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Cross-posted with permission from Blue Coda
Companies are continually looking for better and more integrated methods by which to connect with their users. While platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer large populations, and many of your users are undoubtedly already on there, they leave a lot to be desired. Primarily, the ability to control your community data, and use it in meaningful ways. Without access to the back-end data for your community, analysis is much weaker or not existent. Many companies have found solutions to this challenge by building and maintaining their own social community on a platform such as Drupal Commons.
Social business communities have become more common in the support world. Forums and FAQs are often available to help with customer support issues, education and training. However, more companies are creating industry focused communities as a resource for sales and marketing. This allows users to interact with other users in a data-driven environment and allows companies to become social enterprises. Drupal Commons has been named a leading social platform by Forrester, and offers several great features in building scalable communities.
According to Forrester, “50% of individuals prefer to buy products or services from websites that allow customers to post ratings and reviews.” This has created a ripple into the B2B marketplace as well, where business users are continually seeking feedback from other users while researching products and services. Forrester continues: “Vendors have evolved their offerings from basic discussion forum tools to robust online community platforms that enable up to millions of users to interact, create content, and engage with a brand on its own community website.“
What is Drupal Commons?
Drupal Commons is an open-source Drupal platform from Acquia that aids in the development of social communities on the web. The distribution includes Drupal 7 and an extensive library of specifically chosen modules to help you create an out of the box social network, and includes tools to enhance your company’s social presence, by empowering users’ communication. It accomplishes this through market-leading flexibility and customization. As an open-source product, it is possible to customize Commons however you want, to fit your unique business needs, eliminating constraints common to commercial and proprietary software.
Features of Drupal Commons:
-Totally flexible design
-Comprehensive development tools
-Virtually unlimited flexibility and customization
-The largest developer ecosystem, with over 20,000 active contributing engineers
One of the key advantages to Drupal Commons is its market-leading ability to integrate with other software applications. Modern companies crave the ability to use many different applications, and can benefit greatly by using best-in-class products. However, Marketing and IT need to be able to analyze and measure all of their efforts in order to understand what is working and optimize their strategies. Many platforms (such as Jive) have a very difficult time with integrating other applications. It is far from seamless, and these custom integrations can be quite expensive. This is where Drupal Commons really outperforms the competition, allowing companies to build incredibly powerful platforms with multiple integration points, which can communicate and pass data seamlessly.
Uses for Drupal Commons:
-Community forum/ discussion board
-Customer support community
Companies currently using Drupal Commons include: Twitter, Ebay, Mercedes, World Economic Forum, and The National Apartment Association.