Looking for ideas around growing & evolving the community

(Terri Peluso) #1

community.netapp.com – we sit in marketing (in a new org called Customer Lifecycle and Loyalty - still working on our goals and objectives too) but trying not ‘market’ to members. they don’t like it one bit. however, we’ve simplified & cleaned up so much that I’m not sure where to take it next. plus I’m down a person with no way of re-hiring at the moment. we have a new CMO as well. it will all get worked out over time but I don’t want to miss out on opportunities to grow & evolve.

get reactions? sound advice? ideas? inspirational quotes?

please and thank you :slight_smile:


Submit your community for a weekly breakdown
Coming up with a community strategy after three years of procrastinating
Giving the best first impression (through email) after members sign up
(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’ve split this out into a topic of its own so it doesn’t get lost in the noise.

@Terri – happy to help (and great to hear from you – it’s been a while!), but can you elaborate a bit on your current situation?

Do you have a strategy of any kind? Or even an idea of the overarching ROI based (or more general) business goals?


(Terri Peluso) #3

thanks Sarah, we do have a strategy that focuses on CSAT, support savings. Since having been re-org’d the near-term business goals are a bit unknown. I can tell you the customer lifecycle work being done now should provide more insight on a direction. a catch 22 I suppose. What’s the community value vs. what does it need to be. I think I’m just trying to look for a sweet spot the community can fill in the future. probably didn’t answer your question:(


(Sarah Hawk) #4

So for context, the organisation is a software vendor and it is a support community for the products – is that correct?

Why don’t you take a scientific approach? Look at your stats, pick one data point that you’d like to turn around, set a goal and then think about tactical ways to do that.

Are there specific KPIs or targets that are more challenging that others?


(Kate Ambash) #5

Plus one here! I have a support community that I actively want to move BEYOND. I think Richard himself said support isn’t a community but a channel. I don’t want to hijack this conversation, but I feel at one with the author! My manager is onboard with the business objective of 1:1 support. I can show value if I can grow the community. I have a handful of dedicated users (including two mods since launch of new platform a month ago). Posts are low relative to page views and signups. Trying to determine if this community would exist without the product…and I think only for some of the customers (our top five). Oh vey

1 Like

(Nick Emmett) #6

What specifically do you want to grow @Terri? Is it members or have you got plenty of members but low participation?
And how do you want it to evolve? It would be good to understand a bit more about what the As Is state is - How well integrated with the rest of the business are you - in terms of your product teams being engaged? Is your Community built in to your processes such as onboarding new customers.

This can work on a couple of fronts too - look at your community stats and follow @HAWK’s advice but also think of internal business data and goals - perhaps you can influence your NPS score, or improve the number of customers upgrading to the latest version of your software, or reduce the number of cases being submitted to your support team because people are using your Community to network and get the answers themselves first.


(Nikoletta Harrold) #7

HI @kambash and @Terri - I managed 5 support communities (4 of them with EMC - Terri you will know us :slight_smile: )
If i can help with anything, I would love to. Setting goals, roadmap, vision for the community, but it comes down to knowing who your audience is and what they need out of your community. Ask them, poll/ survey about what works, what is missing, what should you drop. The align with business goals and drive it.

I agree with @Nick_Emmett - what is it that you want to grow? Your engagement, your audience number? what platform are you on?

Give us more insight please.

1 Like

(Terri Peluso) #8

wow thanks for all the interest! using Lithium and we like it. Part of the challenge is more of an opportunity. we are looking at the changing landscape internally - it’s all good – but as Support org shifts, so does the community purpose. yes, growth is important but really it’s creating satisfaction for members (customers). Our new CMO will start to shape direction so I’m confident direction will start getting more clear (you of all people will know how leadership change presents challenges). good points about asking community members directly.


  1. what feedback or what kind of questions would uncover needs - we know things like search and having SMEs in their are key.

  2. how would you close the loop with the feedback? not everything will be accepted, and accepted changes may take a while to implement. We have a very small team so we have to pick and choose the things we put out there.

  3. does anyone know of good examples of being transparent without over promising or annoying members?

thanks for any and all thoughts.


(Richard Millington) #9

Hey @Terri

I think everything here is pretty much accurate. The danger here is searching for ideas (tactics) instead of taking a very strategic approach to this.

If the goal is to increase customer satisfaction (which is a great goal), then I’d begin by having newcomers and existing members take different CSAT surveys today so you have a baseline to work with.

Then I’d suggest making assumptions about what specific behavior members would need to take to feel a greater sense of satisfaction.

If the goal is call deflection, then this goes down a different path entirely).

Use yourself as a case study. What makes you feel a greater sense of customer satisfaction with any of the companies you buy from?

It might include things like:

  • Asking questions and receiving a quick, respectful, reply from someone that sounded like a real human being.
  • Being able to give my feedback on the company’s products or services.
  • Reading information that would help me get more out of the product.
  • Surprises bonuses I didn’t expect.

This leads into some pretty clear actions (and this is just an example).

  • You want members to ask more questions.
  • You want to reply quicker and better to those questions.
  • You want to solicit opinions of customers.
  • You want to create a place where experts in the products can share tips.
  • You want to turn those tips into easily digestible content.
  • You want to find surprise benefits to loyal customers.

Now I’d focus on these really specific things.

If you want to know how to get members to ask more questions. Ask those who do ask questions why they do it and how they feel about it. Change the messaging/reward system to accommodate those answer. You can work through each behavior in time to drive more of it.

This makes sure everything is clearly aligned with the goal of the community. It means you’re not searching for tactics that may not help you get closer to the goal.

Feel free to drop us a line if you like (richard@feverbee.com).


(Anton) #10

Various contests helped us to grow a little. You’ll have to experiment and find one that gets most excitement, and then close all the pthers to let people focus their efforts there.

The goal achievement might be a badge - this will also promote your badge system among other goals.


(Sarah Hawk) #11

I can probably dig some up. Are you talking about platform changes or organisational changes?


(Nikoletta Harrold) #12

@Terri - we did surveys/ polls on the community and on social media (through survey monkey) for two specific things:

  1. What topics would you like to see more information on (give them your top 5 trending topics and an open field for other
  2. what format/ medium would you like to see it in? (pdf, video, podcast, infographic etc…)

Write a blog to say this is your new initiative, you will survey once a quarter and escalate feedback to content creators or xyz team that the topic is relevant too. That way you did not promise them to create it, but that you have heard them and will represent the community internally.

On our community documentation was poor, so i also set up a quarterly AMA with our info dev team, and believe me those guys took the feedback seriously when they had to answer the questions and were involved in to the convo, not just given a list of questions.

another company I worked for did an annual satisfaction survey and had a section on community specifically… that always helped.

hope these anecdotes inspire you for your new challenge.


(Terri Peluso) #13

These are great ideas. Thank you so much. I’ll let you know how we approach . Would love to get feedback on it.

1 Like

(Sarah Hawk) #14

Please do. It would be great to close the loop.


(Terri Peluso) #15

just a very small update – my path forward includes using a customer life-cycle lens and re-defining what building community means for the company. something like this http://www.brainshark.com/siriusdecisions/DevelopingtheCustomerCommunity.

as part of research, I will engage specific members, ~5-7, employees and non-employees, to nail down personas & validate along the way. Revised marketing goals are in play which will help me re-shape the community goals (new CMO seems to really understand community value). We are heading into planning for upcoming fiscal year so got to get moving to ensure resources ($$).