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10 Tactics For Online Community

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Growing a thriving and lively community is part art, and part science. In this webinar, we'll dissect the science of it, giving you real, tangible tips that you can take back to your office and start …

Growing a thriving and lively community is part art, and part science. In this webinar, we'll dissect the science of it, giving you real, tangible tips that you can take back to your office and start using immediately. You'll learn how to exploit your existing organizational resources, as well as how to bring people in to your community from the outside.

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  • Transcript

    • 1. 10 Tactics for Building Online Community
    • 2. Introduction - Presenters
      • Heather McKeon Miller - National Council on Aging
      • Matt Howe, Executive Director, Our Giving Community
      • Christopher Dworin, VP, Business Development, GoLightly
    • 3. Introduction - First Steps
      • Determine whether and how online community will benefit your organization
      • Choose appropriate tools given your budget, goals, and expected level of engagement
      • Be prepared to devote sufficient staff time and resources to nurturing and growing the community
    • 4. 10 Tactics - Summary
      • 1) Let the potential members of the community know why you are providing an online community, and how being an active member of a community would benefit them.
      • 2) Use every opportunity to showcase your online community.
      • 3) Seed the community with groups, forum postings, blogs, etc., so that early adopters aren’t faced with an “empty” community.
      • 4) Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up and to use the community tools.
      • 5) Designate a staff person to be the facilitator or moderator of the community.
    • 5. 10 Tactics - Summary, cont.
      • 6) Acknowledge those members who use the community frequently.
      • 7) Seek input from the members on your organization’s agenda and other organizational issues. Take what you learn from the community and put it into practice in the organization.
      • 8) Use wiki and/or forum functionality to publish ongoing lists of group events.
      • 9) Announce new initiatives and other important organizational news in the community first.
      • 10) Keep the community content fresh.
    • 6. Tactic 1 - Let Your Members Know Why
      • Let the potential members of the community know why you are providing an online community, and how being an active member of a community would benefit them.
    • 7. Tactic 2 - Showcase Your Community
      • Use every opportunity to showcase your online community
      • a) Introduce it to your members in an initial introductory email, and then in periodic follow up emails.
      • b) In your regular newsletter, mention and link to an interesting forum thread, or welcome new groups that have been formed, etc.
      • c) On the home page and on any normal landing pages that visitors come to on your website, have links, or better yet include a call out or some text about the community.
    • 8. Tactic 2 - Showcase Your Community, cont.
      • d) Put into the community library all documents and files that your organization would like to make available to your members.
      • e) Set up occasional forums on topical events to keep refreshing the content.
      • f) Set up a feed on the home page of your website, and other highly trafficked pages bringing in new blog posts. This will help keep your website fresh, as well.
      • g) Promote the community through any other existing discussion lists your organization maintains.
    • 9. Tactic 2 - Showcase Your Community, cont.
      • h) Add an invitation to join the community in staff email signatures. Include a link to the join page in that invitation.
      • i) Collect emails from contacts at any online or offline events so that you can send a reminder email about participating in your online community.
      • j) Mention the community in physical descriptions of your organization (brochures, hand-outs, articles, promotional materials, advertising, etc.)
    • 10. Tactic 3 - Seed the Community
      • Seed the community with groups, forum postings, blogs, etc., so that early adopters aren’t faced with an “empty” community. Don’t set up too many forums to start with, until usage rises and you can determine what additional forums would be well received. Invite selected members prior to public launch to participate and to help seed the community with comment and other content.
    • 11. Tactic 4 - Make it Easy
      • Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up and to use the community tools. If your community is closed to non-members, be sure to add accessible descriptions of the community in your list of membership benefits to entice non-members to become members. Help new users to adopt the tools quickly, by giving them simple directions for use (e.g., NTEN’s explanation at the top of the forums telling users what they can do).
    • 12. Tactic 4 - Make it Easy
      • Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up and to use the community tools. If your community is closed to non-members, be sure to add accessible descriptions of the community in your list of membership benefits to entice non-members to become members. Help new users to adopt the tools quickly, by giving them simple directions for use (e.g., NTEN’s explanation at the top of the forums telling users what they can do).
    • 13. Tactic 5 - Designate a Facilitator or Moderator
      • Designate a staff person to be the facilitator or moderator of the community, checking periodically to make sure that members are using the forums and other tools as intended, encouraging members to “speak up”, enforcing the rules if necessary (e.g., taking down posts that contain inappropriate language or purpose), and making sure that comments & questions about the organization are acknowledged and answered, as appropriate. As the community grows and some of your members stand out for the frequency and usefulness of their posts, you can invite those members to become moderators of a particular forum. Leveraging the community member base can also reduce staff time. On being a good facilitator, see http://www.rheingold.com/texts/artonlinehost.html .
    • 14. Tactic 6 - Acknowledge Community Members
      • Acknowledge those members who use the community frequently. This acknowledgment can be made within the community site itself, in the organization’s newsletters, or the organization’s main website, etc.
    • 15. Tactic 7 - Seek and Use Members’ Input
      • Seek input from the members on your organization’s agenda and other organizational issues. Make sure to include at least one forum and one group that are focused on the organization’s own operations. Actively use such a forum or group to solicit feedback from the members. Consider polling members within the community on a regular basis. Take what you learn from the community and put it into practice in the organization. Give credit to the community for their input. Once members discover that their participation in the community can actually have an impact on the organization itself, interest in the community will be that much stronger.
    • 16. Tactic 8 - Use Wikis for Announcements
      • Use wiki and/or forum functionality to publish ongoing lists of group events, and have members participate by adding other events that they consider relevant to other members. Encourage users to use wikis by seeking their input directly into organizational planning (e.g., by putting drafts of tributes, awards, mission statements, etc. in wiki and then seeking input from members).
    • 17. Tactic 9 - Announce News First in Community
      • Announce new initiatives and other important organizational news in the community first. This will help establish the community as a living, informative part of your online presence.
    • 18. Tactic 10 - Keep the Community Fresh
      • Keep the community fresh. Pay attention to what elements of the community are being used heavily, and which are not. If you’ve created a forum that no one’s using, consider taking it down, as NTEN did. If you find a lot of discussion on a particular topic, consider creating a forum and/or group especially for that topic.
      • Consider archiving outdated library items.
    • 19. Contact Information - GoLightly, Inc.
      • For More Information, Contact:
      • Christopher Dworin
      • Vice President of Business Development
      • GoLightly, Inc.
      • Gardner Building
      • 9 Locust Avenue, Suite A
      • Mill Valley, CA 94941
      • (415) 847-7555
      • [email_address]

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