Building Community Forums Online - Frederick NMT 3 Presentation


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Building Community Forums presentation by Ali Allage, CEO, Boost Labs (

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Building Community Forums Online - Frederick NMT 3 Presentation

  1. 1. Building a Community<br />By: Ali Allage – Boost Labs<br />
  2. 2. Presentation Break Down<br />About The Presenter<br />Community Forum Fun Facts<br />Questions To Ask Before You Start<br />Community Framework<br />Community Guidelines<br />Member Structure<br />Community Technology<br />Community Launch <br />Monitoring and Maintenance<br />Community Forum Case Studies <br />Conclusion<br />
  3. 3. About The Presenter<br />Built, Promoted, and Managed Four Online Communities<br />10+ Years of Community Building Experience<br />15 Years of Technology and Marketing Experience<br />Automotive Enthusiast<br />Contact Info: ali_allageali@boostlabs.comaliallage<br />
  4. 4. Community Forum Fun Facts<br />American Express OPEN Forum launched in 2007 and within 3 years, received over1 million monthly UNIQUE visitors<br />
  5. 5. Community Forum Fun Facts (continued)<br /> receives 41,779 UNIQUE visitors per day.<br />
  6. 6. Community Forum Fun Facts (continued)<br />Dell used online communities to improve customer satisfaction rate from less than 58% to over 80%.<br />
  7. 7. Questions To Ask Before You Start<br />Who is this community for?<br />What will I gain from an online community?<br />Do I Have Upper Management Buy-In? (Organizations)<br />
  8. 8. Questions To Ask Before You Start (continued) <br />What will determine success?<br />Do I have the time and resources to create the community and manage it?<br />Am I immersed in the topic?<br />
  9. 9. Community Framework<br />User Interface<br />Content Structure – Incorporating a blog, etc<br />Forum Category Structure – How many categories do you need?<br />
  10. 10. Community Framework (continued)<br />Integrating Special Features – Member Experience<br />Integrating Revenue Features – Banner Ads, Google Ads, etc.<br />Future Expansion<br />
  11. 11. Community Guidelines<br />Community Forums Guidelines (Example)<br />1. If a thread becomes too long and makes it difficult for our members to search and/or quote from, a new thread (part 2, 3, etc) will be created and linked to the thread being closed.<br />2. Unless specified otherwise, all rules apply to the entirety of “Community_Name_Here”, including forum posts, tags, blogs, user groups, photo albums, private messages to another, etc.<br />3. The moderators and administrators of “Community_Name_Here” have the right to edit/open/close/move/delete any thread or post. Decisions are subject to moderator discretion. Disputes and questions about decisions made by moderators should be discussed via PM with a SuperMod or Admin.<br />
  12. 12. Community Guidelines (continued)<br />4. No advertising for any business unless you are registered with our site and are a representative of that company. This includes, but is not limited to, threads, posts, avatars, profile information, and signatures. For advertising information please click here.<br />5. Before posting a question, please conduct a search for an answer and check our FAQ forum. You should also read your owners manual. There is a wealth of information there that could answer your question.<br />Email for a complete community guideline.<br />
  13. 13. Member Structure<br />Administrators<br />Role: To approve content, create content, manage user accounts, maintain goal of community, create and enforce policy, basically do everything…<br />Who: Company Employees, Community Manager, etc.<br />
  14. 14. Member Structure (continued)<br />Moderators<br />Role: Under the direction of the Administrator, a moderator can create content, enforce community policy, provide for community members, etc.<br />Company Employees or Interns, Trusted Industry Volunteers, Community Members etc.<br />
  15. 15. Member Structure (continued)<br />Members<br />Role: This one is obvious… Provide feedback, ask questions, interact with others, create content, etc.<br />Who: Customers, enthusiasts, fanatics, etc.<br />Structure: Members can be structured in different ways. The most ideal way is a tier ranking system that allows the member to slowly graduate their rank as they participate. Ex: Newbie (new user), Active Member, Guru. <br />
  16. 16. Community Technology<br />Community technology decisions should be based on Community Framework<br />Technology Preferences<br />Cost – Hosting, Hardware Cost, Customization Cost, and Software License Cost<br />
  17. 17. Community Technology (continued)<br />Open Source Forum Software (free):<br />phpBB -<br />Vanilla Forums -<br />myBB -<br />DotNetNuke -<br />
  18. 18. Community Technology (continued)<br />Paid Forum Software:<br />vBulletin -<br />Lithium -<br />Jive -<br />ASPPlayground -<br />
  19. 19. Community Launch <br />Promoting The Community After Launch<br />Start Posting and Keep Posting – Get content out there so not only the search engines pick it up, but also encourages other users to join the conversation.<br />Partner Up – Partner up with other communities, websites, blogs, etc who are not the competition, but share the same target audience. <br />Advertise – Setup advertising accounts with media outlets who advertise to your audience.<br />
  20. 20. Community Launch (continued)<br />Network – Participate in offline/online events that are align with your audience. Sponsor if you can.<br />Other Social Media Sites – Setup a facebook, twitter, or any other account to help attract others to your community. Technology is available to centralize communication from other social media sites.<br />Special Promotions – Setting up a contest by encouraging posts is a great way to kick off a community.<br />
  21. 21. Monitoring and Maintenance<br />Always monitor moderator and user behaviors<br />Watch post quality<br />Always encourage participation<br />Always promote<br />
  22. 22. Monitoring and Maintenance (continued)<br />Watch Analytics<br />Keep community guidelines up-to-date.<br />Keep creating content<br />
  23. 23. Community Forum Case Studies What Works<br /> Dell has been able to create a community that allows: <br />user-to-user communications,<br />featured content via a blog <br />idea collection system to help the company improve<br />Results: 1,000,000 + monthly visitors15,235 Ideas Submitted with 431 Implemented<br />
  24. 24. Community Forum Case Studies What Works<br />VW Vortex – Community for VW enthusiasts. <br />500,000 + members<br />60+ Million Posts<br />
  25. 25. Community Forum Case Studies What Doesn’t Work <br />BlueNity was created by AirFrance to connect travelers who fly with the airline. Great idea, horrible execution.Why it doesn’t work:<br />UI is horrible<br />Privacy issues<br />Zero incentives to participate<br />Zero participation from company<br />Results:<br />1,500 monthly visitors after 3 years <br />
  26. 26. Community Forum Case Studies What Doesn’t Work <br />Walmart’s Parent Community… Really? <br />
  27. 27. Conclusion<br />Developed, designed, and promoted the right way, community forums can be a valuable asset to your potential audience.<br />
  28. 28. Questions?<br />
  29. 29. More Information<br />Boost Labs, LLC<br /><br />Ali Allage, CEO<br />(301) 560-7901 x7000<br /><br />Twitter: ali_allage<br />Linkedin: aliallage<br />