Developing Successful Online Communities


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Paul defines online communities and looks at different platforms used to manage them from pre-web days through to today's social networks. He uses a case study for Be2camp to show how an online group can use technology to bridge the real and virtual worlds and finishes by discussing some of his "13 things to think about".

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  • Quick overview of this presentation.
  • Early websites
  • Let’s take a quick tour First off – discussion forums
  • Developing Successful Online Communities

    1. 1. Developing successful online communities: online, offline – it’s a people thing CIPR Social Summer, #ciprsm by Paul Wilkinson
    2. 2. <ul><li>welcome and introductions </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Welcome and introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Community? </li></ul><ul><li>Not just social networks </li></ul><ul><li>From offline to online communities (and back again) </li></ul><ul><li>Be2camp case study </li></ul><ul><li>13 things to think about </li></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Defining community </li></ul><ul><li>“ ... a body of persons in the same locality, or leading a similar life, or sharing common interests ...” (Chambers Dictionary) </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Defining 'online community' </li></ul><ul><li>“ ... a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part ...” (Wikipedia) </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Defining 'virtual community' </li></ul><ul><li>“ ... a social network of individuals who interact through specific media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. ...” (Wikipedia) </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>Online social networks existed pre-web: </li></ul><ul><li>Usenet </li></ul><ul><li>MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Relay Chat (IRC) </li></ul><ul><li>chat rooms </li></ul><ul><li>electronic mailing lists </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>Web 1.0 - Mid 1990s … </li></ul><ul><li>first generation websites </li></ul><ul><li>static pages </li></ul><ul><li>HTML ‘brochure-ware’ </li></ul><ul><li>later PDFs </li></ul><ul><li>limited interaction </li></ul><ul><li>email integration </li></ul><ul><li>… and no Google </li></ul>
    9. 9. (Sources: Joe Drumgoole’s Copacetic ; 2006 ) Websites for … Web 2.0 is about … reading writing companies communities one-way two-way lecture conversation advertising word-of-mouth owning sharing
    10. 10. Trad’l marketing/PR was about … Marketing/PR 2.0 is increasingly … B2C B2C2C B2B B2C2B one-to-many many-to-many monologue Dialogue (C2B) control of message user-generated content control of media user self-publishing
    11. 11. <ul><li>From pre-web, through Web 1.0, to Web 2.0, </li></ul><ul><li>various tools used to support: </li></ul><ul><li>fan groups </li></ul><ul><li>customer communities </li></ul><ul><li>distributor/dealer networks </li></ul><ul><li>causes and campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>event sites (supporting conferences, festivals, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>readership communities </li></ul><ul><li>employees (and ex-employees) </li></ul><ul><li>industry and professional groups </li></ul><ul><li>etc, etc </li></ul>
    12. 12. Discussion forums
    13. 13. <ul><li>Wikis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>open – Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>professional – RIBApedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>internal knowledge management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feilden Clegg Bradley </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communities of regular readers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-author blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog sharing communities </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lists / groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Klout / PeerIndex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#hashtags </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>#tweetchat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tweet-ups </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>Sharing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>travel, location </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>photos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Q&As </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>Social networks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>from personal (eg: Facebook ) … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to professional (less Facebook, more LinkedIn ) … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to group focused (some in Facebook, LinkedIn, or built on Ning , Elgg, socialGo) </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. 5353 members 1636 members
    19. 19. <ul><li>Bespoke community platforms </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>Hyperlocal communities </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>Communities spanning real and virtual </li></ul>
    22. 22. The Be2camp Story (so far) Built Environment Web 2.0 Barcamp Subtitle: the power of ‘hybrid events’
    23. 23. June 2008
    24. 24. Meetings via Skype Conversations via Twitter TimeAndDate to organise meeting times Meetings in Second Life blog, forum on Ning Google Groups Google Docs Just 2 emails
    25. 25. Ning site created 31 July 2008
    26. 26. <ul><li>World’s first ‘unconference’ focused on Web 2.0 for the built environment </li></ul><ul><li>Building Centre, London, 10 October 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Free to attend </li></ul><ul><li>Participative </li></ul><ul><li>Online and face-to-face </li></ul>“ Unconference”
    27. 27. “ Unplanning” <ul><li>Before a Be2camp event: </li></ul><ul><li>People volunteer to help, to speak, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Topics discussed online </li></ul><ul><li>Themes identified </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors approached </li></ul>
    28. 28. “ Unhosting” <ul><li>At a Be2camp event: </li></ul><ul><li>Running order agreed </li></ul><ul><li>'Participants' not 'delegates' </li></ul><ul><li>Sessions streamed live </li></ul><ul><li>Live-blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Twitterfall </li></ul>
    29. 29. “ Open-sourcing” <ul><li>After a Be2camp event: </li></ul><ul><li>Videos on Ustream, YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Photos on Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations on Slideshare </li></ul><ul><li>Live-blog, chat on Coveritlive </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions/downloads continue </li></ul><ul><li>All on </li></ul>
    30. 30. First Be2camp statistics <ul><li>London, 10 October 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>c. 55 people attended (in real-life) </li></ul><ul><li>183 unique visitors to be2camp website </li></ul><ul><li>CoverItLive feed: 47 unique visitors </li></ul><ul><li>At one point, 12 individuals watching the Be2camp live feed in Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>8 sign-ups to Be2camp during day </li></ul>
    31. 31. Second Be2camp <ul><li>#Be2campnorth </li></ul><ul><li>Liverpool </li></ul><ul><li>15 May 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>hashtag was one of the top buzz-words on Twitter. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Be2camp 10 Oct Be2camp North 15 May Be2camp Brum 12 Aug Be2camp WB 7-8 Oct Event-powered growth
    33. 33. Be2party
    34. 34. Be2camp year two <ul><li>Be2camp Brum, August 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Be2camp@WorkingBuildings, October </li></ul><ul><li>SMWBe2camp February 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Be2campEast 1 April 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Be2campNW June 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Be2camp Brum 2 August 2010 </li></ul>
    35. 35. Be2camp year three
    36. 36. Be2Awards <ul><li>London, 9 February 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>100+ nominations </li></ul><ul><li>10,000+ unique visitors to website in six weeks; 40,000 page impressions </li></ul><ul><li>c. 80 people attended (in real-life) </li></ul><ul><li>900 visits to Be2Awards website on day </li></ul><ul><li> live video stream was viewed by 178 unique visitors, 302 visits, 146 hours </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter hashtag #be2awards cited 731 times </li></ul><ul><li>website visitors from 35 different countries </li></ul>
    37. 37. <ul><li>Thirteen things to think about </li></ul><ul><li>Do we need an online community? </li></ul><ul><li>H ow will users benefit? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will run it? </li></ul><ul><li>Integration with other communications? </li></ul><ul><li>What rules will we have? </li></ul><ul><li>How will we work out what our community wants? </li></ul><ul><li>If we build it, will they come? </li></ul><ul><li>When they come, what will people do? </li></ul><ul><li>How will others in the organisation be involved? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are some users more active and vocal than others? </li></ul><ul><li>How big could your community be? </li></ul><ul><li>How will we measure the impact? </li></ul><ul><li>How will we fund the site? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    38. 38. <ul><li>Do we need an online community? </li></ul><ul><li>think 'outcomes' </li></ul><ul><li>have a clear strategic reason to create and build an online community </li></ul><ul><li>Otherwise … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How will we measure the impact? </li></ul></ul>
    39. 39. <ul><li>Who will manage the online community? </li></ul><ul><li>A community manager </li></ul><ul><li>supports, stimulates, monitors and moderates </li></ul><ul><li>welcome new members, weeds-out inappropriate content and behaviours, expands and retains the membership, cultivates and creates content </li></ul><ul><li>straddles dividing line between organisation and community </li></ul>
    40. 40. <ul><li>Integration with other communications? </li></ul><ul><li>People tend to be social in more than one place </li></ul><ul><li>Think about related activities on: </li></ul><ul><li>blogs, websites, e-newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Slideshare, etc </li></ul><ul><li>offline (magazines, posters, events, media, etc) </li></ul>
    41. 41. <ul><li>What rules should we have? </li></ul><ul><li>clear, simple guidelines, written in friendly, simple language, on what is and what isn’t acceptable </li></ul><ul><li>common business courtesies </li></ul><ul><li>stay on-topic </li></ul><ul><li>outlaw threatening, obscene or abusive language or images </li></ul><ul><li>ban spamming or other inappropriate selling (people don’t usually join a community to be marketed to) </li></ul><ul><li>Note: can time for users to discover ‘netiquette’ </li></ul>
    42. 42. <ul><li>If we build it, will they come? </li></ul><ul><li>contact key influncers first </li></ul><ul><li>make it easy to invite new members </li></ul><ul><li>provide some unrestricted content </li></ul><ul><li>an easy-to-use, intuitive user interface helps </li></ul><ul><li>avoid barriers to participation </li></ul><ul><li>build sense of ownership </li></ul>
    43. 43. <ul><li>Why are some users more vocal than others? </li></ul><ul><li>because they are! </li></ul><ul><li>Think 90-9-1 (or 70-20-10 ) </li></ul><ul><li>90% of users are Lurkers (read or observe, but don't contribute) </li></ul><ul><li>9% of users are Commenters (edit or rate content but don’t create content of their own) </li></ul><ul><li>1% of users are Creators who contribute content </li></ul>
    44. 44. <ul><li>How will we measure the impact? </li></ul><ul><li>Rates of membership sign-up </li></ul><ul><li>Invitations and WOM recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Retweets, blog posts, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in events </li></ul><ul><li>Content contribution </li></ul><ul><li>Website analytics </li></ul>
    45. 45. Thank you Contact: Paul Wilkinson Website: Blog: Email: [email_address] Tel: +44 (0)20 8858 1104 mob: 07788 445920 Twitter: @EEPaul