Training Members to be Great


(Francis Wade) #1

Anyone ever put together a “Guide for Members to Make the Most of Your Community?”

I’m interested because I am pulling together a training for future members of CaribHRForum Community (my online forum). It’s intended to teach them how to be a great participant in any online professional community.

Here in the Caribbean, my hypothesis is that we face some cultural barriers which prevent professionals from taking the steps required to show up in these spaces effectively. You probably don’t have this particular challenge, but I think it’s generally optimistic to pull strangers into an online forum and expect them to adapt the individual best practices/habits which lead to a strong overall community.

The reason I’m reaching out is that I have defined a number of behaviors which apply to every professional online community I have ever joined. Perhaps if you know someone who has already done this, I could just piggy-back on prior work!

Or, if you have given these behaviors some thought and written a few ideas, maybe we could share our progress so far?

(Richard Millington) #2

Hi @fwade

This isn’t very helpful I’m afraid. I do remember writing one a few years ago. Can’t for the life of me figure out the right search terms to find it though. Sorry!

If you search around it might appear.

(Mark Williams) #3

At a previous employer, we wrote one but then through a process that’s too long to go into, it was rolled into our terms. You can read through and take a look at the Submissions section. It incorporates some of the ideas from that document.

BTW: I think this is a great idea if your hypothesis is correct. Any idea how you test it?

(Matt Mecham) #4

I have nothing specific to share.

In my experience any such guide should focus on the positive behaviour you want.

I’ve seen so many communities where the first interaction is an angry page full of “DO NOT DO THIS” rules which makes it feel like you’re about to get patted down before visiting a high security institution.

What does your current on boarding process look like? Do you do any “handholding” to make people comfortable with the platform?

(Francis Wade) #5

I still do have a set of Community Guidelines which are traditional. They can always be found and I reference them in the Welcome Pack.

My pipeline is as follows:

1] receive email with login instructions
2] read above email with pictures of the pages they’ll be seeing, plus a link at the bottom. I also suggest a series of steps to follow plus the time required:

  • login to create account (5 min)
  • answer the icebreaker question (1 min)
  • look for people they might know (2 min)
  • find a topic they are interested in and answer a question within it (10 minutes)
  • take the Great Professional Community Member training (3 sessions). I pitch it as an opportunity to make the most of this (and any other professional network). A time-saver, and a way to prevent time-wasting

As is true for any onboarding pipeline, people get stuck at the points 1a , 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d.

Along the way I have myself and Moderators “liking” and responding to comments liberally, plus welcoming new members - that’s routine.

I am also intervening at each point by encouraging people to take the next step. Tomorrow I am doing the first of three Facebook Live Videos to introduce people to the Great Member training. I am hoping that those who attend (and may see it in the future) will end up taking the full training. It’s free, but takes three sessions - each of which would probably take someone a half hour.

You are right to ask - it focuses on the specific behaviors people should take as their engagement deepens and why they should take a risk to try each of them. The idea of slightly exceeding one’s comfort zone is built into each action I suggest.

These include:

  • creating your bio
  • following your friends
  • interacting with plls, quizzes, surveys
  • Turning account maintenance and regular visits into a habit
  • Commenting
  • Completing conversations
  • Asking for information / Answering information
  • Making requests or promises
  • Disclosing personal information
  • Inviting outsiders to join

As you may imagine, this is a work in progress. I’m trying to gamify each of the actions above.

So, I am wide open for insights or assistance.

(Francis Wade) #6

To test the hypothesis, I could spit my participants into two and treat them differently.

I don’t have enough volume to take that particular chance… but I can track those who take the training versus those who don’t and see how their engagement varies.

(Francis Wade) #7

FYI, I recorded three Facebook Lives to summarize the training - How to Become a Great Online Professional Community Member. I am sharing these with the Beta Testers and have included it in the training. I offered it on three consecutive nights.

People are picking up the language a bit - and appreciating the point of view.