, by email at chris.martin@flexmr.net or via telephone on 015395 65455.

Arrange a meeting

We love to meet passionate research and insight professionals. If you'd like to arrange a chat with one of our team at an event we'll be attending, contact Chris Martin by email at chris.martin@flexmr.net or via telephone on 015395 65455.

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