Building online communities 101
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Building online communities 101

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The basics and best practices of how to build, grow and nurture online communities

The basics and best practices of how to build, grow and nurture online communities

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    Building online communities 101 Building online communities 101 Presentation Transcript

    • Building Online Communities 101 Javed Mohammed Community Manager & Architect Javed_mohammed@hotmail.com
    • Overview • What’s an online community? • How to start them, engage them? • How to maintain them? • Other best practices
    • What’s an online community? • There are a lot of definitions out there • Simply put “It’s a bunch of people with something in common (an interest or place) who share, organize or interact online, based on common protocols” that’s my definition. • Now let’s break it down
    • “It’s a bunch of people” • Know your target audience and encourage them to over time to share their profiles. • Who are they • What are they interested in • What makes them tick • How are you going to reach them • Why should they care or get involved • Who are the natural subject matter experts • Who are the organic leaders
    • “with something in common” • What are you/they trying to accomplish? i.e. What’s the goal? • How will building an online community satisfy this goal? • What is success?
    • “an interest or place” • Interest: personal or professional with a clear purpose • Place: Home, work, or community related • Online does not exclude offline, it is a way to gather
    • “who share, organize or interact online,” • What kind of sharing? • Discussions, Blogs, Documents, Ideas, Videos, Polls • What kind of organizing? • Peer-to peer, You-your customers, You-your prospects, You-your employees, partners, You-rest of the world. • What kind of interaction? • Real time or Asynchronous • Persistent or Transient • What kind of Access/security? • Public or Private • Registered or unregistered • Read/Write • Granularity of permissions • What kind of timeframe? • Simple & fast to setup or More ways to engage (eg Blog, discussion, polls,…) • How many groups/forums/categories? • How much integration, customization?
    • “based on common protocols” • What are the rules that community plays by? • Respect, Confidentiality, Privacy, Transparency, Time, Share, Forgiving and No solicitation, Flaming, etc. • Make them simple, clear, flexible, enforceable • How are they communicated? • Terms of Use, Training, email • How will rules be enforced? • Peer tracking, warning, removal from community
    • Types of community • At elemental level Communities allow you to Share, Teach, Discuss, Entertain • Fundamentally there are 2 types of online community 1. Community of Interest (common interest or passion) 2. Community of Purpose (same objective or process to reach shared goal) • There are many ways to categorize communities. Some of the most popular ones are listed in the Appendix
    • Online communities Relationships Common Interests Social networks start with relationships and then build on common interests Relationships Common Interests A Online community starts with people who have common interests and with time build relationships.
    • Connecting the dots • To understand community you have to understand relationships • And how they tie together • As well as their diversity
    • Relationships • There are many scientific details about what makes relationships. • At a basic level relationships are formed over: • Frequency (F) • Time (T) • Emotions (E) • Trust (T) • X Factor • Relationship = F*T*E*T*X • Note: X Factor are the things are difficult to quantify like chemistry between people, nuance, and other subtleties, that help enable relationships like value, being earned, empowering, having fun.
    • Weak ties Strong ties Weak vs Strong ties • Weak ties are more effective in certain social situations eg job-hunting, match-making as they benefit from numbers and diversity • Strong ties are more effective in the depth and long term sustainability of the relationship. the value is in the relationship. • As relationships build, some weak ties can become strong
    • 90-9-1 rule • In online communities there is a diverse population • 90 % Lurkers • 9% Contributors (eg comment, vote, some content) • 1% Creators (generating most of content and conversations)
    • Complexity of markets • For High complexity markets (eg Enterprise Software), decision making • is complex, takes time and is costly. High value in customers and prospects • Having peer to peer conversation • Built on relevance (core) have to work on trust.
    • How to start and engage an online community • Technology Platforms for building online Communities • User Groups/Forums/listservs (Fast to setup, simple, free?) • Enterprise Software Online communities (eg Jive, Lithium, Socious), may include the following or can be standalong • Blogs (eg Wordpress), Microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr) • Webcasts • Webinars • Podcasts • Email & Newsletters • Wikis (eg Wikipedia, WikiHow) • Groups: eg Facebook Page/group, Yahoo Groups, Google Groups • Social bookmarking sites
    • Why do people join communities? • It gives them a sense of belonging • It allows them to share expertise or experiences • It allows them to meet people beyond geographical bounds • It allows them to learn new skills • It is just fun or makes them feel good • They want to promote something or someone • They know things others don’t and they can demonstrate their knowledge or leadership,…
    • How to start and engage an online community • Allow users to post content easily. This includes questions, answers, comments, voting • When a community becomes too large or diverse or looses focus break them down by category, or into smaller communities. • “Good” discussions involve threads where a post gets a comment and the conversation gets interested parties involved. • Engagement results from questions, responses, polls • Use Gamification; Points, Badges, Leaderboard • Hire a Community Manager
    • Role of Community Manager • Welcome newcomers • Provide topics for discussion • Moderate • Administrate site and Report • Promote the community • Engage the community by posing questions, polls, challenges • Recognize advocates • Depending on size of organization there may be specific roles of Administrator, Moderator, Subject Matter Expert etc.
    • Skills of a Community Manager • Great listener • Authentic • Fair but when need to be firm • Follows up • Doesn’t have all the answers but knows where to get them. • Positive, upbeat personality • Good customer service skills • Good writing skills • Knows how to create buzz • Represents the brand but not self-promotional • Praises the good • Let’s the community respond and only comes in when it’s healthy to do so.
    • How to start and engage an online community • How to engage them: • Post great content • Feedback, Comments, reviews, opinion • eNewsletters • Online surveys • Gamification • SMS (text messaging) • Sharing Online docs • RSS: Syndicate relevant content for users from you website, blogs and more through aggregator eg Weebly
    • Engaging community through content Build Awareness (eBook, Blogs, Whitepapers, Webinars How to articles) Get them Interested Service/Product/Solution Overview (eNewsletter, FAQ, ROI) Desire, help them validate through Peers (trial, demo, Videos, references, success stories, competitive positioning, comparison) Close on Solution (proposal)
    • How to start and engage an online community • How to maintain them • Keep them healthy • Growing • Valuable useful discussions, and content • Periodically offer Challenges or Contests, “Caption this” send a photo, or video • Pose questions, they may be directly related to your product or service or on a tangent “What are 5 ways to use product xyz” or If you were stuck on an island and could only,….
    • Monitoring Performance • There are many ways to measure the health and well being of an online community. Amongst them some of the key KPIs are: • Registered Users/Visitors/Page Views/Return Visitor Rate/Bounce Rate • Content: # Discussions, Threads, documents, blog entries, videos etc. • Responsiveness: The time to first response of a question • Others
    • Concluding remarks • Communities is not about you, it is for serving your users, prospects, buyers. • The benefit are all the side effects • Look to constantly add value • Value is something that user sees worth in. • The primary goal of building a community is to drive engagement, 2-way, multi-way conversations that propel the wider community forward. • Happy Community Building
    • Appendix
    • Types of community • Community of Place (where people live, work, play) • Community of Action (about social change or a cause) • Community of Interest (common interest or passion) • Community of Practice (group of people who share a craft and/or a profession) • Community of Circumstance (shared life experiences) • Community of Transaction (buying/selling eg Amazon.com) • Community of Innovation • Community of Learning • Community of Inquiry (knowledge formation & scientific enquiry) • Community of Position (built around life stages) • Community of Purpose (same objective or process to reach shared goal) • Community of Fantasy • Community of Relationship
    • Knowledge Center Peer-to-peer Employee, SME (Subject Matter Expert) Prospect/ Customer Question Support Communities
    • References • Lithium Community Health Index for Online Communities • www.Feverbee.com • Wikpiedia • Online Community management for Dummies by Deborah Ng