Online Community Management


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Online Community Management

  1. 1. Online Community ManagementJ a s m i n V a l j e v a c , M S c
  2. 2. Content What is online community ? Leading platforms for online communities Positive and negative aspects of online communities What is an online community manager ? Steps to set up online community What makes online community work How to promote online community? What else to keep in mind? What NOT to do while managing online community? Final questions to ask yourself?2
  3. 3. What is online community ? “An online community is a group of people with common interests who use the Internet to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time” Term comes from: Howard Rheingold book : “Virtual community”3
  4. 4. What is online community ?4
  5. 5. Leading platforms for online communities The platform formerly known as Drupal is one of the darlings of the community world One of the few .NET blog platformsPostNuke is now called Zikula and is a and would come first on the list for many in the has evolved into a full-blown fork of PHP-Nuke 5.0. community business. It’s a highly capable, mature, and community product extremely popular community platform Open source, based on PHP, Joomla is one of the Microsoft’s SharePoint is the first commercial most widely used content management systems and product to make the list and is also one of the community platforms most mature and popular The second .NET platform (after SharePoint) and the first open source .NET community platformOne of the older CMS/community platforms, on this list, the capable DotNetNuke has beenPHP-Nuke is still one of the most widely used going through extensive maturation over the last ClearSpace Community from Jive Software has community applications available year been getting a lot of attention lately, particularly with its popularity in the enterprise space The first SaaS community platform to make the list is Lithium, an innovative and fast-growing solution for customer communities that is seeing broad uptake KickApps is a relatively new up-and-comer that is getting wide according to my metrics distribution in a relatively short time period including major5 wins with large public Web sites for ABC and the BBC
  6. 6. Positive and negative aspects of online communities Ability to interact with like-minded individuals instantaneously from anywhere on the globe Negative People: gives people a place to engage with your company, organisation or product Innovation: get feedback on products or ideas from many people Collaboration: work jointly with people toward a common goal Evangelism: help grow support for your cause or product Loyalty: engagement can drive a tremendous amount of loyalty toward your efforts Too much time in virtual communities may have negative repercussions on real- world interactions Positive6
  7. 7. What is an online community manager ? Online community manager role is a growing and developing profession and their are no simple forum moderators, but role models that listen to the community and relay that information to the those who can improve it. Patience Networking Communication Facilitation Technical skills Marketing Self motivation Workaholic tendencies Organizational7
  8. 8. What is an online community manager ? Community managers spend a large amount of time sifting through discussions in the community Facilitatee to make sure that people are getting answers to questions and helping to make sure that the right people are being pulled into conversations As a community manager, I have created various types of content in the form of blog posts, new discussion topics, tweets, videos and more to Content help make sure that the community members have the information that they need to be productive members of the community. Unless you want to have a community of one (or a very small number of people), getting out and Evangelism talking about the community to get people interested is part of the role of community manager Topics of conversation change, software changes, and people change, which all requires changes to your online community. This is the strategic piece Evolution where you get to think about what the community should look like in five years and make changes to the common year unity to make sure that you achieve your goals for the community manager.8
  9. 9. What is an online community manager ? The community owns the community but the manager: Manages the community Owns the infrastructure Facilitates the discussion Moderates and keeps people in check Focus on the individuals: participate as a person Be sincere: sincerety = credibility Not all about you: community is about converssation which is by definition two-way Be part of the community: dont try to control the community Everyone is a peer: you are not the expert, knowlege comes from everywhwere9
  10. 10. Steps to set up online community10
  11. 11. Important things to keep in minds! You must know why your site exists. What benefit does a user derive from participating? Without an underlying goal, its extremely difficult to guide users in constructive ways. Once youve found your goal, stick with it. Exist For a Reason As the leader its your job to attract users. This is the easy part. Making sure the right people stick around is harder. In a healthy community, thats not your job. As a group, your most active users will draw more users than you will. An active user group exudes a sense of community. Users Draw Other Users Community members will continually surprise you, especially if youve never really analyzed an online community before. Theyll also tend to develop some strange characteristics. Users Will Surprise You Regular users will develop a sense of community ownership. As a whole, their content contributions probably outweigh yours. Besides letting community leaders and members perform administrative work, dont forget that the community has a stake in A Sense of Ownership its own future. Youll know you have a healthy community when users comment publicly that "this is the best site Ive ever used. A healthy A Shared History and Culture community also develops a sense of history and in-jokes Barriers Are Mixed Blessings The number of active community members varies inversely with the amount of work necessary for an initial participation. Requiring e-mail confirmation before registering a username prevents users from creating blank account after blank account. The Interface A strong community can overcome technical limitations. Its possible to write a Wiki or a weblog in under a hundred lines of code. Simplicity may appeal to some users. The lack of sophistication (reply notification, searching, revisions, and access controls) may put off some users, and an ugly or awkward user interface may get in the way sometimes, but a community can grow in spite of the mess. Mischief Like any community, your group will have spats and factions and frictions. These must be handled wisely for the community to survive. Plan for trouble, though you cannot tell when or where it will strike. Set simple rules. Make them explicit. Apply them consistently. Discuss the Community Openly Even if you have a legal or moral right to change the structure of the community, you may not have the necessary social capital. Change is difficult. Dont Stop There! Be very clear about your goals and the rules. Manage your expectations about user participation and groups wisely. Allow a little chaos. Use your common sense and best judgment. If theres an audience for your conversation, youll find a community.11
  12. 12. What makes online community work12
  13. 13. How to promote online community (1/2) Incorporate traditional social media: personal blogs, facebook, twitter, audio, video,etc Within new community run a limited beta with people you trust. Get their feedback and let them help promote it to others13
  14. 14. How to promote online community (2/2) Integrate your community into your overall marketing strategy The old saying goes, content is king Social Media - Go for the Viral Effect Ask the community to do the work for you Networking - Get involved Run a competition14
  15. 15. What else to keep in mind?15
  16. 16. What NOT to do while managing online community? Preventing community members from criticizing you. The fear of negative feedback in communities tends to be overblown; fiercely negative comments are atypical; Negative feedback is valuable feedback; better to have it articulated in your own community where you can respond to it then have it only appear elsewhere on the Web. Failing to share with community members the results of feedback and the changes inspired by the community. Where survey respondents typically dont expect to receive detailed summaries of the results, community members are participating in part to learn from their peers. Using the community to try to win sales. Survey researchers have confronted this and banned it: sugging (Selling Under the Guise of research), deemed unethical by standard market research codes of conduct. Dont treat the community as a lead generator for events and programs and sponsorships Starting a community because "everyone is" rather than defining clear goals for your own organization. We encounter this among our prospects more than we would like: organizations that built an online community because it seemed like a good idea, but hadnt put in the effort to plan their objectives and how they were going to achieve them. Failing to devote the time and staff required. Forty-four percent of organizations surveyed by Beeline Labs reported a significant challenge was not finding enough time for their online community. In the initial launch, community management needs to devote time to starting and participating in discussions, Wrath: Punishing community members. Negative behavior in an Internet forum can take many forms, from flamers to troublemakers to pet-project promoters. Over-surveying and over-researching members. Provide a Bill of Rights for community members discussing the restrictions youll honor. For instance, limit surveys to twice a month and limit the length of surveys.16
  17. 17. Trends for the future Bad news Good news Advertising: First, companies are reluctant to The good new is that while many online community sites whither financially, a advertise on pages with "user generated content. number of niches within the online community space are faring very well, Second, users in online communities interact suggesting ten important trends to watch: with advertising less than users of content or transaction parts of sites. Search Communities Subscriber Fees: Online community sites have struggled to generate substantial subscriber Trading Communities income. Users dont want to pay simply to talk Education Communities Mergers and Acquisitions: Many online communities survived through investor largesse Scheduled Events Communities based on the promise that if they grew big enough, they would be acquired based on traffic Subscriber-based Communities metrics alone. Some web entrepreneurs became very rich on this promise. In todays environment, however, essentially no companies are willing to Community Consulting Firms pay to acquire page views or unique users alone. E-mail-based Communities Advocacy Communities CRM Communities M&A Activities17
  18. 18. Final questions to ask yourself? Now, in terms of these online communities,think about real life communities!?!? What if you were able to be an active member of these real-life communities? What if there was an easy way to find and get to know the other members? What if you could have discussions with them easily? What if you could compare notes and use other members as resources? Online Communities provide real-world communities a place to come together the Internet. By being a member of an online community, you using benefit in many of the same ways you would a real world community- its just that you use the Internet. Instead of traveling to a coffee shop or hotel, you meet at a web site Instead of having face-to-face discussion, you post messages to one another Instead of picking a time and place to meet, the community is always-on. Instead of depending on a physical location or resource to keep track of community events and activities, a web site can do it for you.18
  19. 19. Conclusion All-in-all, online communities are about people needing an easier and more accessible way to get together. In business or socially, online communities have the power to create lasting and productive relationships where none existed before. In the future, in many different forms, I believe that online communities will become a greater part of our lives.19
  20. 20. Thank you ! Jasmin Valjevac, MSc20