Golden rules from online community facilitators


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16 members of the Online Facilitators Community share their golden rules to being an online community facilitator.

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Golden rules from online community facilitators

  1. 1. Golden Rules fromOnline CommunityFacilitatorsCompiled by Michael NortonOnline Facilitators Community
  2. 2. ContributorsTim EllisAlex MarshallLiz CopelandJo AllchurchRachel StevensMelissa WhittleBarrie MinneyJamie KirkRichard OveryEdmund LeeRebecca CoxJohn JarvisNick WellingtonCeri WildVicki GoddardHeidi De Wolf
  3. 3. Tim EllisProject and Programme Management CommunityGolden Rules from Online Community Facilitators“It’s all about people and engaging them. Find people who want tocontribute and be involved in organising the group. So to achieve that youneed to make people feel valued and recognised but you also need to findwhat works for them in their day job because there aren’t many people whocan do it purely out of the goodness of their heart. It’s going to be moreabout if there is some kind of synergy for them.”
  4. 4. Barrie MinneyLocal Authority Civil Enforcement Forum (LACEF)“Be enthusiastic, sometimes you have to very diplomatic because you getemails direct complaining bitterly that they can’t do something andsometimes you just have to phone them. Some people have very poor ITskills but I know if they can get into it and get the result they want they willbe very pleased..”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  5. 5. Melissa WhittleGeoPlace Authority Contacts Group“It’s hard work, it’s about putting the work in and encouraging people tojoin, but by doing that you will definitely reap the benefits and rewards andthe community will be successfully for everyone. It a lot of hard workinitially and a lot of work throughout but if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doingwell. Also you don’t have to be alone, if you can have other facilitatorshelping as well, two or three other colleagues that can share the workloadwith and take different roles, that will help”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  6. 6. John JarvisSupporting Troubled Families“Try and ensure that each post gets a response. Even if you don’t knowthe answers, at least acknowledge the fact that someone has posted.Either open it up again to the community and say you’re not entirely suredoes anyone else know or alternatively recognise it and go offline and tryand find someone who knows and try and force them to post a response.”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  7. 7. Alex MarshallLG Inform - Improving services through information“Make sure your content is current. I’m always updating the groupannouncement with new content. I try to post something new every day,even if it’s a little update or a question. This generates an email alert andhelps members come back again to the community and builds up a richbank of information.”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  8. 8. Nick WellingtonFood Hygiene Forum“Have a constant stream of new material, which is either interesting or oftechnical use. It’s a bit like social media that you have got to keep postingstuff up there; hopefully what you post up will catch the current interest ofmembers or prove to be of use as a knowledge base in the future. But Ithink you have to keep that tick over of stuff being feed into the group andmaking sure that there’s always something new to see on the site.”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  9. 9. Rachel StevensNational Member Development Group“Make the most of Google Analytics. How people are accessing yourcommunity group and are they visiting more after the newsletter has beenuploaded? By watching the timings when visits peak and when the quietperiods are, you can get a real feel for the dynamics of the group. Themore you click on the Google Analytics reports, the more you want toknow.”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  10. 10. Jamie KirkTop Talent Programme“Community facilitation should be about putting people first and technologysecond - to use the best tools available so that you can collaborativelywork on a project or goal. If you make a conscious effort to build your grouparound a specific/narrow purpose then you’ll be able to tie it more easily tobusiness objectives and communicate with your members moreeffectively... .”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  11. 11. Ceri WildWindows 7 Implementation“Use face-to-face meetings alongside the online activity, it reinforces andconsolidate the learning that the community has generated - regularmeetings have always been of great assistance.The meetings have also helped to cement relationships, putting names tofaces etc and have assisted in nurturing a strong comradery among thegroup. Appreciate that if members are disparately placed this might notalways be possible to organise, yet if you can convene regular meetings -they are a huge help..”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  12. 12. Liz CopelandLocal Government News“Dont get downhearted. If you find there arent many people engaging inconversation, dont worry. Keep plugging away. Keep things ticking over.Use the techniques people have suggested, like adding new contentregularly - and share this role with your fellow facilitators. After a whileyoull post something that will engage people and discussion will happen.You need to put the work in of course, and itll probably be the thing youleast expect that will get things going, but it will happen. So, stay positive!”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  13. 13. Richard OveryInformation Graphics and Visualisation“Promote your new community through a blog, tell people what you are upto or talk about a subject you feel passionately about (and make sure youhave a link at the end of the post to the community) the easier you make itfor audience to engage the better!”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  14. 14. Vicki GoddardLocal Government News“Be clear of what your community’s objectives are and then actaccordingly. It’s very easy for a community of practice to consume and bethe focus of everything you do.You need to be objective and sit back and think am I working on somethingunnecessarily?”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  15. 15. Jo AllchurchFlowNet“Before you start the community make sure you have a core membershipof people who are really engaged and ask them to make quite a fewcontributions in the first few weeks to encourage others.Also make sure the communications are right and make sure you haveenough material to start off with so the first time people go in to the newgroup they can see that it is really relevant to them.”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  16. 16. Edmund LeeHistoric Environment“Focus on the people and not the technology, try to work out what it is thatyou want to communicate to a well-defined audience and then thetechnology is secondary to that. Find out about the people that you’reworking with and then investigate the tools. The Knowledge Hub gives yougreat suite of tools to use. But it doesn’t have to be just the KnowledgeHub other things may work better for your particular audience.”Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  17. 17. Heidi De WolfLincolnshire CC People Strategy CoP“Be as creative as you can be with your words. Different things speak todifferent people. For example, in my community I have asked members toshare their thoughts about a variety of subjects, by completing thesentences I have started for them. For example, Great leadership is greatbecause … . “Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators
  18. 18. Rebecca CoxLocalism“Content is king. If you do not have interesting content it will be very hard toengage people. It will be hard at first but it is worth putting in the time upfront as it will pay off further down the line”.Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators