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Online Community Training


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Training for people creating new online communities. It includes guiding principles for participation, planning and getting started, creating and maintaining a content roadmap, and online community management.

Published in: Technology

Online Community Training

  1. 1. Online Community Training Dawn Foster Fast Wonder Consulting 03/26/09 1
  2. 2. Agenda Introduction and Guiding Principles ● Planning and Getting Started ● Content Roadmaps ● Online Community Management ● Summary ● 03/26/09 2
  3. 3. Communities are Different Websites can be created and left alone ● Online communities require constant attention ● and management Websites with few visitors look the same as a ● website with many visitors Online communities with no participation fail ● publicly 03/26/09 3
  4. 4. Why Have an Online Community People: gives people a place to engage with ● your organization Innovation: get ideas and feedback ● Collaboration: work jointly with people ● toward a common goal Evangelism: help you grow evangelists for ● your efforts Loyalty: engagement can drive a ● tremendous amount of loyalty toward your efforts 03/26/09 4
  5. 5. Guiding Principles: It's All About the People Focus on the individuals: Participate as a ● person, not a corporate entity Be Sincere: Sincerity = believability & credibility ● Not all about you: Community is about ● conversation, which is by definition two-way Be a Part of the Community: Don't try to control ● the community Everyone’s a Peer: You are not the expert; ● knowledge comes from everywhere 03/26/09 5
  6. 6. Play Nice quot;I'm the Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. NOW...thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground, there's not enough Truffula Fruit to go 'round. Translation: And my poor Bar-bar-loots are Play Nice: Be polite and all getting the crummies respectful in your because they have gas, and no interactions with other food in their tummies!quot; members 03/26/09 6
  7. 7. What Makes a Community Work? Open, inclusive and transparent ● An organization who listens (to good and bad) ● Actively engaged in the community ● Encouraging new members ● Making it easy for people to participate ● Integration into other relevant areas of the ● site Responding to criticism rather than deleting ● constructively critical comments 03/26/09 7
  8. 8. Barriers to Community Community is lip service, not a serious ● endeavor Pushing messages takes precedence over ● 2-way collaboration Community software / configuration / ● policies that get in the way of collaboration Neglected communities where no one in ● the organization monitors or responds Stale content and lack of participation ● 03/26/09 8
  9. 9. Planning and Getting Started Objectives ● Functionality ● Structure ● Seeding Content and Beta Period ● Example Communities ● 03/26/09 9
  10. 10. Planning and Objectives What is your overall strategy and how does ● the community fit with it? What do you hope to accomplish and what ● are your goals for the community? What are your plans for achieving your ● goals and how will you measure it? Do you need to build new or can you join an ● existing community? Do you have the resources (people & $) to ● maintain it long-term? Spend as much time as you need in this step If you can't answer these questions, a community might not be the best choice. 03/26/09 10
  11. 11. The Right Functionality Not every project needs to be an online ● community Not every community needs the same ● functionality Match functionality to your requirements ● Do you need discussions or just a blog? – Do you need wiki documents? – Do you need something new? – 03/26/09 11
  12. 12. Appropriate Structure Start with as few topic categories as possible ● Discussions spread across many categories ● look sparse Discussions spread across a couple of ● categories make the community look more active Add new topic areas when you need them ● 03/26/09 12
  13. 13. Seeding Content is Important You never want to launch a community without ● content. Few people want to be the first to participate in ● an empty community People will also use the existing content as a ● model for how they should participate. All community functions should have some ● content: blog posts, discussions, resources, wiki pages, etc. 03/26/09 13
  14. 14. Seeding Content and Beta Period Timing: 1-2 weeks prior to announcement ● Seed the community with at least 5 pieces of ● content in each area (discussions, wiki, blog) Invite a dozen people from outside of the ● organization to join. Pick people with a passion for the topic who will participate Ask them to participate by responding ● (discussions, blog posts) and creating new content (new discussion topics, wiki pages) 03/26/09 14
  15. 15. Promotion Use existing promotional vehicles to reach ● your audience (email, webinars, newsletters, customer lists, etc.) Encourage people from beta phase to help ● promote it to others Augment traditional community efforts with ● social media where appropriate (other blogs, audio, video, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Incentivize people to join & participate ● 03/26/09 15
  16. 16. Example Communities – Good and Bad No community is perfect ● Flickr ● PC World ● Navy for Moms ● Clearstep ● 03/26/09 16
  17. 17. No Community is Perfect Every community has strengths and weaknesses ● Things will go wrong ● People are human and will make mistakes – Your community software, like all software, will have bugs – Someone will get defensive or irate – Companies have PR nightmares (Intel Pentium floating point) – In great communities, the company responds ● effectively Addresses the issue and works to resolve it quickly – Keeps the focus on summarizing and fixing, instead of blaming and – justifying Maintains open communication channels – 03/26/09 17
  18. 18. Flickr: Community Done Well Clear and simple guidelines (ex. Don’t be ● creepy. You know the guy. Don't be that guy.) Easy to use and intuitive to participate ● (comments, favorites, tags, notes) Transparency about people (profile, favorites, ● groups, etc.) Private, public ● Little things: Comments you've made ● 03/26/09 18
  19. 19. PC World Community ● Good ● Plenty of activity – Good content – Focus on members – Questions answered quickly by other community – members Improvement ● Too many subcommunities; some with little activity – Sometimes slow to identify and remove spam – 03/26/09 19
  20. 20. Navy for Moms ● Good ● Active – Filling a need – Community answers each other's questions – Good use of all features (video, blogs, photos, etc.) – Good use of guidelines – Bad ● Too many communities: some with little activity – Cluttered interface / hard to find content (Ning) – 03/26/09 20
  21. 21. Clearstep ● Good ● Small number of subcommunities – Active community – Good information – Bad ● Too much company participation, not enough members – Difficult to navigate – Huge banner pushing content down the page – 03/26/09 21
  22. 22. Content Roadmap Process ● Overview ● Content Types ● Example Format ● 03/26/09 22
  23. 23. Content Roadmap Process Rolling one month plan ● Community manager puts the roadmap together ● and works with people on assignments and due dates Everyone provides suggestions for content ● Community manager reviews it weekly, makes ● adjustments, and plans an additional week Content roadmap is not set in stone: ● If a great idea comes to you, just write it! – Adjustments and substitutions are OK. – 03/26/09 23
  24. 24. Content Roadmap Overview 1-3 posts per week in each area: ● Blog posts – Discussion threads – Resources – Wiki pages – etc. – Written by a variety of people with expertise ● Covering a variety of topics – usually pick 3-4 ● topic areas and make sure that you stay focused and cover all of those 3-4 key topics each week 03/26/09 24
  25. 25. Content Types Stimulate Discussion ● Blog posts and discussion topics should focus on – engaging people in discussion and debate or encouraging them to share information Thought Leadership is Important (Blogs) ● Thought leadership posts are interesting to others in – your industry and to people who are not members They should by interesting, thoughtful, analytical, and – forward looking. Inform ● Resources, web page updates, and wiki pages – 03/26/09 25
  26. 26. Example Format Apparel Inc Due Person Category Type Topic Jan 03 Joe Helping Blog Eco Friendly Approaches to Manufacturing Jan 04 Jim Product Discussion Help us improve our shoes Jan 05 Beth Helping Blog Partnership with non-profit Jan 06 Sally In the field Blog Customer showcase: Joe Climbs a Mountain Jan 07 Jane Helping Discussion Share your stories about giving back to a good cause Jan 08 Tim Product Document New product line brochure Jan 09 Ben Product Blog Environmentally friendly new product line Jan 10 Jill In the field Document Case Study of Distribution Partner 03/26/09 26
  27. 27. Community Management Participant Motivation ● Responsibilities and Skills ● Dealing with Difficulties ● 03/26/09 27
  28. 28. Why Do People Participate? Status & Social Fun Recognition Passion Financial Work Career Develop Learning Advancement Skills Motivation is complex (multiple influences) ● If people aren't motivated, they won't participate ● Promotion must take motivation into account ● 03/26/09 28
  29. 29. Community Managers Responsibilities Skills Welcome Wagon Patience – – Ongoing Facilitation Networking – – Content Management Communication – – Evangelism Facilitation – – Community Evolution Technical Skills – – Marketing – Self-Motivation – Workaholic Tendencies – Organization – 03/26/09 29
  30. 30. Dealing with the Difficult Negative Comments: Do not delete negative ● feedback. Respond constructively Spammers: Put aggressive measures in ● place to deal with spam Trolls: Don't feed the trolls. They want ● attention. Resist the urge to give it to them Highly Critical: Put them to work if possible ● Bad Behavior: Clear guidelines allow you to ● delete content that is sexist, racist, hateful, etc. 03/26/09 30
  31. 31. Make it Fun Why do you sit there like that? I know it is wet. And the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of good fun that is funny! I know some good games we could play. I know some new tricks. I will show them to you. Your mother will not mind at Translation: all if I do. Have fun! Lighten it up occasionally! 03/26/09 31
  32. 32. Q&A Additional Resources: ● ● ● ● ● About Dawn: Online Community Consultant ● More Info: ● ● @geekygirldawn on Twitter ● 03/26/09 32