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Building a Community By: Ali Allage – Boost Labs
Presentation Break Down About The Presenter Community Forum Fun Facts Questions To Ask Before You Start Community Framework Community Guidelines Member Structure Community Technology Community Launch Monitoring and Maintenance Community Forum Case Studies Conclusion
About The Presenter Built, Promoted, and Managed Four Online Communities 10+ Years of Community Building Experience 15 Years of Technology and Marketing Experience Automotive Enthusiast Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Forum Fun Facts American Express OPEN Forum launched in 2007 and within 3 years, received over1 million monthly UNIQUE visitors
Community Forum Fun Facts (continued) BimmerForums.com receives 41,779 UNIQUE visitors per day.
Community Forum Fun Facts (continued) Dell used online communities to improve customer satisfaction rate from less than 58% to over 80%.
Questions To Ask Before You Start Who is this community for? What will I gain from an online community? Do I Have Upper Management Buy-In? (Organizations)
Questions To Ask Before You Start (continued) What will determine success? Do I have the time and resources to create the community and manage it? Am I immersed in the topic?
Community Framework User Interface Content Structure – Incorporating a blog, etc Forum Category Structure – How many categories do you need?
Community Framework (continued) Integrating Special Features – Member Experience Integrating Revenue Features – Banner Ads, Google Ads, etc. Future Expansion
Community Guidelines Community Forums Guidelines (Example) 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. 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. 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.
Community Guidelines (continued) 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. 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. Email email@example.com for a complete community guideline.
Member Structure Administrators Role: To approve content, create content, manage user accounts, maintain goal of community, create and enforce policy, basically do everything… Who: Company Employees, Community Manager, etc.
Member Structure (continued) Moderators Role: Under the direction of the Administrator, a moderator can create content, enforce community policy, provide for community members, etc. Company Employees or Interns, Trusted Industry Volunteers, Community Members etc.
Member Structure (continued) Members Role: This one is obvious… Provide feedback, ask questions, interact with others, create content, etc. Who: Customers, enthusiasts, fanatics, etc. 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.
Community Technology Community technology decisions should be based on Community Framework Technology Preferences Cost – Hosting, Hardware Cost, Customization Cost, and Software License Cost
Community Technology (continued) Open Source Forum Software (free): phpBB - http://www.phpbb.com/ Vanilla Forums - http://vanillaforums.org/ myBB - http://www.mybb.com/ DotNetNuke -http://www.dotnetnuke.com/
Community Technology (continued) Paid Forum Software: vBulletin - http://www.vbulletin.com/ Lithium - http://www.lithium.com/ Jive - http://www.jivesoftware.com/ ASPPlayground - http://www.aspplayground.net/
Community Launch Promoting The Community After Launch 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. Partner Up – Partner up with other communities, websites, blogs, etc who are not the competition, but share the same target audience. Advertise – Setup advertising accounts with media outlets who advertise to your audience.
Community Launch (continued) Network – Participate in offline/online events that are align with your audience. Sponsor if you can. 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. Special Promotions – Setting up a contest by encouraging posts is a great way to kick off a community.
Monitoring and Maintenance Always monitor moderator and user behaviors Watch post quality Always encourage participation Always promote
Monitoring and Maintenance (continued) Watch Analytics Keep community guidelines up-to-date. Keep creating content
Community Forum Case Studies What Works Dell has been able to create a community that allows: user-to-user communications, featured content via a blog idea collection system to help the company improve Results: 1,000,000 + monthly visitors15,235 Ideas Submitted with 431 Implemented
Community Forum Case Studies What Works VW Vortex – Community for VW enthusiasts. 500,000 + members 60+ Million Posts
Community Forum Case Studies What Doesn’t Work BlueNity was created by AirFrance to connect travelers who fly with the airline. Great idea, horrible execution.Why it doesn’t work: UI is horrible Privacy issues Zero incentives to participate Zero participation from company Results: 1,500 monthly visitors after 3 years
Community Forum Case Studies What Doesn’t Work Walmart’s Parent Community… Really?
Conclusion Developed, designed, and promoted the right way, community forums can be a valuable asset to your potential audience.