Group Discussions

(Sarah Hawk) #61

Interesting comments Dean. I think the definition is becoming more and more important as companies blur the lines between community and social.

Only 3 years ago I managed a community for a brand that expected me to have the skills to build out social media strategies. Those skills are so disparate – we just need to educate people.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

(Dean Samways) #62

Course Module: How To Start An Online Community / Key Traits Of Successful Communities?

Really agree very strongly with all the points in this lesson.

GiffGaff is a cracking community and it’s hard to believe that something so self-sustaining now was one day the brainchild of a single community expert. A benchmark for us all I guess.

It’s also incredible to think basically an entire company, not just a need to service customers or offer an area for peers to share knowledge, was founded around the idea of a community.


(Dean Samways) #63

Course Module: How To Start An Online Community / Exercise 1: Identify Genuine Communities

In this exercise, students are asked to identify genuine communities (no surprise there given the name of the lesson). Here is my suggestion:

This was a community for video game developers who bought into and used the Marmalade Platform to create their apps. Community members would use the answers forum, blog, social media, customer support and other channels to share their successes, raise issues and share their knowledge about the platform (and so keeping support costs down for Marmalade) making it a healthy, vibrant environment which members found useful in the development of their products.

    In the purest sense of the word, there are no boundaries. Anyone with an interest in video game development or C++ programming, can sign up and contribute to the community. However, the most active, loyal, informed and vital members are those who are Marmalade users; those who have been coding for some time and created at least one title using the technology. With these boundaries of platform knowledge in place, the community is firmly focussed on the technology, its capabilities and flaws, and what can be, and has been, produced with it.

    As above, the common interest is game development, C++ programming and the Marmalade Platform

    Here’s an example of the kind of peer-to-peer discussion that can be found on the Marmalade Answers forum:

(Hottest question on the forum ever: 25 votes, 35 answers, 12.5k views)

Interesting to see that after a period of no engagement (this was before my time as community manager), conversation eventually picks up when the original poster returns to the article to express their surprise at the slow uptake.

I enjoy seeing members happily, and in a positive way, highlighting issues with the new release for the engineer to return to the code and improve it. This knowledge sharing in the comments reflects the importance forming a community around a brand and activity like using third-party technology to build apps.

(Katie Andresen) #64

Course: How to Start an Online Community
Lesson 1, The Basics
Exercise 1: Identify Genuine Communities

HireClub is a group on Facebook where members post about job openings, wanted jobs, and other events and articles relevant to company updates, career advice, etc. Members are united by their desire to hire or find a job and use the community as a resource for networking. There is a high level of engagement and the founders of the group add in suggestions or tag people perhaps relevant when posts are not getting responses. The group also hold in person events across their national and global networks to foster a greater sense of community and help its members find jobs and recruit talent.

(Tiffany Kelly) #65

I have had over 250 members removed from my Facebook “closed” group this week. I have reached out to a handful who have said they did not “leave” my group. Has anyone heard of this happening?

(Rachel McGuigan) #66

Hi there,
Guigs here, and I am taking the Successful Community Management Course.

How are you currently growing your online community?
Currently there are direct referrals in social media and word of mouth in each locale. So far, ideally the community leader, a volunteer is active in promotion of their language as a sub-support community.

What channels are you consciously, or unconsciously using to grow your community’s member base?
Right now, direct messages to users, links to other internal websites on how to get involved, and direct tweets are he only channels that I know of that are promoting the community.

I think that puts us in the Establishment phase, but we miss many opportunities from google search, hence the issue that was mentioned in my last video, where you want to wait until there is alot of established activity before promoting any ‘big launch’ for growth.

(southpaw) #67

Not quite sure if I’m doing the right thing here, posting to a rather old thread. I’m working my way through How to Start an Online Community. The first assignment, Exercise 1: Identify Genuine Communities, points here. I see a couple of older posts on this topic in the thread, and I want to do my assignments… so here goes.
The assignment is to identify a Genuine community - identify the boundaries, find the common interests, and look at a discussion between members.

I looked around a bit and decided that is a Genuine Community.
Boundaries: You have to register. Deals shared must be really great deals (or you’ll be chastised!), so participants must have a keen sense of value and pricing.

Strong Common Interest: Saving money shopping, getting a deal or freebie. They do have lots of subgroups based on shared interests: Grocery, gaming, TV, Computers, finance, home, apparel, tech, etc. These aren’t just ways to organize the deals, but different topics where people have their passion. If you aren’t a tech geek, you’re really not going to understand the specs on a router well enough to determine if $99 or $399 is a good deal.

Discussion between members: I picked one at random:

Member johnny_miller posts a deal.
He joined in 2014 and has posted 712 deals, 6K comments. He has over 6K “reputation points” (a way members can thank one another) and has achieved Level 10 in the Community. That’s pretty good stuff - long term engagement, high level of activity for the member. Those reputation points indicate lots of interaction between members, as you earn rep when people “thank” you for posting a deal.

Just 14 minutes later there is a reply thanking the OP and the member describes what he bought with this deal. This member joined in 2010 and has 241 posts. So, we’re seeing another long-term member with lots of activity, and we see some experience-sharing (what he bought) that was mentioned in the 4th lesson.

Within 6 hours there are 17 replies in the thread.

A day and a half later there are 47 replies and members are helping each other with the return policy, shoe recommendations, comments on whether or not the shoes hold up, and stories about how fast their children go through shoes.

These members know each other, interact, are highly responsive, share experiences. This isn’t just a “Genuine Community” it’s a Successful Community.

(Jan Lenoch) #68

Course: Successful Community Management
Module: How to Grow an Online Community

How are you currently growing your online community? What channels are you consciously, or unconsciously using to grow your community’s member base?

We have a SaaS solution for building web sites that is rather developer-friendly (it does not force them to use end-user graphical interfaces to build sites). We’ve started our forums by publishing articles on basically two topics:

  • Advices on how to deal with most common development tasks that are supposed to be done on the developer’s side
  • Ideation and wishlist for our SaaS (backend) part

Later on, we’ve transitioned to publishing content in our dedicated blog (instead of forums). Nowadays, our forums serve as a support and ideation channel for the free tier of our SaaS service, backed by me and some of my colleagues.

All in all, I personally consider our forums as rather a result of a direct communication made with our developer users (originally started in GitHub, for instance), not as the starting point of our community’s discussions. I’m still not sure whether this is more of a good or bad thing.

What do you guys think?

(Melissa Saunders) #69

Thanks for that - hugely helpful - will give it a go!!

(Michael Johnson) #70

Course: Successful Community Management
Module: How to Grow an Online Community

How are you currently growing your online community? What channels are you consciously, or unconsciously using to grow your community’s member base?

I am managing a newly launched community for a network that has existed for over ten years, so the bulk of the growth is focused on members of the network. Since this is a community of practice, a lot of value is placed on the content that engineering faculty (who make up the community and the network) have produced, so I have been working with individuals to create new content and import legacy content to the new community. Additionally, I’ve been working with different faculty leaders to schedule personalized video training sessions with faculty to introduce them to tools and showcase best practices.

The launch of the community also coincided with our annual national conference, so we did a direct push to get attendees onto the new site. Along with that, the network itself is growing outside of the community, so we are using the community to capture prospects and inform them of who we are and what we are doing. And we have an existing email list of several thousand members who are members of the network and been engaged in various capacities over the years which we are beginning to invite to join the community through monthly email blasts.

We also plan on slowly using social media to attract others, but the primary focus at the inception phase is to bring in existing network faculty members rather than introducing too many outsiders.

One difficulty we are having is communicating the value of forums to engineering faculty members. They are not used to posting or commenting in that capacity, so we are going to have to spend additional time educating them and also inviting them to participate. Any insights about how to engage this type of an audience on forums would be helpful. Thanks!

(Michael Johnson) #71

Course: Successful Community Management
Module: How to Grow an Online Community

What promotional growth tactics have you seen used to promote an online community?

We have sent out promotional emails to a segmented leaders list, which has had mixed success to get more users on the site. I have also be targeted different members off of that list to engage them in direct actions, which has been more well received. We are also in the process of publishing articles with CTAs to join the community for specific reasons in the largest distributed engineering education magazine, so we will see how that goes.

(Michael Johnson) #72

The link on the Community Health Metrics page does not work.

Is there an alternate link to view the sense of community pdf?

(Hilary Jirasek) #73

I’m in the Continue

Successful Community Management class, Section 2 - just finished up Growth Channels. I’m really interested here in seeing this change over time. Its reminding me of the stages of team development (forming, storming, norming, and performing). Anyone else getting that same vibe?

(Hilary Jirasek) #74

In Successful Community Mgmt. - on the In Depth for Direct & Promotional Growth. One think I’ve noticed in my current primary group is the absolute joy and pride members get for adding members. Often when they do - they are really active, so its a fun win to give them a shout out for being super engaged for the past week (and their friend they have invited to the group will see them being highlighted!) I love being able to recognize my community members for being engaged anyways, and this is a bonus I hadn’t initially planned on! But - once a member gets a shout out or two, they definitely invite more of their friends to join!