What would help you build a more successful community today?


(Isabel Rodriguez Lopez) #42

Hi! I’m totally new to the field. My expertise mostly comes from working directly with educators and students – in-person. I’ve done a lot on teaching strategies, leadership development, and building safe/courageous conversation space for meaningful and productive dialogue.

I’m currently trying to learn as much as I possibly can about community management – especially online as we are launching an online platform for our students to engage with each other (locally, regionally, nationally).

Any helpful links, courses, conferences I should attend as a newbie would be much appreciated!

(Sarah Hawk) #43

Where are you based? There are a couple of good ones coming up.

(Darren Gough) #44

Have you done the FeverBee ones?

(Isabel Rodriguez Lopez) #45

That would help! I am currently in NC. I travel to Memphis, TN and Boston for work though. So, if it’s pertinent enough, I’m sure I can make a case to my supervisor :slight_smile:

(Isabel Rodriguez Lopez) #46

Not yet! But I get that I should…:sweat_smile:

(Anna Keenan) #47

I’m currently doing a bit of a discovery/consultation process within my org to figure out our community conceptualization… and one of the challenges we have to answer is whether it makes more sense to have one single global community space, or many regional community spaces. It is a community of action/practice in community organizing, for an advocacy organization on climate change.

Does anyone have advice to offer?

In a global space, we’d have the advantage of having me as a single community manager, and the excitement of sharing knowledge across boundaries… but we would be limited to people who speak english only (often as a second language) and I’d be worried that the space becomes dominated with people from the anglo world (Australia, US, Canada, UK…), which might mean that non-anglophone folks drop out. Also, because of the different political contexts between, say, Germany and Indonesia, people mightn’t be so easily able to connect with each other and share meaningful advice.

The alternative, supporting a set of regional communities, would mean that my role is less about managing a community myself, and more about training a set of our regional staff to do so. So the process of getting communities going would be slower, and there would be more of a risk that those regional staff get pulled away from the communities into other local advocacy work, rather than having people dedicated to just managing the community alone. But advantages include more of a shared identity and purpose within the community, and all information being available in their local language. We just might miss opportunities for sharing the best content across regional boundaries.

Such a hard decision! I’m consulting a lot on this question within our organization, but wanted to ask here as well in case other community managers had input or advice to share!

(Sarah Hawk) #48

https://cmxhub.com/summit/ is one of the biggest general community conferences around. It’s in Portland this year.

(Kate Lindemans) #49

Hi everyone. Talk London is City Hall’s online community, so quite a particular community. People join to take part in discussions or surveys, and their contributions help shape policy making. Like every community manager, I’d love to grow the community and hear from more people, but at the same time retain and nurture the community as well.

@richard_millington, your e-mail inspired my question (no, not the bullet ants :slight_smile:) … but, what’s the best way to convert lurkers?


(Isabel Rodriguez Lopez) #50

thanks! It’s a done deal now. I’ll be there in October!

(Dianna Helka) #51

I’m the community manager for a members-only community for individuals who are involved in manufacturing. My major issue right now is proving the value of the community based on engagement. Many feel that switching to LinkedIn or Facebook would be a better alternative because they’re free and what most consider the go-to social platforms.

Has anyone else faced those types of issues before, and if so, how did you overcome the negative perceptions and engagement vs. ROI questions? Thank you!

(Oren Kesler) #54

The thing that would help me the most would be the ability to overcome the language gap. I’m running several international communities, and while the main language used is English, there are many participants who are worried about expressing themselves.

(Jessica Why) #55

I’m the new community admin at my company. I have to take the reigns now in cultivating an engaged user base, but because

-I’m new

  • the product is very technical
  • I’m stepping into an existing infrastructure

I’m having trouble knowing where to start. I don’t know how to “speak the language” of the people using the product.

How do you begin to build up a healthy community in a timely way when you’re new and don’t speak the language? It’s a really cool product, from a high-level. And an amazing company. Just need help to know where to start.

(Rebecca Braglio) #56

Hi Jessica,
I experienced this when I switched into a new community - it wasn’t a technical product but a professional industry (which I had no background in). Personally, I found it very effective coming in as an “outsider” to be very transparent about that - when it came to the product/industry, they were the experts. You’ll learn what you need to know from them. Ask them for help/opinions because they will feel useful and respected. But when it comes to building community and helping them find what they need/get value, YOU are the expert. Consider positioning yourself as the person who is going to take the areas they consider to be the best of their community and helping them make it better. I found it very helpful to actually pick up the phone and call the most active members for feedback. Once they felt comfortable with me and what I brought to the table, I was able to have them in my corner to advocate for me to the other community members. As you’re doing all this, you need to continue learn on your own everything about that product and study their “language.”

(Jessica Why) #57

Hi Rebecca,

This is very helpful. Thank you for providing encouragement and concrete direction! That’s where I am right now - a bit lost with it all.

After your advice, I’ll plan on personally reaching out to members to get to know the experts and introduce myself.

I’m curious about how your experience was with call the most active members? I’m concerned some people will be wary that I am calling their phone number…thoughts?

(Matt Mecham) #58

Perhaps ask them if they are happy to talk on the phone, or would prefer to chat privately online, instead.

Some of our members communicate better on the phone, others via typed messages.

(Jessica Why) #59

Thanks @mattmecham for taking the time to leave a reply. Appreciate it!

(Sarah Hawk) #60

Yup! This is common. Forget about engagement – it’s not the most important thing. I’d recommend reading this as a starting point https://www.feverbee.com/roi/

It is so, so important that you crack this if you want the respect of your users (which you will need to succeed). Is there product documentation or training that you can utilise? I work in a technical product community (the one that writes the technical product that you’re currently using) and when I employ new staff I instruct them to spend 2 weeks doing nothing but using the product and finding their way around.

(Matt Mecham) #61

100% this. You just need to read as much as you can and absorb yourself with the people and the lingo.

Is there anyone that can point you in the direction of a handful of super-users who can take you under their wing and help you learn the ropes if there isn’t training available?

On my community I can think of 4-5 people who would be perfect for this.

(Anjo Gaul) #62

Hey Jessica,
I totally second that you have to “learn” the language and you should be transparent about not knowing too much about it at the moment.
No you don’t have to put it out there in a way, but I would also not say the opposite or try to make them feel like you know it already.
While engaging with the most active ppl in the already existing infrastructure, wich is a big plus in my opinion, you can ask them things like “how do you use the product”, “what do you use the product for” etc. You can learn a lot about it that way and they will appreciate that you value their opinion and like their feedback.
Same goes for the “infrastructure” you can as the same user basically the same questions about the “community” what do they get out of it, where and how does it deliver value to them. But also if there are things they are missing, things who are not as good.
This will give you a good picture of where to start to improve things.

In general, listen to people, they will (most-likely) always know more about the topic as you do, but don’t do everything they say, because they don’t always know what’s best for them. :slight_smile:

(Jessica Why) #63

@HAWK This is very helpful, and good reminder that this is all about respect. I’ll look into the product documentation/available trainings.

I’m thinking of documenting these processes as I go as well; we’re a startup, and there are no resources yet for on-boarding non-technical people. What do you think of this idea?