A social media community built around your brand isn’t something you can just pull out of a hat. There’s patience, building loyalty, building buzz and then supporting your influencers once you’ve found them.

It could be easier, however. You could control the branded online community on your own site.

There are a variety of tools that can help you start a social media platform on your brand site, right-sized for your budget, time and skill level.

Think about how these tools match your strategy. Who are your community members? Will membership be free or paid? Host a partner forum, an industry discussion group, or a knowledge base where customers discuss technical topics and support to one another? Compare Customer Community Platforms and then abracadabra, you’ll have a tool to fit your needs.

 

Hivebrite is an all-in-one community management platform ideal for professional organizations, warranty-holders or service level agreement subscribers. Let members register through Linkedin, and set options such as free or paid. When sending a communication, you can target members by group, industry, location or any custom fields. You can track engagement through a real-time dashboard, getting details about your network activity.
BEST FEATURES: Single Sign-on (SSO) means that community members can access the platform from within your website, no need to redirect anyone to a 3rd party site or require a separate login.
PRICING: See vendor for details.

 

SocialEngine Cloud offers an easy way to create a fully branded interactive online community. You don’t need programming or design talent to quickly launch a hosted online forum. SocialEngine Cloud is designed to encourage your community members to engage with each other, share ideas and experiences.
BEST FEATURES: User-friendly dashboard helps even non-developers launch a professional-looking social forum that compares with Reddit, Facebook or Pinterest. Customize with hundreds of 3rd-party themes and plugins.
PRICING: See vendor for details.

 

Jive specializes in community software platforms that help business enterprises and professional groups to launch employee, customer and partner communities. JiveX helps engage customers, cultivate brand mindshare, boost sales and provide online support. JiveN is ideal for company intranet forums that help align business units and boost productivity.
BEST FEATURES: You can launch a secure internal or external online community in hours, with no developer help needed.
PRICING: Flexible plans starting at $5 per month, per seat.

 

Lithium Community is a leading solution that can turn a static website into a dynamic social destination. Lithium is a great way to harness the knowledge and enthusiasm of existing customers in order to attract new customers. Lithium is flexible with options that make it easy to create focus groups, run fan clubs, or launch beta programs.
BEST FEATURES: Built-in blogging platform drives traffic through published content and social comments.
PRICING: Call for quote.

 

Higher Logic’s Online Community platform gives enterprises worldwide a virtual forum where they can gather and interact with customers, share ideas, and help each other to solve common problems. Ideal for high-tech companies, Higher Logic is designed to encourage your community members to build an rich industry knowledge base.
BEST FEATURES: Seamlessly integrates with your existing CRM, association management system, or payment system.
PRICING: See vendor for details.

 

The Pluck integrated community platform is used by more than 600 retailers, brands and publishers to grow audience, accelerate product sales and foster enduring customer loyalty. Pluck offers Includes a collection of community applications used in any combination.
BEST FEATURES: Applications include Personas, Forums, Narratives, Groups, and Gamification.
PRICING: See vendor for details.

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