Using Groups for research, any insight?


Hi everyone!

Asking in this group to see if any other Community Managers are using the groups function in their forum spaces to conduct research?

Our research team is interested in creating groups for some of our Beta testers of our product. (we've usually conducted these groups on Facebook) I was wondering if anyone had done something similar and they had recommendations on it?

Pros? Cons? How are you downloading discussions for qualitative analysis?


  • BrendanP

    @Alex Dunne I think you've done something like this in your community at AlayaCare? Do you have any insights to share?

    Likewise, @maxwellgriffith @Genevieve P does Smartsheet not use Groups somewhat in this way with your Early Adopters Program?

    @MOliveira @Ines Batata I am not sure if it's through groups but I have noticed that Pipedrive leverages the community to solicit product feedback/beta testers - do you have any insights you can share?

    @jay_honeybook as it relates to analyzing the text for qualitative analysis, I would recommend checking out our new API to CSV method of extracting data as that would give you the comments of a discussion in CSV format which can easily be looked at in Excel.

  • Genevieve P
    Genevieve P Vanilla Sundae

    Hiya! 🙂

    Yes, Smartsheet does use Groups for a few different programs, one of which is indeed our Early Adopter's Program where our customers discuss features that we are beta testing.

    However, this isn't the space where we do research, per-se. We have a separate feedback process for these features to get back to the product team (form submission to a Smartsheet sheet). The Group is used more to allow members of the program to chat with each other and share best practices / tips and tricks / peer support for "how-to".

    One major limitation with Groups is the inability to set up Group notifications. This means we cannot post announcements in Groups and know that the post will notify group members (e.g. if there's a new feature to test or if we have a survey we'd like them to fill out). @maxwellgriffith on our team can speak more to how this has affected us & our workflows. That said, we've been assured notifications are coming down the line, hopefully very soon.

    There also isn't an easy way to export post content from the platform, you may need to get a bit fancy with the API to gather content if you want to review it outside of the UI. Tags can help to filter, but the data would still be stored in the platform itself.



  • jay_honeybook

    @BrendanP @Genevieve P Thank you both so much! This is really helpful - we know VF isn't meant for qualitative research but the API workaround you mentioned might be the way we go. Thanks again 😀

  • Kara
    Kara Vanilla Ice Cream

    Our product team created a beta tester group in our community for a new feature being introduced. They created polls, shared screenshots and scheduled some Zoom feedback sessions. The challenge was keeping people engaged in the group since (at the time) there were no notifications for new activity in the group. It fizzled out after about 2 months because of that. Hopefully we can try it again soon!

  • MOliveira
    MOliveira Vanilla Sprout

    Hi there, we do have a feedback and research/beta testing category but are not using groups for this presently.

    We post in said dedicated category about upcoming research and beta tests, interested users will sign up for those following the instructions on the post and that is managed by the PMs in charge. Different projects may have different ways of managing their users (interviews, surveys, closed betas, etc).

  • Alex Dunne
    Alex Dunne Vanilla Flower

    Hi @jay_honeybook ,

    We intend to use Groups to house all the info for our Beta testing. We were holding off due to the lack of notifications but now that those have been released we're looking forward to hosting Beta communities using Groups in future. The reason we've been considering Groups is because we run quite a few feedback initiatives that we don't necessarily want all Community members to see/take part in. We considered using categories and roles to facilitate this but it would get too fiddly with having to create too many new roles and ensuring they're assigned to the right people. What we like about Groups is the ability to set the group as private and just invite those users we want to engage in feedback. The way we would use it is:

    Description: details of the beta test go in here including dates/duration, expectations for beta participants, SLA on a response time from the Product team, any other instructions etc.

    Announcements: important documentation related to the Beta would be posted here

    Discussions: the place for our users to ask questions/give us feedback.

    Events: any webinars/live feedback sessions we may be hosting

    Hopefully that helps!