Community Management that Works for Health


Published on

How to build and sustain a thriving online health community. Workshop about building a successful online community for patients and caregivers by Nancy Korstanje, Smoker's Helpline; Heather Sinardo,; and Colleen Young, |

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • SHELLYWelcome to CPOP workshop #2 - Community Management that Works: How to build and sustain a thriving online community I’m Shelly Cory, Executive Director of Canadian Virtual Hospice, and I will be facilitating today’s session.[Introduces us]BiosNancy Korstanje is the Senior Manager of Community Integration and Promotion for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline. Part of her role is to contribute to the ongoing development of Smokers” Helpline programming, including the online community.Heather Sinardo is the National Senior Manager for the Canadian Cancer Society’s peer support programs. She has been involved with the nationwide telephone peer support program since 2003 and has been the Project Manager for the Society’s new online communities, since their inception.Colleen Young is the Outreach and Engagement Manager at Canadian Virtual Hospice. She is also the Community Manager of the newly launched | online community.[What to expect]Today through the experiences and stories of our three speakers, you’ll learn about best practices in starting and maintainingan active online community throughout its lifecycle. The workshop is divided into 3 parts. We’ll start off with some definitions and each of the speakers will give a brief introduction to their community. (20 minutes) In Part 2, we’ll discuss specific techniques of community management that help ensure the survival and steady growth of an online community and give illustrative examples for each of our communities. (30 minutes) And for the last part of the workshop, we’ll open up the floor and talk about your online community developments, aspirations, needs and challenges. (40 minutes)
  • HEATHERDefinition: A group of people who share a strong common interest, form relationships, and interact online.In an online community, members are brought together by a strong common interest, and they talk to each other. Over time, they begin to develop a sense of familiarity and build relationships. They also develop customs, symbols and culture. – all contributing to a sense of community-not a crowd, audience, or following (they may share an interest but they don’t build relationships with each other)not a website where people come for just information gathering-not Facebook where lots of people talk to each other but they don’t share a strong common interest-not Twitter where people talk to the person they’re following, because they seldom talk to each other or build relationships with those others.Facebook and Twitter are platforms that can be used to create communities (with limitations)An online community is a specific approach to achieve specific goals. There are different types of community, cancer lends itself to being a “community of circumstance”
  • HEATHERThe Community Life Cycle model gives you a map so you can understand where your community is now and what you need to do to move it through the life cycle.There are various academic models available, we’ll be using Richard Millington’s to provide a framework for the presentation part of the workshop. 4 phases: inception, establishment, maturity and mitosisThe phase of the community will identify and direct the strategies and work needed at that time to help the community progress through the life cycle.Reference:Richard Millington, Feverbee
  • COLLEENStarted: Our community is just 5 months old. We launched in December 2011. Our community is very much in the beginning phases of the inception stage.The goal for the community manager at this stage is to provide the initial momentum set tone and style of community. Invite people who you know will do that. nurture the growth and activity until it has become self-sustainingDuring this phase of the online community lifecycle, the community manager focuses upon a few very specific tasks.Inviting members to join and keeping them active/engaged.Initiating discussions (on community or behind the scenes) and prompting members to participate.Building relationships with members (individual outreach).4) Writing content about the community. Newsletters, articles. Also participating in conferences such as this one.Monitoring for online event opportunities. (Describe special community management challenges of outreach. Not same vocabulary as survivorship or behaviour change motivation.)The community reaches critical mass when more than 50% of growth and activity is being generated by members (as opposed to the community manager.)
  • COLLEENOur purpose:to create a welcoming and safe community where people can talk about living with a life-limiting illness, end of life, loss and grief to complement our other services. Often taboo subjects in our offline and online social networks. In the cancer community: talk about self-ostracization of advanced cancer patients. Fear of dampening hope. Survivorship language can be alienating.Our community members include:• Patients living with life-limiting disease• Caregivers • Family and friends• People dealing with loss and grief• Hospice and palliative volunteersBuilding English community and will soon start French communitySize:Community has 42 members, 9 inactive. More than 400 posts in 4 months. Unique page views 0 to 1330 to 943.Discussion Forums have consistently ranked 4th most visited section of the website since launch. Response time to answer a new post has gone from 1 day to within an hour and average time spent on individual threads has increased from 41 seconds to 4 minutes. Resources: Hired a community manager, dedicating approximately 20/month to the community. Other duties support community building.
  • COLLEENPlatform:Platform – an “custom system” – CMS technology partner developed community platform with us. Starting off with simple, streamlined functionality (Give “tour” of community). This allow us to focus on the community and build features according to community needs and wishes. Focus on discussion forums minimum number of forums and tools Benefits shows active community, doesn’t diffuse activity Engages early adopters in development and improvements, which creates loyalty. Converts early adopters in to core and founding members Talk about possible plans. Wait and see approach. AAP and Your Stories• Pro: Tailored for us• Con: Each change costs $$$, no out of the box tools
  • HEATHERThe goal for the community manager at this stage is to engage members more deeply so they start to feel a sense of community, and they are independently posting user-generated contentDuring this phase of the online community lifecycle, the community manager focuses on new tasks.Continue with growth strategy, often shifting to a bit less 1:1 microactions members to join and keeping them active/engaged - now to broader WOM strategiesInitiating discussions (on community or behind the scenes) and prompting members to participate.Building relationships with members (individual outreach).4) Writing content about the communityOfferingevent opportunitiesBeginning to scale processes to accommodate growth, often begin to recruit “volunteers” from the membership to help with leadership role in community (e.g., being greeters, community guides for new members, establishing groups)Improving user interface based on user feedbackThe community reaches the maturity phase when about 90% of growth and activity is being generated by members (as opposed to the community manager.)
  • HEATHERLinked to about a year ago, in mid-March 2011. It is our example of a community that is in the establishment phase, well on it’s way to maturityNot designed to replace existing services, it is in addition to the range of options CCS offers. The community gives Canadians another option for how and when they want their cancer info and support from us. 2 communities - French and EnglishPatients and caregiversfrom when someone’s going through diagnosis and onwardPurpose: Gives adults facing cancer a safe and welcoming place to find support and build relationships that will help them through their cancer journey.Size and resources: Over 22,000 people have visited almost50,000times, viewing well over a quarter of a million pages of content. Visitors from 94 countries to the English site and 44 countries to the French site. French community represents about 20% of stats. No added staff resources, IS provide daily moderation, change in my role – under-resourced so there are lost opportunities.
  • HEATHERPlatform – an “enterprise system” – has all the bells and whistles.Profile, discussions, blogs, groups and events tabs along the top and briefly describe each feature
  • NANCYStarted: Originally offered only phone service: free, confidential, one-to-one conversation with a Quit Coach (2000)Internet changed the way we access information – 68% of Canadians search for health related info online (Stats Can, 2010)Online launched (2005) Two main parts: self directed quit program and the online communityOur purpose:To create a positive environment that reflects the confidential, non-judgmental approach utilized for phone counsellingBarrier-free support – no geographic or time limitationsAllows for a more self-directed programAddresses people at earlier stage of changeMembers benefit from active and passive participation – lurkers can still get support by viewing activities
  • Platform:Licensed community platform from Evolution Health Evidence based model that could be branded and is secureLook and feel of site important, want to maintain Canadian Cancer Society’s credibilityMany options available, talk to experts to find right platform for your needsSize:Currently have 54,635 members (3,635 in 1st year) – we are in the maturity phaseResources: Initial direction and moderation came from Evolution HealthSeeded conversations changed to reactive conversationsNow moderation is extension of Quit Coach’s role and responsibilitiesStill use Evolution Health as needed
  • SHELLYCommunity management is far more than “moderation”. The goal of effective community management is to progress the community through the phases of the life cycle. Depending on the community’s phase in the life cycle, the basic tasks, strategies and priorities of community management will shift and require fine tuning. Today we’ll delve into :ModerationGrowthEventsRelationship buildingMeasurement & reporting
  • NANCY- HEATHER-COLLEENCommunity moderationplays an important role in ensuring safe online information sharing and support. Community management styles differ from community to community, depending on the mission of the organization establishing the community, the goals of moderation and the make-up of the community members themselves.each of us share our moderation approaches (and how they’ve varied over time if applicable)CVH - Medium-level moderation – encourage members to respondBecause we’re in the inception stage, most of my time is dedicated to making connections. Many manymany... Microinteractions offline.“Getting your first 50 members is really hard work. It’s much harder than you probably imagine.In fact, earning those first 50 people is a full-time job.” – Rich Talk about fine balance between showing the community that the moderator is there, but not micromanaging the community. Online I make connections: people to people, people to resources and services (connector not expert) respond to queries (technical or decorum) correct misinformation guide safe practicesPost about How and Why we Moderate Discussion Guidelines Response time to answer a new post has gone from 1 day to within an hour and average time spent on individual threads has increased from 41 seconds to 4 minutes. CCS – low level approach, moderate after it’s posted, zero tolerance for harassment, no name-and-shame policy, most common issue is removing commercial postsHow we handle misinformation/unanswered postsWarn people about risk of posting their real names or pictures but allow them to make that informed decisionEncourage off-topic discussionsWork has shifted from direct micro-interactions and responding to posts to keep conversations going since at this point almost activity is generated by community members. We tend to reach out to community members to respond but seldom respond ourselves as “the organization”Discussions are started by a variety of members, speed of responses is faster and number of responses to each post has increased
  • NANCYThe user-agreement was created to encompass and encourage the ideals of the community. ConfidentialNon-judgementalPersonal & supportiveRelevant & on topicThe language in the UA supports these ideals and offers a guideline for moderators. They follow User Agreement to…Facilitate member to member communicationProvide accurate, evidence-based informationEnsure the environment is safe and positive
  • COLLEEN-HEATHER-NANCY4 main modes of growth:Recruitment (targeted outreach to individuals to get them to visit, then join, then participate)Word of mouth /Referrals – telling someone about the community who can spread the word to othersPromotion – usual channelsSearch engine optimization - Main points:need to convert visitors into active members to build the actual communitySlow steady growth is best. Fast growth can be problematic because it upsets the existing balance in the community and it is difficult to integrate a lot of new members into the community at one time effectively
  • COLLEENStart small and create activity:Elaborate according to RichNeed activityActivity begets activityMembers don’t beget members if everyone is quietNo launch - A launch gives a quick spike in activity that leaves you back where you started fromCVH – Make personal invitations – very time consuming, but imperative:Many manymany... microinteractionsLeverage my personal social capital and reach out to friends (#hcsmca, SharingStrength, Twitter, Facebook)Keep them activeReignite old conversationsSearch for potential members through Facebook and Twitter – low hanging fruit:Monitor social media – listen and learn about people and organizations and their goals, preferences and toolsGive before I ask – make relationshipsInvite to participate in the community and/or help raise awarenessFocus on producing and showing activity:Few forum topicsNiche audiences according to communityCCS – Still invite people to join, but often on a larger scale (e.g., reach out to groups of people); Primarily “word of mouth” now (e.g., HCPs) and starting to take advantage of media opportunities, could have a “launch” now, did not have one when first established because that only brings a lot of people who take a look and leave. Didn’t want to grow too big too fast, opted to develop a core group of members. Finding that new members quickly become committed to the community and want to “pay it forward” (a big motivator in this kind of community)
  • NANCYUnderstand the membership lifecycleUnderstand why and how people join and participateFor our community, it is unique that participation may lead to relapseTo solve this issue, it’s important to try and retain successful quitters as mentorsAnticipatethe needs of the communityExample: The site redesign was fuelled by new cigarette packages. Expectation was that attention to our services would grow and we needed to ensure the resources were availableIt’s all about the users (and Super Users) 4x more likely to become integrated as a new member if an “integrator” brings someone1Dr. Amanda L. Graham, PhD, “Improving Adherence to Web-Based Cessation Programs: A Social Network Approach” ( flexible moderation to be inclusive and not limit conversation and activity
  • HEATHER-NANCY-COLLEENHeather to introduce why and what -Can be a powerful community building strategyNot always consistent with the “counseling model”, so seems to have had limited use in our sector as a strategy for community buildingExamples:Webinars (highlight this is a key potential for collaboration with workshop participants)Birthday or other milestone achievements of the communityAchievements of community members“Sector events” – e.g., new program launch, new cancer center openingLive events produced for other reasons that you can leverage (e.g., lymphadema conference; Relay for Life events)CVH no events yet monitoring community for community-appropriate events testing waters on Facebook
  • NANCYInternal events/activities should fit with objectivesHaving events or creating activities just for the sake of it does not improve the communityFor Smokers’ Helpline, Anonymity and confidentiality are key objective so hosting or promoting events may exclude some membersNeed to be mindful of thisListen to what your community wantsWatch their activity, they will create amazing thingsWill be more invested if they perceive to have more control and power over contentAs long as it’s not in violation of user agreement moderators should facilitate these activitiesExample one (Certificates)Members suggested to have certificates to celebrate milestones and ended up creating and posting ideas on their ownExample 3 (Climbing a mountain)This is a community within a community, with it’s own metaphors, language and rules
  • COLLEEN-HEATHER-NANCYBuild relationships with Core members and founding members Referrers Potential members Stakeholder organizations:Workshops with volunteer core and staffNewsletter articlesLeverage each otherssocial media channelsBuild awarenessHelp build their communities (examples: SharingStrength &, CVH and, COPD Patient Network and CVH)
  • NANCY-HEATHER-COLLEENCVHReports focus on activity not membership because:Active members more valuable than registrantsMonitor last activity to keep members engagedMeaningful metrics for our collaborative and funding partners, numbers, graphic representations, testimonials
  • NANCYGather information at registrationRegistration questions align with minimal data set of NAQC to support evaluationMembership growth and activityHow often people are posting, how long it takes to respond, who is postingPay attention to your super usersLook at use of tools/featuresFor example, we updated the Private Messaging feature in 2010/11 (Q3)Allows members to leave messages for each other in their Private Inbox. In the next quarter, members had accessed the tool with 1,467 messages sentQualitative feedback is key Feedback from members, allow them a channels to give itFollow up surveyto find out more information, evaluate the success of your communityFor example, we measure different indicators of Quit success… In 2011/12 Q2 survey, 68% said that they have cut back in the amount they smoke as a result of their contact with Smokers' Helpline Online
  • SHELLYIntroduce interactive segment of workshop.WorkshopA lot of communities languish, many fail. [Give CVH example?] Perhaps you’re thinking of starting an online community or would like to grow your existing community. We invite you to share your community needs, dreams and challenges. Do you have to host your own online community in the web2.0 environment? What are the options?Main objectiveDemonstrate (explore?) collaborative opportunities.They leave being able to make a more informed decision of whether to build their own community, how to improve their existing communities, who they might collaborate/partner withPossible topics:Alternate solutions to hosting your own communityModeration concerns, challengesHR and cost challengesIntegration with broader businessTechnology
  • CVH – Continue growth and collaboration with other organizationsSite redesign coming soonExpand community tools and interactivityEventsProfessional communityCCS – events (in particular webinars); continue scaling as community grows by cultivating volunteers from within the community to do some of the community management; French community building; collaboration with more organizations to avoid duplication of resources and make community stronger.SHLMore timely review of community activity and usage trendsFrench communityAdopting best practices that will support interests and engage communityContinue with site redesign
  • Community Management that Works for Health

    1. Community management that works How to build and sustain a thriving online health community Colleen Young
    2. Peer-to-peer health care “PewInternet Project data shows that if you can enable an environment in which people can share, they will and the benefits will entice others to join.” ~ Susannah Fox, Pew Internet & American Life Project Excerpt from Susannah Fox’s Medicine 2.0, 2011 Keynote address
    3. My story
    4. What is an online community? A group of people who share a strong common interest, form relationships and interact online.
    5. Why some succeed and others fail To succeed: • Establish and understand your domain • Develop a strategy, according to the community’s lifecycle stage • Build a sense of community Wenger E. et al., 2002 Iriberri A. and Leroy G., 2008. Blanchard and Markus, 2004
    6. Sense of community • Membership: a feeling of belonging • Identity: goals of members match those of the membership as a whole. • Influence: members feel they can influence and be influenced by the community • Attachment: members share an emotional connection. McMillan and Chavis, 1986 Blanchard and Markus, 2004
    7. Community life cycle Millington R. The Pillar Summit, 2012.
    8. Inception • Focus on growth • Develop relationships with potential members • Nurture an active core group • Foster tone and style The community reaches critical mass when > 50% of growth and activity is generated by members. Millington R. The Pillar Summit, 2012.
    9. Establishment • Focus on activity • Deepen sense of community • Broaden outreach • Create content for and about the community 50 to 90% of growth and activity is generated by members. Millington R. The Pillar Summit, 2012.
    10. Maturity • Focus on scaling the community • Maintain sense of community • Assess and optimize processes • Co-create content and develop collective value More than 90% of growth and activity is generated by members. Millington R. The Pillar Summit, 2012.
    11. Mitosis • Focus on division and expansion • Monitor for subcommunity developments • Consult community • Conceive and establish new community Repeat life cycle process for each new community. Millington R. The Pillar Summit, 2012.
    12. Measure for success Measure: • Growth • Activity • Sense of community In order to: • Grow • Improve • Report value
    13. What is community management? Community Management ≠ Moderation (it’s far more)
    14. Acknowledgements • Wenger et al. Cultivating Communities of Practice, 2002 • Iriberri and Leroy. A Life Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success, 2008 • Richard Millington, The Pillar Summit • Rachel Happe and Jim Storer, The Community Roundtable
    15. @colleen_young @VirtualHopice Thank you