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Transitioning A Community from Support to Niche Topic


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A presentation for how Square could transition from focusing on a support community to a small business community.

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Transitioning A Community from Support to Niche Topic

  1. 1. Seller Community The
  2. 2. “ We’re here to help sellers of all sizes start, run, and grow their business—and helping them grow their business is good business for everyone. -Square 2
  3. 3. Square provides users with practical resources that help them grow their businesses. 3 The support community is a cornerstone of this effort and has helped thousands of members. Now, it’s time to invest more into users’ success with a community focused on Small Business.
  4. 4. Here’s a 2 Phase Plan For Square’s Small Business Community 4
  5. 5. Phase One: MAKING CHANGES 5
  6. 6. CHANGE FOCUS A niche community will give members a bigger reason to visit the Square community. 6
  7. 7. Transition from support to small business Users will have more to share and discuss in a niche community created around small business. 7 Instead of users only coming to the community when they have an issue with Square, you want them to come often to get the support they need in running a small business. This helps build a deeper relationship with members. To do this several changes need to be made to the community: ▪ Design ▪ Content ▪ Internal Structure ▪ Marketing & Growth
  8. 8. DESIGNThe current homepage is focused on using Square, it should focus on Small Business. 8
  9. 9. Simple changes to the community homepage will encourage users to participate in Small Business discussions. ● Put business forums first - remove the set of 4 boxed-in icons and replace them with icons for business topics: Starting A Business, Increasing Sales, Business Growth, and leave 1 icon for the support forum. ● Ask A Business Question remove the search bar on the page and feature an “Ask A Business Question” section that tells the user what to do to participate. This works as a call to action to encourage posting. ● Combine support forums - most of the topics discussed in these forums are very similar, if they cannot be combined they should be listed all under one link from the single icon mentioned above. ● Curate Active Discussions - using the forum algorithm you should be able to curate the most active/interesting topics to the top of the forum to get more exposure for commenting.
  10. 10. CONTENTCommunities devour content, let’s talk about the content Square can use here. 10
  11. 11. Content Inspires Discussion 1. New Discussion Topics a. From the Team or Members b. Questions, Tool Suggestions, Decision Making, Sales Strategies, Marketing, etc. 2. Expert Contributions a. Contributors Program 3. Linked Content & Discussion a. Articles, Downloads b. Videos, Podcasts, Studies 4. Online Events a. AMA’s & Expert Interviews 5. Local Events 6. Courses/ Programs 11 As members see topics about building and running their businesses they will visit more often and join the discussions.
  12. 12. When content needs a boost, these 6 activities help. Pull From A Content Calendar A content calendar will have several topics or content pieces to share to jumpstart a new discussion. Ask Members to Post A friendly social media post or email asking members to share their theme related questions will bring in several discussions. 12 Outreach to Active Members Individual outreach is one of the best ways to build relationships and encourage participation in the community. Square Content & Videos Downloads and videos are two of the most consumed types of content in communities. Ask The Team To Seed Posts When it’s hard to get the community to comment on a topic, internal support can make all the difference. Industry Leaders Inviting industry leaders or experts to leave their advice for a small business brings a bit of notoriety to the community.
  13. 13. INTERNAL SUPPORT To manage additional community efforts Square needs multiple departments to work together. 13
  14. 14. Community should work with Support, Marketing, Sales, Revenue, Content, and Success. Since Community gets heavy feedback it only makes sense they share it with other teams. Community teams succeed when working with other departments What should be shared? ▪ Feedback ▪ Success Stories ▪ Metrics (for ex: active members/longevity of use) ▪ Social media ideas ▪ Feature requests ▪ Support issues - ideas for improving support 14 How to successfully engage with other departments: ▪ Reach out and build relationships ▪ Take responsibility to follow up regularly ▪ Ask what they are working on that could affect community ▪ Keep them informed
  15. 15. Support for Community Managers Community managers need support, understanding, and leadership to mold the best experience possible in the community. 15 Community management is an enjoyable job that can be highly rewarding but also emotionally draining. A Community Lead needs to move both the team and community towards success. To do this requires empathy, giving feedback, offering career coaching, regular communication, providing future education opportunities, understanding, and recognizing signs of upcoming trouble or burn out. This also includes weekly one on ones, policy guidance, dealing with escalated issues, listening to feedback, and helping when extra work needs to be done.
  16. 16. PROMOTE SHIFT Help the community move on to a new topic. 16
  17. 17. Promote The New Community 17 LaunchNotifyTest New Community Launch Because it will be a big change to the community, and it’s for the better, it’s important to keep users informed about the new community. Once the new community is live, test it by sending some users to check it out. You’ll also want to seed it with topics and conversations that will be easy to join. After some members have given positive feedback, notify all users and have the new homepage turned on.
  18. 18. Phase Two: COMMUNITY GROWTH 18
  19. 19. MARKETING & GROWTH Over time the Small Business community will grow into a healthy and increasingly helpful place. 19
  20. 20. Marketing the community and continuous promotion will help keep it healthy and active. With the Seller Community’s existing members and Square’s existing users there are several marketing options available: Promotional email drip - this would be a great way to roll out the new community. The community will need to be seeded first to make sure there is substantial content before a mass email goes out. Notifications - as a member in the community, they will receive updates and notifications when someone interacts with their content. Social media updates (initially and overtime) - Social updates are a great way to share what is going on in the community. Individual threads, member comments, and upcoming events are all great posts. Square newsletters - as Square sends out regular email newsletters they can include the most active topics in the community. All communities need continuous marketing and promotion. Facebook advertising - another option for getting in front of Small Businesses and showing them the benefits of the community. Partnerships - Experts and influencers who want to contribute to the community are likely to share the community with their followers, making this type of promotion a win-win. 20
  21. 21. A Community Needs 3 Things To Grow With a shift from a user support forum to a small business community, a plan needs to be in place to grow this new community to realize the benefits Square stands to gain. Communities need 3 things, so the focus of this plan should be: ▪ Maintaining a steady stream of new members - via social media, email marketing, word of mouth, exposure, individual outreach and advocates. ▪ New content on a regular basis - fresh content will give the community something new to consume with each visit. ▪ Responses, comments, and possible upvotes all show members that their contribution is appreciated. 21 Content Participation New Members
  22. 22. ESTABLISH METRICS Based on company goals KPIs should be identified and measured to indicate progress. 22
  23. 23. 23 What metrics are important to measure in a new community? 1 NPS - are members happy with the community? 2 Active Users - how many members visit and how often? 3 Activity - are members consuming and commenting? 4 Longevity - how long have members been customers? (watch this over time to identify retention) 5 User’s Sales - are members learning and implementing what they learn in the community? 6 New Square Sign Ups - specifically from the community. 7 Churn Rate - for community members only. 8 New Posts - in community. 9 Member Demographics - to look for trends 10 Participation Ratio - to see how many Square users join. Additional/different metrics would be tracked based on internal discussions.
  24. 24. FEEDBACK & RELATIONSHIPS Square needs to build trust and relationships within the community, feedback helps. 24
  25. 25. In the early stages of community, connect individually with as many members as possible. 25 Understanding your members and users is the pinnacle of being able to build a product and/or community that supports their success. In the early stages of building the community beyond a support forum it will be important to help members see the value in the community. One way to do this is by constantly gathering feedback and initiating changes based on qualitative and quantitative comments. Further, the relationships built within the community will be the foundation for future programs such as advocates, referrals, and word of mouth growth. By connecting with individual members and building relationships you’ll get real feedback that will impact your company in many ways.
  26. 26. ADVOCATESThe most active members are often the biggest advocates. 26
  27. 27. As the community grows, an advocate program gives the most active members the opportunity to be recognized for their contributions in content & growth. 27 The advocate program should include: ● Regular meetings with advocates ● Collecting feedback about their participation in the community ● Hosting a group or event just for them ● Changes they suggest ● Learning their preference for recognition
  28. 28. GOING GLOBAL The Square Small Business Community can help people all over the world. 28
  29. 29. 29 The Square Small Business Community will grow to include users from all over the world. Similar to other Fortune 500 company communities, this initiative will include a growth plan spanning different areas of the world over time. Marketing promotions to Square’s existing users is one way to encourage this growth. Facebook ads, social media, and referral programs will contribute as well. Because of language barriers, it may be easiest to focus on English speaking countries first, then choose additional geographic areas based on Square usage, the area’s small business environment, and spoken languages on the Community team.
  30. 30. LIVE & LOCAL Bring members together like never before, right in their own neighborhoods. 30
  31. 31. Live & local events take a lot of planning, but by building relationships with those local to the event, and starting in populous areas, local events are able to bring an online community together in fun new ways. Square’s Small Business Community will grow to offer live workshops, dinners, and networking events. 31
  32. 32. Thank you very much for your time 32 If you would like to further discuss this document please contact me at any of the following: ▪ ▪ ▪ @marygreencny