Starting a brand new community? This topic is for you

(Ryan Knight) #1

Hello there - A little about myself. I’ve worked in Community for about 15 years. Worked on big brands (PayPal, eBay, Yahoo) and startups. Done forum management, direct engagement, communications, feedback programs. One thing I haven’t done is launch a community platform from scratch for a large, existing user base.

I’m now at a large startup that has a big user base that is active on a variety of discussion sites (reddit, stackexchange, quora, smaller forums) and social platforms, and we are hoping to corral some of that activity into a robust community of users who can help each other with basic stuff, provide tips/best practices, give feedback to staff, do testing, etc.

The guys at Discourse were kind enough to point me here when I asked them for some advice on successful launches.

So, what are you working on?
(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hey Ryan,
Great to hear from you. It sounds like you’ve had an interesting career. I’m glad you’re adding your experience to our pool!

Here are a couple of topics that will get you started:

And our massive reading list:

And finally, some connections. These people are currently in the pre-launch/strategy phase:
@lucasmiller3 @amyperrin @aimee_charlton @duncanfield @doctorj

Once you’ve plowed through that lot, feel free to ask questions and give us some context so we can brainstorm answers specific to your situation (which I’m guessing from your profile card is Cloudflare).

(Jason Hill) #3

Good luck @ryanknight24.

We’re building a community of interest from scratch and have found it a fantastic challenge. We’ve been open to all for about six months and have learned a lot.

Looking forward to hearing more about your plans.


(Richard Millington) #4

Welcome @ryanknight24,

I guess the first question would be what’s the purpose of the community?

What are you trying to achieve with it? What is the concept behind the community?

Is this primarily customer support?

(Ryan Knight) #5

@richard_millington It’s a combination. Support is definitely part of it, but we also want a place where people can give us feedback, vote on products, and share best practices/advice with each other.

(Sarah Hawk) #6

What do you see as the primary benefit for them to join your community, assuming they are currently getting their needs met on the other platforms?

(Nikoletta Harrold) #7

Hi @ryanknight24 - was there a specific question you wanted to ask? It’s a big challenge to start any new community, so I was hoping you could tell us what you are most curious about?

(Ryan Knight) #8

self-help and the satisfaction of helping others

(Ryan Knight) #9

Hi @Nikoletta_Harrold - biggest questions would be:

best way to find and entice helpful experts to participate

best way to prevent employee engagement from discouraging user to user engagement (while people can get support help here, we don’t want it to be just be viewed as an alternate channel to reach customer support.

(Sarah Hawk) #10

I was assuming they were already getting those needs met in the other places that they are communicating though – where they already have existing habits. The benefits of pulling them onto your realestate are clear for the business, but I’m curious about what value a move would have for the members.

I’m not meaning to sound negative – but I think this is an important question to have a clear answer for. It will potentially be make or break.

(Nikoletta Harrold) #11

I would build on that. What platforms are these people on and will you move them to this one central spot and shut those down or are these all co-existing? If there is no massive benefit for the user to come to this community, why would they.

Also the places they are on, can you run reports to identify the top contributors? They are your external experts and you should invite them as founding fathers :wink: same internally, go find one champion on each stakeholder team and invite them to pioneer ahead of their peers. Set expectations such as blog post, reply sla’s and engagement program participation alongside some UX feedback

(Sarah Hawk) #12

From the OP:

[quote=“Nikoletta_Harrold, post:11, topic:5500”]
go find one champion on each stakeholder team and invite them to pioneer ahead of their peers
[/quote] Love this. Have you done this before Niki?

(Nikoletta Harrold) #13

Several times. We call it the community content potluck. Shameless plug:

(Ryan Knight) #14

No plan to directly shut down activity elsewhere, but it would probably be impacted. More interested in making it more centralized and efficient for those who need help/advice/tips and those who can offer it. Also hoping to reduce redundancies.

The fact that it’s centralized would be a benefit for everyone (though honestly more for us).

We also plan on offering escalated support access for people that are helpful founders. When people contact our normal support the response is prioritized by plan level. These people would likely get bumped up to a top tier “fastlane”.

Improved awareness and easier access to beta programs, preview features, and SWAG.

(Sarah Hawk) #15

That makes sense.

I’d be keen to hear from @richard_millington on some strategies to get experts to engage.

(Ryan Knight) #16

what say you good sir?