8 Habits of Highly Effective Online Community Managers
This presentation is from the ASAE Technology Conference in 2012 (#tech12). Learn from the top minds of online communities and social business on what community management means for associations. Learn why it matters and its role is in the online community lifecycle. Understand what to expect from an online community manager, how to invite community managers to the leadership table and how to measure success. Leave this session with 8 effective practices to successfully plan, launch and grow successful private online member communities. Contact the presenters at:
Maggie McGary (@maggielmcg) www.asha.org
Jim Storer (@JimStorer) www.community-roundtable.com
Josh Paul (@Joshua_D_Paul) www.socious.com
15 minute: intro and overview (each shares perspectives on why online community management matters to associations)40 minute: panel discussion (Each person goes over their habits – Josh facilitates with pre-planned questions and asks for examples, if not mentioned in overview of the habit.20 minute: audience questions and bufferWhy are we qualified?
Get to know audienceWho has a private member community?Who works for an organization that only builds community on public social networks?How many of your organization have an online community manager?Who is an online community manager?IntroJosh Paul, SociousEach year we help dozens of associations and other membership orgaizations create successful private online communities.Large provider of education to association about creating online communities that members love and that actually help you meet organizational goals. – blog, video series, ebooks, and webinarsWhy it matters?Community does not happen for community sake – I have a LinkedIn group with 20,000 membersPeople participate in communities for a reasonStrong community = strong organizationEveryone is responsible for the success of the communityCommunity does not happen without community managers – end debate nowJoshMaggieJim14% 45%40% -
The Social Mind - 40% of professionals online time is spend in peer-to-peer online communities. Think about your time online. 40% of your members online time is spend engaging in online communities. This presents both a significant opportunity and threat for associations.We hear from for-profit organization everyday that want to create their industry’s online community, hub – they have the focus, funds, and tools to do it.69% More Associations Saw Member Engagement Increase if They had a Private Online Community
Associations have a choice.You have control – has to do with the platform and strategy, but also your community management plan
Lead: Maggieif you want your community to thrive you have to dedicate resources to community management in some fashion--A Community platform (software) is not a community; you need a community manager if you want your community to thrive.--Identify your supporters, help them help you succeed. Grant them beta access and let them help you build it right from the beginning.--Reward them for sharing—offer rewards and recognition for participation—badges, spotlights, perks, beta access, discounts, etc.--Set broad structure but then let community dictate conversations—let them start discussions and go with it, rather than trying to control convo. What’s important to org might not be what they’re interested in.--Don’t ignore problems—address immediately even if you don’t have an answer. Yes, monitoring is time-consuming, but necessary. Nothing makes people feel less at home in your community than radio silence from org if there are questions, comments and complaints. If you don’t care, how do you expect them to care?
Know not only what’s happening in your community, but other communities where your members or potential members are—what’s happening there? What do those communities offer that yours doesn’t? Why? And how can you bring those interactions back to your home base?
Lead: Maggie--Content and programming are vital to the success of an online community. cross-promote/cross-purpose content--weave community stuff into other communications--email, pubs, etc. Examples: articles about community launch in magazine; highlights of conversations in newsletters; weekly email featuring hot conversations and members looking for help--Plan content and programming for a community based on the kind of interaction you’d like to see from community members. Have volunteer leaders do live chats, ask for feedback, designate point-people for “hosting” community for x period of time—make members feel welcome and that community provides valuable resources and relationships so they’ll want to keep coming back.--Figure out what percentage of the content should be formal or association-driven versus community-created. Balance is important—too little org content=lost opportunity, possible ghost-town; too much org content, feels like “your” space not theirs and they may go elsewhere. Share what’s useful and important to them, not to you.
CR example; Leader articles; cross promotion across social channels; LeaderPosted
Lead: Maggiehave rules but remember there are tons of places people can socialize online so if you want those interactions on your turf you have to be hospitableHave rules—define expected culture through rules. E.g. no selling, no job postings, no salary talk. Make consequences clear and follow through quickly--Articulate and plan for risks but remember that risks make things fun and worthwhile. “What if?” worries from management are usually unfounded—online community is online version of what your members already share in person/in other formats. Allowing members to have a place to talk about professional issues in a safe, professional space is a great member benefit. --Define constituent groups for whom you are responsible—legally and ethically-and what will harm them. For associations, antitrust is a big one, also HIPPA, etc. Think about benefits of making community public vs. risk you may be putting members in by making public. Safe space for delicate conversations is a great member benefit.
have rules but remember there are tons of places people can socialize online so if you want those interactions on your turf you have to be hospitable. You can’t dictate that members socialize on your turf, but you can try to make it so great and valuable that they want to be there. Know where they socialize online and what the culture of those communities are, then tailor your community. E.g. do they complain about Linkedin groups being to spammy? Emphasize that your community is a no-sell zone. Facebook groups are engaging, but could change on a dime—define the risks of professional conversations on public platforms and emphasize security of your platform.
Lead: JoshWe could talk about the progression from consumer tools to enterprise tools and how they will be integrated throughout your organization as you community evolves.We are going to get into what community management teams need to know about tools to achieve a successful and sustainable community.Helps you evaluate the right platform for your community at this point in your organization.PublicPrivate
discussion forums- THE most used features across all of our sites are the discussion forums. Enable members to ask questions and get answers from their peers in real time. Then capture that sharing and make it easily available for members that have that same question to find it in the future through easy searching. Over time, by members helping each other, they are building a valuable member benefit to keep the members you have and attract the new members you want.
Communities enable you site to be a one stop shop. Community pages give your chapters, committees and Boards a private place to share and collaborate using all of the functionality of the site. These pages are security controlled so only the right members see the right information. Now members can go to one site, with one login and see their general member information, chapter and committee information quickly and easily.
Blogs- Within the ranks of every membership are experts. Give these experts a free membership to write a weekly or monthly blog. Even if you have to pay them for their content, the additional membership dues and engagement will far offset their costs.There are certainly other features you can incorporate into your site, webinars, badging, wikis, events and more. But the ones listed are the most frequently implemented features that provide value and engagement.
Our sites have reminder emails much like on LinkedIn and Facebook to alert users to new content or posted words or phrases they are interested in. Repetition of the value your site offers that is specific to members’ interests is always a great way to get people engaged. In addition, there has been a lot of talk about doing away with listservs. We completely disagree based on the engagement numbers we see. Our forums have listservs synchronized with them. Socious sites average 45% annual membership participation on our sites, when according to Marketing general the industry average is only 14%. Since having a discussion with peers is one of the most heavily used features, the listservs enable members to communicate directly form their email never having to log in. Listservs are also a great marketing tool to get the word out about the other features members have available to them in the community.
The next value feature is a file library. It is the second largest feature used on all of our sites. By enabling this valuable resource. Members can minimize costs, share best practices and help insure they keep coming back year after year.
Your community over time will become a valuable resource of people and content. Make finding those people and the content they share easy through consolidated searching functionality. It is great to have the information shared, it is a differentiator for your organization for that information to be found quickly and easily by members.
In addition to content management, mention others that we are not going to cover, like the advocacy center and the online store too.
GamificationContests rewarding community members who contribute the mostMember loyalty programs to recognize active customers or membersAwards to employees who answer the most customer questionsRe-engagement campaigns that reach out to at-risk members or customersEvent and conference-related promotionsFile-driven competitions to increase the value of your file and media librariesLeader boards highlighting the most active and helpful partners or vendorsSo the value features are features your members NEED to come back to the site for, because it is valuable information to them. Now, we will discuss Engaging Features, which are the features that your members want to come back to see because they find them interesting. People love to look at pictures. Have members upload their favorite pictures from the latest conference to a central picture library on the site. Have a contest for the most exciting/boring/interesting cubicle or office environment and have members vote. People are fascinated with ‘people watching’ and it makes for some great content people come back for.
Survey- As a collective group, your members have a lot of information. Launch a survey that members would want to know the answers to. Make the results available to those that participate. Surveys, and the information they generate,are a valuable tool for members to benchmark themselves against each other and the industry.
CMs should identify weaknesses and fight for your tools
Lead: JoshHow many of you are involved in live private online communities at your organization?How can tell me how many times people logged in last month? That tell us how many people logged in last month.Now, was you login to action ratio higher or lower in November than it was in October?
One dimensional. 1000 login last month and 1500 login the mnth before. Why? More visits, more contributions?Does not tell a story. Tell you what happened, but not why? VisitPage viewLoginRegistrationPostCommentClick pathEvent registrationProfileTime in communityTime on pageEntry pageExit pagePurchasesFind out why things are happening - Narrow the possibilities of what might be happeningSee if what you are doing is workingPrevent rework and going down the wrong path – making decisions based on bad conclusionsFix leaks in your member or customer engagement flowCombo of standard web analtics and online community analtics toolsOften tracking ratios and often tracking over time
Measure the right thinFind out why things are happening - Narrow the possibilities of what might be happeningSee if what you are doing is workingPrevent rework and going down the wrong path – making decisions based on bad conclusionsFix leaks in your member or customer engagement flowCombo of standard web analtics and online community analtics toolsOften tracking ratios and often tracking over timegs
Visit to New Registration Ratio - This ratio measures the ability of your marketing messages and website to recruit and convert people who visit your website into online community members.Visit to Login Ratio - Are increases in members accessing your online community a result of more members finding value in your community and returning, or just an overall increase in website visitors?Login to Post & Comment Ratio - This ratio indicates whether or not your organization’s online community is seeing an increase in contributions by members.Post to Comment Ratio - This metric determines if the content being produced in the community is driving engagement.Login to Action Ratio - By comparing activity with logins, you have a ratio that pinpoints the effectiveness of your community-building tactics inside your community. If you measure activity alone, you don’t know if you are seeing an increase due to better engagement tactics inside your community or a general increase in members visiting your community.Members to Completed Profile Ratio - This ratio gives you an idea of how committed your target audience is to the community.Also Tells which members are more or less engaged
8 Habits of Highly Effective Online Community Managers
8 Habits of Highly Effective OnlineCommunity Managers December 6, 2012 H u b Ta g : # t e c h 1 2 L M 3 Maggie McGary Joshua Paul Jim Storer
Who We AreMission: Advancing the Business of Community Services1. Champion: Advocate for the needs of community • TheCR Network business owners • TheCR Focus2. Educate: Provide support and resources for • TheCR Advisory community & social business leaders • TheCR Research3. Curate: Aggregate, document, and share community • Community Management management best practices TrainingMember Organizations Leadership Team Rachel Happe Principal and Co-Founder @rhappe Jim Storer Principal and Co-Founder @jimstorer
Why Does Community Management Matter? 1. If you build it, will they come? Note: According to ourresearch, organizations with community managers are twice aslikely to have an open, sharing culture.
Why Does Community Management Matter? 2. Highly effective communitiesdepend on an activecommunity manager behind the scenes.
Strategy: OK, let’s get this out of the way…On its own, Facebook is not a viable, long term community strategy for your organization. Yo u m u s t d i v e r s i f y.
Strategy: Find your community sweet spotYo u r “ s w e e t s p o t ” for community isat the intersection of your organization’s goals and your target member ’sneeds & interests. http://www.healthyfoodfight.com/
Strategy: Do a deep dive member persona analysis Yo u c a n n e v e rspend too much time getting know your members.
Strategy: Just get started Don’t over- strategize... Communities take time tob u i l d a n d g r o w.Once you have a plan, go!
Habit #1: Become obsessive about knowing what makes your members tick.
Leadership: We’re moving from controlling…1. Closely aligned with organizational roles and a u t h o r i t y.2. Limits individuals to discrete sets of responsibilities.3. Creates a culture of individual turf and “ownership.” Image from Dave Gray, The Connected Company.
…to emergent leadership.1. Leadership is earned.2. Emergent leaders self- assign responsibilities and tasks.3. Emergent leaders: • Freely share value • Encourage, recognize and reward others • Partner for shared wins • Model behavior Image from Dave Gray, The Connected Company.
Jeff Schick: Example of an emergent leader VP of Social Software at IBM Writes daily blog posts based on a content template. Three benefits: 1. Aligns team and priorities 2. Enables serendipity 3. Increases empathy and respect
WL Gore: Example of an emergent company Goal: Products are designed to be the highest quality in their class and revolutionary in their effect. 1. Simple governance: no traditional organizational charts, no chains of command, nor predetermined channels of communication. 2. Push decision-making and responsibility to individual agents (associates) 3. Focus on vetting new agents in the system rather than measuring/fixing outputs Results: $3B in annual sales
Habit #2: View social as a natural extension of what you already do offline. Via E2 Conference on Flickr
Culture: …is a shared set of attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an organization. Via http://gapingvoid.com/
Metrics & Measurement:Measuring the Right Things
Examples of Metrics• Visit to Login Ratio• Login to Post & Comment Ratio• Post to Comment Ratio• Login to Action Ratio• Members to Completed Profile Ratio
Habit #8:Measure the Right Things and MakeAdjustments Often.
Takeaways1. Become obsessive about knowing what makes your members tick.2. View social as a natural extension of what you already do offline.3. Shift from a “transaction” to a “relationship” based mindset.
Takeaways4. Continuously Advocate to Have Resources Dedicated To Community Management.5. Weave Community Stuff Into Other Communications.6. Be Hospitable to Members’ Online Preferences.
Takeaways7. Balance Tools that Create Value and Tools that Create Engagement.8. Measure the Right Things and Make Adjustments Often.
Questions• Maggie McGary (@maggielmcg) www.asha.org• Jim Storer (@JimStorer) www.community-roundtable.com• Josh Paul (@Joshua_D_Paul) www.socious.com