These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.
Community Platforms TrustMap
TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.
AdvocateHub helps B2B marketers capture customer enthusiasm and use it to drive marketing and sales efforts. With AdvocateHub, B2B marketers build an advocate community and invite customers into it to complete “challenges” like referrals, reference calls or product reviews. As they…
The Salesforce Experience Cloud (formerly Salesforce Community Cloud) is an online forum powered by Salesforce that enables businesses to connect with their employees, customers, partner organizations, and prospects. Designed to help facilitate communication and information sharing,…
Higher Logic is a private community platform that empowers members, customers, support and product teams to create and manage meaningful, engaging online communities. The solution is designed to keep users coming back. They can find support, best practices, peer-to-peer connections,…
Tribe is a community platform that integrates social touchpoints across the user journey. It helps brands and creators to build online communities with complete customization capability and data ownership to drive customer engagement, improve retention rate, collect feedback, and…
Verint Connect (based on Telligent Community) is a community and collaboration software platform developed by Telligent Systems and was first released in 2004. Telligent's focus was on offering a platform that can be integrated and extended, but this requires technical expertise.…
Built on the Now Platform, ServiceNow offers their Customer Service Management solution through the Standard and Professional Customer Service Management bundles. Both include agent workspace, knowledge management, survey and assessment module, and the community module, oriented…
Small World Labs Community is a hosted collaboration and social networking platform with easy drag & drop modification capabilities. Small World Labs offers implementation and community engagement services, plus an open API for integration with other systems. Small World Labs has…
Answerbase is a knowledge management platform for customer support and e-commerce, allowing users to ask questions, receive quality answers, and browse content and articles to meet their demand for information about your products and services. Each system comes with administration…
inSided is an enterprise-level community platform that integrates with a variety of business functions. The inSided platform is cloud-based and gives users a complete set of applications to build, integrate, and manage branded customer communities across digital touch points and…
Crowdstack (formerly Hoop.la) is a customizable enterprise social community solution. Since it is SaaS-based, no coding is required.According to the vendor, some key benefits and features include:Easily collaborate and communicate with fans, volunteers, constituents, customers, employees,…
IntelliEnterprise is an Intranet Software Suite for managing content and processes. It lets organizations manage and efficiently distribute relevant content, offers integrated security, customizable applications and workflows for process automation, social tools to connect employees…
What are Community Platforms?
Community Platforms manage the process of creating and maintaining a space for productive discussion among community members. Members can share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. This process is sometimes referred to as "community engagement."
Key Use Cases for Community Platforms
Support community for self-help and peer or expert advice
Private social networking
Gauge customer satisfaction
Identify customer advocates
Increase customer/employee engagement
Distribute community news and updates
Generate content with programs like community blogging
Mature communities deliver business value in a variety of ways. They increase engagement, address support issues and pain points, measure satisfaction, and build stronger relationships. Platforms may support external communities, internal communities, or both. These benefits apply to both customer and employee communities.
There are different types of community platforms, including open source options for community managers who want to develop their own platform. Some SMB-focused community platforms focus on one aspect of community, like Q&A, ideation, or link sharing. Enterprise-grade community platforms are more feature-rich. They might include complex, hierarchal capabilities like multi-tiered advocacy programs with moderator permissions.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Community Platform
It is important to consider whether membership will be explicit and exclusive so that the community is open to registered members only.
In order to determine how employees or customers are likely to engage with a community platform, some community managers set up a free community platform or private social network group to run a testing phase.
Community Platforms vs. Help Desk Software, CMS, and Collaboration Tools
Community management tools have some overlap with help desk software, which often includes community features like Q&A for self-help. Some community platforms integrate with help desk systems.
There is also overlap with content management systems (CMS), especially in heavily moderated external communities, where posts/articles by advocates and experts might be promoted and shared elsewhere.
Some community platforms, especially for internal communities, may overlap with collaboration tools as well. Collaboration tools tend to be more focused on one-on-one interactions between users, and on getting projects done (via file sharing, etc.). Community interactions are more often one-to-many and focused on help, general engagement, feedback, and ideation.
Gamification is a strategy in which points, rules, and competition are used to increase engagement. Some community platforms use game dynamics to incentivize and reward member participation.
Moderation is a system for controlling potential abuse of the community platform. Moderation is important because fear of defamation is one of the biggest obstacles to creating an external community. For some companies promoting the voice of the customer feels risky.
There are two approaches to moderation: curating users (like restricting membership or blocking/reporting certain members) or curating content.
Most community platforms allow administrators to act as moderators. Some have more advanced hierarchical systems for moderation. These allow administrators to grant certain members moderator permissions.
Content curation includes restricting content access, removing content, editing content, or responding to content. This is often a top-down reaction to member contributions. It can also involve broader community participation such as voting on, rating and reporting content.
There are many providers of collaboration software spanning a wide range of capabilities from very inexpensive products designed for small teams, to highly sophisticated enterprise products. Enterprise-level systems cost in the region of $100 per user per month, with price breaks for high numbers of users.
Frequently Asked Questions
As the Community Platform category of software represents how software rises to meet the needs of online customer management, it reveals the composition of organizations and individuals that are responding to the demands around those key use cases.
Typically these tools are used by:
- Community managers
- Customer support