Divya Haritwal

Engagement Strategies
April 9, 2024

Divya Haritwal

April 9, 2024
Engagement Strategies

Cohort-Based Communities - The Gateway to Retention

A study of how CBCs can lead to business success in various areas including retention, brand loyalty, UGC, and more creating a robust mechanism for ensuring higher LTV and revenue generation for the venture.

Even though businesses spent a whopping $270 billion on ads in 2023 alone, 30-day retention across major industries is as low as 1.16% as reported by a survey.

These numbers clearly indicate a fundamental insight established over a long period across industries and business formats. User acquisition is expensive, retention is difficult yet necessary to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer to reduce dependency on paid channels.

In a world filled with information and sensory overload, user attention is the most expensive asset, and businesses are constantly on the lookout for innovative strategies to not only capture but also retain this attention. Among the plethora of engagement strategies, Cohort-Based Communities (CBC) have emerged over the years as a major driver of retention for businesses. CBCs provide a structured and interactive way to keep users engaged, motivated, and loyal. This article delves deep into the topic of CBCs, dissecting their essence, impact on user retention, exemplary case studies, strategic implementation, and much more.

Understanding Cohort-Based Communities (CBC)

At its core, a Cohort-Based Community is a structured grouping of users who embark on a journey together within a specific timeframe, often bound by common goals, interests, or learning paths. This model is distinctly different from the traditional, ever-open forums or communities where interactions are sporadic and less personalized. CBCs, by design, foster a sense of urgency, camaraderie, and engagement through shared experiences and milestones.

The success of CBCs lies in their ability to mimic real-world learning and growth environments, where individuals progress not in isolation but through interaction, feedback, and shared experiences with their peers. For instance, an online learning platform that initiates a course for all participants on the same day, integrating live sessions, peer discussions, and group projects, is employing a cohort-based model. This format not only boosts engagement by design but also creates a space for a deeper understanding and retention of the material, courtesy of the collaborative learning process.

In a post-pandemic world, where online interactions are the go-to medium for people to meet and interact with people, CBCs are proving useful, especially in industries where consistency of effort is a key driver in finding higher success with outcomes such as health and fitness, education, apps focused on habit changes, etc.

CBC and Enhanced User Retention

Cohort-based communities naturally foster better user retention for several compelling reasons:

Sense of Belonging

The formation of a community with shared objectives creates a strong sense of belonging among users. This emotional connection to the group and its goals significantly boosts motivation and engagement, making users more inclined to stay active and involved over longer periods.

For example, MasterClass’s Exclusive Workshops leverages the CBC model by offering exclusive workshops that run for a specific period. Participants join these workshops not just to learn from renowned experts but to do so alongside peers with similar interests. This shared learning experience fosters a strong community feeling, motivating users to regularly engage with the platform and significantly reducing dropout rates. The sense of belonging to a special cohort encourages ongoing participation and forms lasting bonds between users, who often cite the community aspect as a key reason for their loyalty to MasterClass.

Structured Engagement

The defined start and end dates of CBCs instil a sense of urgency and structure, encouraging regular participation. Users are less likely to procrastinate or disengage, knowing there’s a timeline to their objectives and activities within the community.

Fitbit’s Group Challenges have harnessed the power of CBCs through its group challenges feature, which allows users to join together in achieving fitness goals within a set timeframe. These challenges are designed to keep users engaged by providing clear goals and deadlines, thus creating a structured engagement model. This structure ensures that users have a consistent reason to return to the platform, fostering a routine that integrates Fitbit into their daily lives. The result is not just increased activity within the platform but also an enhanced sense of accomplishment and motivation among participants.

Mutual Support and Accountability

Within a CBC, users find themselves among peers striving towards similar goals. This collective journey fosters a supportive environment where members motivate each other, share insights, and hold one another accountable, further enhancing retention.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a global, online writing event that challenges participants to write a 50,000-word novel in November. It’s an excellent example of a CBC that goes beyond open brand’s cohort program and focuses much higher on mutual support accountability and shared interest instead. Writers from all walks of life come together in this month-long endeavor, sharing progress, challenges, and encouragement through forums and social media groups. This collective journey through the highs and lows of writing fosters a unique bond among participants, who often report that the accountability and support from their cohort are key motivators in reaching their goal. The event’s structure ensures that participants are consistently engaged, with daily writing goals and community check-ins maintaining momentum throughout the month.

Exemplary CBC-Led Retention Use Cases

Several innovative companies and platforms have leveraged the CBC model with great success in driving engagement and retention through community-driven strategies.

Hostelworld: Traveller Tribes

Hostelworld ingeniously tapped into the collective spirit of travellers by creating cohorts based on travel dates and destinations. This initiative transformed the booking platform into a vibrant community where travellers could connect, share experiences, and even meet up during their journeys. The resulting sense of belonging and excitement not only encouraged repeat bookings but also fostered a loyal community of globetrotters who preferred Hostelworld for their adventures.

Sugar.fit: Healthier Together

Sugar.fit, a digital platform for diabetes management, utilized CBCs by launching cohort-based health challenges. Participants, guided by health coaches, work towards their goals in a supportive environment, sharing victories and challenges alike. This peer support mechanism has proven incredibly effective, leading to higher engagement levels and improved health outcomes, thereby significantly boosting user retention.

Ultrahuman: Fitness Journeys United

Ultrahuman’s approach to fitness and biohacking incorporates CBCs through its group challenges and programs, designed to cater to various fitness levels and goals. Since the platform goes beyond regular fitness tracking and tries to combine a lot of health parameters and objectives, by participating alongside others, users can see the deeper more personalized health benefits of the product. This sense of competition, combined with mutual support, significantly enhances user engagement and retention, as individuals are motivated not just by personal goals but by the collective energy of their cohort.

Duolingo: Language Learning Communities

Duolingo’s language learning platform leverages CBCs by grouping users with similar proficiency levels. This strategy ensures that learners progress at a pace suited to their level, supported by peers facing similar challenges. The community aspect of learning languages becomes a powerful motivator, as users can practice and learn in a more engaging, supportive environment, leading to better retention and more effective learning.

Implementing CBC for Growth

The implementation of a successful CBC strategy requires thoughtful planning and execution. Here are key considerations and best practices:

User Segmentation

Effective CBCs start with understanding and segmenting your user base into meaningful cohorts. This segmentation could be based on users’ goals, interests, skill levels, or any other relevant criteria that align with the community's objectives.

For example, Codecademy's Skill Paths offers a compelling example of user segmentation through its "Skill Paths." These are curated, short courses designed to equip learners with specific skills, such as website development or data analysis. Learners are grouped into cohorts based on their chosen path, facilitating a more focused and relevant learning experience. This segmentation ensures that discussions, projects, and challenges are highly relevant to the group’s interests and goals, enhancing engagement and fostering a sense of progress among participants. The result is a more personalized learning journey, encouraging continued participation and completion of courses.

Engaging Content and Activities

The heart of a CBC is its content and the activities that engage its members. Whether it’s interactive sessions, group discussions, or collaborative projects, the content needs to be compelling, relevant, and designed to foster interaction and participation.

Strava Running and Cycling Clubs are a perfect example of highly engaging content and activities. Strava is a social network for athletes, utilizes the CBC model by allowing users to create or join running and cycling clubs. These clubs host various challenges, such as monthly distance challenges or specific race preparations. The activities are designed to be engaging, leveraging the competitive spirit among members while also fostering camaraderie. This blend of competition and community support keeps users engaged, motivates them to achieve their fitness goals, and, most importantly, retains their interest in the platform over time.

Communication Channels

Creating avenues for easy and open communication is critical. Effective communication is the backbone of any successful CBC. It's essential to establish channels that facilitate easy, open, and ongoing communication among cohort members, as well as between members and facilitators or mentors.

Creating Slack Workspaces for Bootcamps is something a lot of businesses opt for when they are running their communities on 3rd party platforms. Many coding boot camps, such as Lambda School, utilize Slack workspaces to support their cohort-based learning model. Each cohort gets its dedicated channel where students can collaborate, share resources, ask questions, and engage in real-time discussions. This setup ensures that learners feel supported and connected throughout their educational journey. The immediate access to peers and instructors through Slack significantly enhances the learning experience, fostering a strong community bond that encourages retention and successful course completion.

Feedback Loops and Continuous Improvement

Collecting and acting on feedback from community members is crucial for the continuous improvement of the CBC experience.

Airbnb Experiences Host Community leverages feedback loops by regularly soliciting and acting on feedback from its hosts. This feedback has led to the introduction of new features, such as the ability to set different prices for adults and children or offer private group bookings. By listening to its community of hosts, Airbnb has been able to enhance the hosting experience, leading to better retention and more engaging offerings for guests.

Foster Personal Connections

While much of the CBC model operates in the digital realm, the importance of fostering personal connections can not be understated. Encouraging personal stories, successes, and challenges helps in strengthening the bonds between cohort members.

Weight Watchers Meetings (now WW) offers a blend of digital and in-person cohort experiences through its meetings. Members share their weight loss journeys, challenges, and successes in a supportive environment, fostering strong personal connections. These meetings serve as a powerful motivational tool, encouraging participants to stay on track with their weight loss goals. The sense of accountability and support from peers in the same cohort significantly enhances retention and user satisfaction.

Other Business Advantages of CBC

Cohort-Based Communities (CBCs) extend their benefits far beyond enhancing user engagement and retention. They offer a multitude of business advantages that can significantly impact various aspects of an organization, from brand loyalty and market insight to revenue generation and product development. Let's delve into these advantages in more detail:

Enhanced Brand Loyalty and Advocacy

CBCs create a deep sense of belonging among their members, fostering an emotional connection not just with each other but with the brand itself. This connection can translate into enhanced brand loyalty, as members are more likely to stick with a brand that they feel a part of. Moreover, the positive experiences and outcomes gained from participating in a CBC often turn members into brand advocates.

LEGO’s User Communities serve as a prime example. By engaging adult fans through various cohort-based initiatives, LEGO has not only fostered a strong sense of community but also turned these enthusiasts into vocal advocates for the brand. These advocates are invaluable, contributing user-generated content, promoting LEGO products through word-of-mouth, and even influencing product development through ideas and feedback.

Access to Rich Data and Insights

The interactive and engaged nature of CBCs provides organizations with a wealth of data on user behavior, preferences, and feedback. This data is more detailed and nuanced than what is typically available through standard analytics, offering rich insights that can inform decision-making across the business.

Duolingo’s Language Learning Trends leverages data from its CBCs to track learning trends, identify common challenges, and tailor its curriculum accordingly. This data-driven approach allows Duolingo to continuously refine its offerings, ensuring they meet the evolving needs of its user base, and maintaining its position as a leader in language learning.

Diversification of Revenue Streams

CBCs can open up new avenues for revenue generation. This could include premium memberships offering exclusive access to content, events, or mentors within the community; specialized courses or workshops; and even branded merchandise.

Patreon’s Creator Cohorts uses CBCs to help creators build more sustainable income streams. By facilitating closer connections between creators and their most engaged fans through exclusive content and community spaces, Patreon enables creators to offer tiered subscriptions. This not only increases revenue for creators but also for Patreon itself, through its commission on these subscriptions.

Product Development and Innovation

The close-knit nature of CBCs fosters an environment where users are more willing to share their honest feedback and creative ideas. This can be a goldmine for product development, providing real-world insights into what features or products users really want or need.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud Updates have successfully leveraged its user communities to guide the development of updates and new features for its Creative Cloud suite. By closely listening to user feedback from these communities, Adobe has been able to prioritize updates that directly address user needs, improving satisfaction and driving adoption.

Improved Customer Support and Service

CBCs can also play a significant role in enhancing customer support and service. Community members often help each other with questions or challenges, reducing the burden on official support channels. Furthermore, the feedback and solutions generated within these communities can inform the creation of FAQs, knowledge bases, and other support resources.

Apple’s Support Communities are a testament to the power of CBCs in enhancing customer service. Users can search for solutions, ask questions, and share advice on a wide range of topics related to Apple products. This peer-to-peer support mechanism not only improves customer satisfaction but also serves as a valuable feedback loop for Apple, highlighting potential areas for product improvement or additional user education.

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities

For many users, the value of a CBC extends into professional development and networking opportunities. Being part of a community of like-minded individuals can lead to collaborations, job opportunities, and the development of professional skills.

LinkedIn Learning Groups act as a platform for professionals to connect, share insights, and discuss courses or learnings from the LinkedIn Learning platform. These groups enhance the value of LinkedIn’s educational content by adding a layer of community support and networking, thus encouraging continued engagement and subscription renewals.

Mistakes to Avoid

Implementing Cohort-Based Communities (CBCs) can be a game-changer for businesses aiming to enhance engagement, retention, and overall growth. However, the path to creating successful CBCs is fraught with potential pitfalls. Awareness and strategic avoidance of these mistakes can significantly influence the success of a CBC initiative. Let's explore these mistakes in more detail:

Insufficient Planning and Resource Allocation

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is underestimating the resources and planning required to launch and maintain a CBC. Successful communities don't just happen; they require careful planning, dedicated resources, and ongoing management.

What to Avoid

- Launching a CBC without a clear strategy or objectives.

- Insufficient budgeting for community management tools, content creation, and moderation.

- Overlooking the need for dedicated personnel to manage the community.

Best Practice

- Develop a detailed plan that includes objectives, target member profiles, content strategy, engagement tactics, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

- Allocate sufficient resources, including budget and personnel, to support the community over the long term.

Neglecting Community Engagement and Moderation

A vibrant community is an engaged community. Failing to foster engagement or adequately moderate discussions can lead to a lack of participation, or worse, a toxic environment that drives members away.

What to Avoid

- Insufficient moderation leading to spam, harassment, or off-topic discussions.

- Failing to recognize and reward active members or contributors.

- Not providing enough engaging content or interactive opportunities to keep members interested.

Best Practice

- Implement a robust moderation policy and engage moderators or community managers to enforce it.

- Recognize and reward active members to encourage participation.

- Regularly introduce engaging content, activities, and discussions to keep the community lively.

Overlooking Personalization and Member Differences

Communities are made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds, needs, and preferences. Treating all members the same and failing to personalize the experience can result in a lack of relevance and engagement for many members.

What to Avoid

- Ignoring the diverse needs and preferences of community members.

- Offering a one-size-fits-all experience that fails to engage members at different stages or with different interests.

Best Practice

- Segment the community where appropriate to offer more targeted content and discussions.

- Offer personalized paths or activities that cater to the varied interests and goals of members.

Underestimating the Value of Feedback

Feedback is crucial for the continuous improvement of any CBC. Not soliciting feedback, or worse, ignoring feedback when it's given, can lead to missed opportunities for growth and improvement.

What to Avoid

- Failing to ask for feedback from community members.

- Ignoring or dismissing feedback that could inform improvements to the community experience.

Best Practice

- Regularly solicit feedback through surveys, discussion threads, or direct outreach.

- Act on feedback wherever possible and communicate changes back to the community to demonstrate that their input is valued.

Failing to Evolve the Community

Communities that remain static over time risk becoming stale and losing the interest of members. Not evolving the community in response to changing member needs, interests, or external factors is a missed opportunity for growth.

What to Avoid

- Sticking rigidly to the original community format or content strategy without considering changes in member needs or interests.

- Ignoring external factors or trends that could influence the direction or focus of the community.

Best Practice

- Regularly review community performance, member feedback, and external trends to identify opportunities for evolution.

- Be willing to pivot or introduce new elements to the community to keep it relevant and engaging.

Summary and Takeaway

Cohort-Based Communities represent a powerful mechanism for enhancing user engagement, retention, and overall business growth. By fostering a sense of belonging, structured engagement, and mutual support, CBCs can transform the way users interact with platforms and with each other. The key to success lies in thoughtful implementation, attentive community management, and continuous adaptation based on user feedback. As we look to the future, the role of CBCs in driving digital engagement and community building is poised to grow, offering exciting opportunities for innovation and connection.

Done with experimenting and testing your community-building efforts? If you are ready to scale and bring the community within your app, instead of relying on 3rd party platforms, we are here to help you integrate community features in your app in just 15 minutes!!

About LikeMinds

LikeMinds elevates businesses in unlocking the true potential of their users through their in-app community and social network. Using LikeMinds, businesses achieve higher conversion and retention, by building custom community experiences in their existing platform unlocking community-led growth.

With LikeMinds, businesses get an easy-to-implement and highly scalable infrastructure with a fully customizable UI. All of this with a customization time of 3 days and a deployment time of 15 minutes.

Our Chat and Feed infra have pre-built widgets such as image carousels, PDF slides, short videos, polls, quizzes, events, forms, and more for user engagement and retention along with moderation capabilities to ensure frictionless community operations.

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Engagement Strategies

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Cohort-Based Communities - The Gateway to Retention

Divya Haritwal
/
April 9, 2024
/

A study of how CBCs can lead to business success in various areas including retention, brand loyalty, UGC, and more creating a robust mechanism for ensuring higher LTV and revenue generation for the venture.

Even though businesses spent a whopping $270 billion on ads in 2023 alone, 30-day retention across major industries is as low as 1.16% as reported by a survey.

These numbers clearly indicate a fundamental insight established over a long period across industries and business formats. User acquisition is expensive, retention is difficult yet necessary to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer to reduce dependency on paid channels.

In a world filled with information and sensory overload, user attention is the most expensive asset, and businesses are constantly on the lookout for innovative strategies to not only capture but also retain this attention. Among the plethora of engagement strategies, Cohort-Based Communities (CBC) have emerged over the years as a major driver of retention for businesses. CBCs provide a structured and interactive way to keep users engaged, motivated, and loyal. This article delves deep into the topic of CBCs, dissecting their essence, impact on user retention, exemplary case studies, strategic implementation, and much more.

Understanding Cohort-Based Communities (CBC)

At its core, a Cohort-Based Community is a structured grouping of users who embark on a journey together within a specific timeframe, often bound by common goals, interests, or learning paths. This model is distinctly different from the traditional, ever-open forums or communities where interactions are sporadic and less personalized. CBCs, by design, foster a sense of urgency, camaraderie, and engagement through shared experiences and milestones.

The success of CBCs lies in their ability to mimic real-world learning and growth environments, where individuals progress not in isolation but through interaction, feedback, and shared experiences with their peers. For instance, an online learning platform that initiates a course for all participants on the same day, integrating live sessions, peer discussions, and group projects, is employing a cohort-based model. This format not only boosts engagement by design but also creates a space for a deeper understanding and retention of the material, courtesy of the collaborative learning process.

In a post-pandemic world, where online interactions are the go-to medium for people to meet and interact with people, CBCs are proving useful, especially in industries where consistency of effort is a key driver in finding higher success with outcomes such as health and fitness, education, apps focused on habit changes, etc.

CBC and Enhanced User Retention

Cohort-based communities naturally foster better user retention for several compelling reasons:

Sense of Belonging

The formation of a community with shared objectives creates a strong sense of belonging among users. This emotional connection to the group and its goals significantly boosts motivation and engagement, making users more inclined to stay active and involved over longer periods.

For example, MasterClass’s Exclusive Workshops leverages the CBC model by offering exclusive workshops that run for a specific period. Participants join these workshops not just to learn from renowned experts but to do so alongside peers with similar interests. This shared learning experience fosters a strong community feeling, motivating users to regularly engage with the platform and significantly reducing dropout rates. The sense of belonging to a special cohort encourages ongoing participation and forms lasting bonds between users, who often cite the community aspect as a key reason for their loyalty to MasterClass.

Structured Engagement

The defined start and end dates of CBCs instil a sense of urgency and structure, encouraging regular participation. Users are less likely to procrastinate or disengage, knowing there’s a timeline to their objectives and activities within the community.

Fitbit’s Group Challenges have harnessed the power of CBCs through its group challenges feature, which allows users to join together in achieving fitness goals within a set timeframe. These challenges are designed to keep users engaged by providing clear goals and deadlines, thus creating a structured engagement model. This structure ensures that users have a consistent reason to return to the platform, fostering a routine that integrates Fitbit into their daily lives. The result is not just increased activity within the platform but also an enhanced sense of accomplishment and motivation among participants.

Mutual Support and Accountability

Within a CBC, users find themselves among peers striving towards similar goals. This collective journey fosters a supportive environment where members motivate each other, share insights, and hold one another accountable, further enhancing retention.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a global, online writing event that challenges participants to write a 50,000-word novel in November. It’s an excellent example of a CBC that goes beyond open brand’s cohort program and focuses much higher on mutual support accountability and shared interest instead. Writers from all walks of life come together in this month-long endeavor, sharing progress, challenges, and encouragement through forums and social media groups. This collective journey through the highs and lows of writing fosters a unique bond among participants, who often report that the accountability and support from their cohort are key motivators in reaching their goal. The event’s structure ensures that participants are consistently engaged, with daily writing goals and community check-ins maintaining momentum throughout the month.

Exemplary CBC-Led Retention Use Cases

Several innovative companies and platforms have leveraged the CBC model with great success in driving engagement and retention through community-driven strategies.

Hostelworld: Traveller Tribes

Hostelworld ingeniously tapped into the collective spirit of travellers by creating cohorts based on travel dates and destinations. This initiative transformed the booking platform into a vibrant community where travellers could connect, share experiences, and even meet up during their journeys. The resulting sense of belonging and excitement not only encouraged repeat bookings but also fostered a loyal community of globetrotters who preferred Hostelworld for their adventures.

Sugar.fit: Healthier Together

Sugar.fit, a digital platform for diabetes management, utilized CBCs by launching cohort-based health challenges. Participants, guided by health coaches, work towards their goals in a supportive environment, sharing victories and challenges alike. This peer support mechanism has proven incredibly effective, leading to higher engagement levels and improved health outcomes, thereby significantly boosting user retention.

Ultrahuman: Fitness Journeys United

Ultrahuman’s approach to fitness and biohacking incorporates CBCs through its group challenges and programs, designed to cater to various fitness levels and goals. Since the platform goes beyond regular fitness tracking and tries to combine a lot of health parameters and objectives, by participating alongside others, users can see the deeper more personalized health benefits of the product. This sense of competition, combined with mutual support, significantly enhances user engagement and retention, as individuals are motivated not just by personal goals but by the collective energy of their cohort.

Duolingo: Language Learning Communities

Duolingo’s language learning platform leverages CBCs by grouping users with similar proficiency levels. This strategy ensures that learners progress at a pace suited to their level, supported by peers facing similar challenges. The community aspect of learning languages becomes a powerful motivator, as users can practice and learn in a more engaging, supportive environment, leading to better retention and more effective learning.

Implementing CBC for Growth

The implementation of a successful CBC strategy requires thoughtful planning and execution. Here are key considerations and best practices:

User Segmentation

Effective CBCs start with understanding and segmenting your user base into meaningful cohorts. This segmentation could be based on users’ goals, interests, skill levels, or any other relevant criteria that align with the community's objectives.

For example, Codecademy's Skill Paths offers a compelling example of user segmentation through its "Skill Paths." These are curated, short courses designed to equip learners with specific skills, such as website development or data analysis. Learners are grouped into cohorts based on their chosen path, facilitating a more focused and relevant learning experience. This segmentation ensures that discussions, projects, and challenges are highly relevant to the group’s interests and goals, enhancing engagement and fostering a sense of progress among participants. The result is a more personalized learning journey, encouraging continued participation and completion of courses.

Engaging Content and Activities

The heart of a CBC is its content and the activities that engage its members. Whether it’s interactive sessions, group discussions, or collaborative projects, the content needs to be compelling, relevant, and designed to foster interaction and participation.

Strava Running and Cycling Clubs are a perfect example of highly engaging content and activities. Strava is a social network for athletes, utilizes the CBC model by allowing users to create or join running and cycling clubs. These clubs host various challenges, such as monthly distance challenges or specific race preparations. The activities are designed to be engaging, leveraging the competitive spirit among members while also fostering camaraderie. This blend of competition and community support keeps users engaged, motivates them to achieve their fitness goals, and, most importantly, retains their interest in the platform over time.

Communication Channels

Creating avenues for easy and open communication is critical. Effective communication is the backbone of any successful CBC. It's essential to establish channels that facilitate easy, open, and ongoing communication among cohort members, as well as between members and facilitators or mentors.

Creating Slack Workspaces for Bootcamps is something a lot of businesses opt for when they are running their communities on 3rd party platforms. Many coding boot camps, such as Lambda School, utilize Slack workspaces to support their cohort-based learning model. Each cohort gets its dedicated channel where students can collaborate, share resources, ask questions, and engage in real-time discussions. This setup ensures that learners feel supported and connected throughout their educational journey. The immediate access to peers and instructors through Slack significantly enhances the learning experience, fostering a strong community bond that encourages retention and successful course completion.

Feedback Loops and Continuous Improvement

Collecting and acting on feedback from community members is crucial for the continuous improvement of the CBC experience.

Airbnb Experiences Host Community leverages feedback loops by regularly soliciting and acting on feedback from its hosts. This feedback has led to the introduction of new features, such as the ability to set different prices for adults and children or offer private group bookings. By listening to its community of hosts, Airbnb has been able to enhance the hosting experience, leading to better retention and more engaging offerings for guests.

Foster Personal Connections

While much of the CBC model operates in the digital realm, the importance of fostering personal connections can not be understated. Encouraging personal stories, successes, and challenges helps in strengthening the bonds between cohort members.

Weight Watchers Meetings (now WW) offers a blend of digital and in-person cohort experiences through its meetings. Members share their weight loss journeys, challenges, and successes in a supportive environment, fostering strong personal connections. These meetings serve as a powerful motivational tool, encouraging participants to stay on track with their weight loss goals. The sense of accountability and support from peers in the same cohort significantly enhances retention and user satisfaction.

Other Business Advantages of CBC

Cohort-Based Communities (CBCs) extend their benefits far beyond enhancing user engagement and retention. They offer a multitude of business advantages that can significantly impact various aspects of an organization, from brand loyalty and market insight to revenue generation and product development. Let's delve into these advantages in more detail:

Enhanced Brand Loyalty and Advocacy

CBCs create a deep sense of belonging among their members, fostering an emotional connection not just with each other but with the brand itself. This connection can translate into enhanced brand loyalty, as members are more likely to stick with a brand that they feel a part of. Moreover, the positive experiences and outcomes gained from participating in a CBC often turn members into brand advocates.

LEGO’s User Communities serve as a prime example. By engaging adult fans through various cohort-based initiatives, LEGO has not only fostered a strong sense of community but also turned these enthusiasts into vocal advocates for the brand. These advocates are invaluable, contributing user-generated content, promoting LEGO products through word-of-mouth, and even influencing product development through ideas and feedback.

Access to Rich Data and Insights

The interactive and engaged nature of CBCs provides organizations with a wealth of data on user behavior, preferences, and feedback. This data is more detailed and nuanced than what is typically available through standard analytics, offering rich insights that can inform decision-making across the business.

Duolingo’s Language Learning Trends leverages data from its CBCs to track learning trends, identify common challenges, and tailor its curriculum accordingly. This data-driven approach allows Duolingo to continuously refine its offerings, ensuring they meet the evolving needs of its user base, and maintaining its position as a leader in language learning.

Diversification of Revenue Streams

CBCs can open up new avenues for revenue generation. This could include premium memberships offering exclusive access to content, events, or mentors within the community; specialized courses or workshops; and even branded merchandise.

Patreon’s Creator Cohorts uses CBCs to help creators build more sustainable income streams. By facilitating closer connections between creators and their most engaged fans through exclusive content and community spaces, Patreon enables creators to offer tiered subscriptions. This not only increases revenue for creators but also for Patreon itself, through its commission on these subscriptions.

Product Development and Innovation

The close-knit nature of CBCs fosters an environment where users are more willing to share their honest feedback and creative ideas. This can be a goldmine for product development, providing real-world insights into what features or products users really want or need.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud Updates have successfully leveraged its user communities to guide the development of updates and new features for its Creative Cloud suite. By closely listening to user feedback from these communities, Adobe has been able to prioritize updates that directly address user needs, improving satisfaction and driving adoption.

Improved Customer Support and Service

CBCs can also play a significant role in enhancing customer support and service. Community members often help each other with questions or challenges, reducing the burden on official support channels. Furthermore, the feedback and solutions generated within these communities can inform the creation of FAQs, knowledge bases, and other support resources.

Apple’s Support Communities are a testament to the power of CBCs in enhancing customer service. Users can search for solutions, ask questions, and share advice on a wide range of topics related to Apple products. This peer-to-peer support mechanism not only improves customer satisfaction but also serves as a valuable feedback loop for Apple, highlighting potential areas for product improvement or additional user education.

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities

For many users, the value of a CBC extends into professional development and networking opportunities. Being part of a community of like-minded individuals can lead to collaborations, job opportunities, and the development of professional skills.

LinkedIn Learning Groups act as a platform for professionals to connect, share insights, and discuss courses or learnings from the LinkedIn Learning platform. These groups enhance the value of LinkedIn’s educational content by adding a layer of community support and networking, thus encouraging continued engagement and subscription renewals.

Mistakes to Avoid

Implementing Cohort-Based Communities (CBCs) can be a game-changer for businesses aiming to enhance engagement, retention, and overall growth. However, the path to creating successful CBCs is fraught with potential pitfalls. Awareness and strategic avoidance of these mistakes can significantly influence the success of a CBC initiative. Let's explore these mistakes in more detail:

Insufficient Planning and Resource Allocation

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is underestimating the resources and planning required to launch and maintain a CBC. Successful communities don't just happen; they require careful planning, dedicated resources, and ongoing management.

What to Avoid

- Launching a CBC without a clear strategy or objectives.

- Insufficient budgeting for community management tools, content creation, and moderation.

- Overlooking the need for dedicated personnel to manage the community.

Best Practice

- Develop a detailed plan that includes objectives, target member profiles, content strategy, engagement tactics, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

- Allocate sufficient resources, including budget and personnel, to support the community over the long term.

Neglecting Community Engagement and Moderation

A vibrant community is an engaged community. Failing to foster engagement or adequately moderate discussions can lead to a lack of participation, or worse, a toxic environment that drives members away.

What to Avoid

- Insufficient moderation leading to spam, harassment, or off-topic discussions.

- Failing to recognize and reward active members or contributors.

- Not providing enough engaging content or interactive opportunities to keep members interested.

Best Practice

- Implement a robust moderation policy and engage moderators or community managers to enforce it.

- Recognize and reward active members to encourage participation.

- Regularly introduce engaging content, activities, and discussions to keep the community lively.

Overlooking Personalization and Member Differences

Communities are made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds, needs, and preferences. Treating all members the same and failing to personalize the experience can result in a lack of relevance and engagement for many members.

What to Avoid

- Ignoring the diverse needs and preferences of community members.

- Offering a one-size-fits-all experience that fails to engage members at different stages or with different interests.

Best Practice

- Segment the community where appropriate to offer more targeted content and discussions.

- Offer personalized paths or activities that cater to the varied interests and goals of members.

Underestimating the Value of Feedback

Feedback is crucial for the continuous improvement of any CBC. Not soliciting feedback, or worse, ignoring feedback when it's given, can lead to missed opportunities for growth and improvement.

What to Avoid

- Failing to ask for feedback from community members.

- Ignoring or dismissing feedback that could inform improvements to the community experience.

Best Practice

- Regularly solicit feedback through surveys, discussion threads, or direct outreach.

- Act on feedback wherever possible and communicate changes back to the community to demonstrate that their input is valued.

Failing to Evolve the Community

Communities that remain static over time risk becoming stale and losing the interest of members. Not evolving the community in response to changing member needs, interests, or external factors is a missed opportunity for growth.

What to Avoid

- Sticking rigidly to the original community format or content strategy without considering changes in member needs or interests.

- Ignoring external factors or trends that could influence the direction or focus of the community.

Best Practice

- Regularly review community performance, member feedback, and external trends to identify opportunities for evolution.

- Be willing to pivot or introduce new elements to the community to keep it relevant and engaging.

Summary and Takeaway

Cohort-Based Communities represent a powerful mechanism for enhancing user engagement, retention, and overall business growth. By fostering a sense of belonging, structured engagement, and mutual support, CBCs can transform the way users interact with platforms and with each other. The key to success lies in thoughtful implementation, attentive community management, and continuous adaptation based on user feedback. As we look to the future, the role of CBCs in driving digital engagement and community building is poised to grow, offering exciting opportunities for innovation and connection.

Done with experimenting and testing your community-building efforts? If you are ready to scale and bring the community within your app, instead of relying on 3rd party platforms, we are here to help you integrate community features in your app in just 15 minutes!!

About LikeMinds

LikeMinds elevates businesses in unlocking the true potential of their users through their in-app community and social network. Using LikeMinds, businesses achieve higher conversion and retention, by building custom community experiences in their existing platform unlocking community-led growth.

With LikeMinds, businesses get an easy-to-implement and highly scalable infrastructure with a fully customizable UI. All of this with a customization time of 3 days and a deployment time of 15 minutes.

Our Chat and Feed infra have pre-built widgets such as image carousels, PDF slides, short videos, polls, quizzes, events, forms, and more for user engagement and retention along with moderation capabilities to ensure frictionless community operations.

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