Online Communities – An Engagement Solution for Now and For the Future

Posted on the 30 June 2020

Online Communities – An Engagement Solution for Now and For the Future

When physical face to face engagement with your target audience isn’t an option, the obvious answer is: move it online – and Explain Market Research’s online communities offer an adaptable solution in the current climate.

So what is an online community? At the heart of it, an online community is a method of social and digital engagement; it offers a branded members-only online space in which to directly engage ‘in the moment’ with a desired audience – your customers, stakeholders, or employees. A community provides a research and engagement tool which can support and complement your existing research programme, and so differs from platforms like Teams or LinkedIn which are tools for communication. Thus, the true value of a community lies in the insight you can gather from it, and the two-way feedback loops you can build with your audience.

Since it was originally developed in 2010, Explain’s online community platform has undergone a continuous and significant programme of improvement, driven by step-changes in the digital landscape as well as ongoing in-depth user testing. Our platform now includes features such as multimedia sharing, member reward schemes, sub-group functionality, and lots more.

Along with the build of each community, Explain provide an ongoing management and moderation service which sees users encouraged to actively participate in the familiar digital environment, sparking qualitative two way conversation – something regulators across sectors want to see from any engagement programme.

It’s more crucial than ever to give your customers, stakeholders, and employees an opportunity to tell you what’s important to them.

But, as they say, an online community isn’t just for a global pandemic - our platform can add value to your research and engagement programme now, and for the long term, as an agile resource for your team to tap into. The flexible nature of the platform allows for engagement in any number of ways, whether via traditional asynchronous activity or live discussions and online co-creative sprints, so you can gain insight and demonstrate innovation.

To support businesses during this time we have created a solutions toolkit to support you in understanding the options and opportunities available to you during lockdown.

For more information, please contact Holly Shiel-Redfern at directly at or 0191 2615261 to chat about your needs.