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Building Targeted Professional Communities - Jeff Lang

Building Targeted Professional Communities - Jeff Lang



Jeff Lang's presentation from SLA 2011 Hot Topic, Building Targeted Professional Communities.

Jeff Lang's presentation from SLA 2011 Hot Topic, Building Targeted Professional Communities.



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  • What do you need to think about if you’re planning to build a Targeted Community?
  • - What is a targeted community - It can be called many different things - I like Community of Practice - A fair amount of literature on the subject - Applies to many orders of magnitude – Small meeting groups to broad communites - Easily nested
  • - I like to broadly define CofP’sSites where you go to discuss types of services & consumer goodsSites where you go to read & discuss specific types of newsLots of publications could be considered CofP’s since they host discussions and may have a targeted user base We here are a CofP at this conference A smaller CofP in this room Defining factor that you come here first because you expect discussion around a specific topic Quality first, in the sense that you don’t want to host every conceivable discussionJust the ones that are relevant to this community.
  • These are some CofP’s the ProQuest hostsEEBO interactions is a wiki where Humanities scholars studying Early English lit can share their research and make it available to all researchersAtmospeer is a community for Atmospheric scientists to share grey litGradShare is our community for Graduate Students to share advice and learn about common challengesWe started an internal CofP for those working on CofPs
  • Starting a new community, you get the chicken and egg problem Where do you get your first content and how will people find you?If you’re a small, active group you can herd people.For larger, loosely affiliated groups you’ll probably turn to other social media marketingPeople who are on social media are more likely to be interested in your social outreachThis is the way we think about outreach on GradShare.The Virtuous Cycle represents the relationship between GradShare visitors, link providers (like Google) and our sympathetic content providers That’s anyone talking about grad student issues on their website, blog, Twitter, etc. Most important take away is that adding energy to one side creates momentum around the circle Like spinning a basketball on your finger. The more you add the faster you can spin. Over time, you can slow down. Important concepts Inbound Marketing – Positioning ourselves in the path of an information need. SEO – Making our webpages attractive to search engines. Highly networked environment – By helping others, we can help ourselves.
  • In order to understand inbound marketing and the Virtuous Cycle, you need to know how Google works It’s all about getting into your target group’s information search pathNote: We’re talking about webpages here, not websites. The goal is to get as many links as possible from the most popular sites. Example: Links from the homepage of CNN.com count for a lot on their own. So do thousands of Twitter links from virtually unknown people.
  • In order to reach those Twitter users, we want to interact with them on their platform Engaging on social networks has benefits beyond the Virtuous Cycle Aspects of both inbound and outbound marketing. Plays into our goal of a brand that represents a reliable source for grad school information. For the Circle Give users something that they can share (by Liking, Commenting, or Retweeting) Makes it easy for others repeat our message and recommend us (implicitly or explicitly). Increase attention to grad student content which may point back to us. This increases their implicit value and our pagerank. But, we rarely post marketing information about ourselves because people won’t share that At peek times, Facebook traffic has brought in 35% of non-search engine traffic It took us a while to find the right model for engagement. We couldn’t just post marketing materials because our target group wouldn’t be interested Instead, we focus on relevant news and intersperse information about GradShare We’re sharing a story about our community
  • One source of content for our social network engagement is the GradShare blogs We invited specific authors and graduate student organizations to do their blogging on GradShare We give them a microphone and help to market them while we get new content for the site. Fresh content feeds user demand and is a factor in search engine results It feeds our Social Network strategy with new material Just as important, helps us define the links to our site Links to the blog content make sure that we show up in more search results and more prominentlyDifficult to find bloggers, so we look for groups with a self interest Need to find someone passionate, or you’ll end up with junk Takes some effort to cultivate and maintain the relationships, but having good bloggers has definitely contributed to growth in visitors. The blog ties us with other community figures who will represent GradShare even as they pursue their own goals.
  • In April 2010, we launched a big experiment A sisterwebsite who’s primary purpose was to add momentum to the Virtuous Cycle. The idea came from a discussion on ProfHacker – a fast growing site for college professors using technology in teaching We built the site in about a week and announced it on ProfHacker The goal was to get media attention, so the long term prospects for the site weren’t important Just get it out there fast! If it took off on it’s own, that would be one more benefit The story created some buzz and over the following weeks we had articles on The Chronicle, The Globe & Mail and HuffPo links on MetaFilter, Facebook & Twitter The story was a combination of spontaneous collaboration & Man-Bites-Dog Much more interesting than headlines about “Another New Online Community!” Gave us popular webistes & many end users pointing to IMTHON & GradShare That temporarily gave us a popular website that pointed to GradShare and nowhere elseUsed the keywords we selected.Helped us get new momentum as we prepared to launch the blogs An exciting ride for ~3 weeks and short bursts after like when we were picked up by Tumblr Increased GradShare traffic ~2.5 X for a while Now we get a few dozen visits each day, but it takes almost no resources to leave up
  • Final thoughtsDon’t take your SEO or content strategy too farJC Penny links demoted on Google after link farming incidentOnce you have a high page rank, expect others to want your linksThe rules can changeGoogle changed some parameters of their ranking earlier this year and recalculated pagerankMajor players just got behind Schema.org as a way for content creators give crawlers more information.

Building Targeted Professional Communities - Jeff Lang Building Targeted Professional Communities - Jeff Lang Presentation Transcript

  • Jeff Lang
    Community Manager, GradShare
    N. A. Operations Manager, RefWorks
    Building Targeted Social Communities
  • Terminology
    Targeted Communities
    Learning Communities
    Communities of Practice
    Vertical Communities
    Special Interest Groups
    Professional Communities
  • What is a Community of Practice?
  • ProQuest Communities of Practice
  • Virtuous Cycle
  • How Google Works
    Every link on a webpage counts as a vote for the link destination.
    The value of a vote = Overall Weight / Number of Votes.
    Overall Weight = Sum(Value of All Votes)
    Some modifiers like keywords in the link text, keywords in the page title, freshness, etc.
  • Social Network Engagement
    • Give them something to read/share
    • Encourage links back to you.
    • Bring attention to sympathetic content
  • Destination Content
    Impostor Syndrome
    Impostor Syndrome
    Impostor Syndrome
  • IsMyThesisHotOrNot?
  • Virtuous Cycle