Your Input Needed - What Would You Like This Community To Become?


(Richard Millington) #1

Since @HAWK join Discourse last year, I’ve neglected this community. This was largely due to working on the book which, especially in the past few months, has taken almost all of my time.

However, now the book is complete I’d like to turn my attention back to FeverBee Experts with a view to revamping the concept, making a few styling adjustments, and changing how it’s run.

I’m truly appreciative of all the contributions people have made here, especially in the past year when we’ve been more than a little neglectful. I’d also like to share some of my current thinking.

I’d love to hear answers to the following questions:

  1. What unique value do you get from this community (or what unique value would you like to get?). Feel completely free to be honest and open.

  2. What do you think of the platform/layout of this community?

  3. What are the pros and cons of participating in this community today?

My aim is to avoid being just another community and instead occupy an important, smaller, niche. With the new book coming out, I feel this is a tremendous time to go down this road. However, I’d really welcome your feedback in this process. I’ll also be reaching out to many of you as well.

(Richard Millington) pinned globally #2

(Richard Millington) #3

A few possibilities I’d welcome feedback on:

  1. A community to co-create useful resources and documents for the broader sector. (similar to ALLIES and other recent projects).

  2. An exclusive community just for community professionals of top brands (self-explanatory).

  3. A community focused on winning and gaining internal support (how to become indispensable)

  4. A community about community technology and optimising the tech (self-explanatory).

(Emma Furtado) #4

#3 for me. Even with the literature and advice this is my biggest hurdle.

(Travis King) #5

The biggest benefit for me is being able to pick the brains of community experts and return the favour by providing my own insights. I also find the discussion here more in-depth than just “what is Facebook doing?” and “how do I use this new social media thingy?”.

I like the Discourse platform. The massive What Next? or MAKE YOUR COMMUNITY INDISPENSABLE banner gets a little old, though. Particularly on mobile :slight_smile:

I also like using the forum to make connections with other people in the community space. As is often the case, it’s not what you know as much as who you know. So forming some connections with people I may eventually meet in person at community events is pretty important for me.

(Fernando Schneider) #6

Hey there, Richard!

Glad to know your work with the book is complete. I’ve recently purchased Buzzing Communities and I’m wondering which book you were working on now?

About your questions:

  1. It is a community for CMs and my reference when I need light on issues related to this area.

  2. When I’m in other parts of Feverbee, I have some difficulties navigating to the Community section. Also in the Community section, I have a bit of a hard time to find my way around because of the tabs in the top bar of the website. It might be just me, though.

  3. Pros: share of knowledge and experiences; a place to grow and learn as a CM.
    Cons: can’t think of any right now.

I will try to think of more ways this community can improve :slight_smile:

(Darren Gough) #7

As a general observation, however helpful, I really enjoy people posting specific problems they are having and how the Experts are able to advise from experience or collaboration. Much as @Travis says.

I think the rest of the site does an admirable job of providing resources and so forth so perhaps that’s not so needed here.

Functionality wise, I also agree with the point @fernando_schneider says about community navigation. I like Discourse in general, but the way the sections are structured aren’t always easy to move between. A community “home” button or option is something I look for but never seem to find so kind of have to navigate backwards through other menus. This might just be me though :slight_smile:

(Adrian Speyer) #8

hi @richard_millington you know where I’d be coming from, so I will keep my answer to what I like about this community with my CM hat on:

  1. There are lots of places I can go for community management support, but I find the members here are more curated. Actually I am not sure “curated” is the right word, but the members here don’t seem to be drive by posters. They seem to be seeking out advice on the tough questions which I appreciate. There is are less duplicate questions too, then in other spaces. I also find the answers and the discussions are much more extensive than in other spaces, but that just might be my impression.

  2. The platform is ok - I won’t comment further, as you know my preference :stuck_out_tongue:

  3. The hardest part for me is to ensure I remember to come. Sometimes I get busy so there are pockets of time when I forget. If you were to share the interesting discussions on the other channels (like Twitter) it might remind me. I do appreciate the digest as a nudge, but it’s not as relevant as it could be.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

(Richard Millington) #9

Thanks everyone, please keep the answers coming.

@Darren_Gough and @Travis - if you click on the feverbee logo it should take you back to the Discourse homepage. But I might see about changing the menu navigation.

I’m not likely to be changing the platform soon. We’re pretty much setup here with Discourse.

I am interested in being clearer about the community concept. The biggest win from my side is getting feedback on our projects, the book, etc…which lends itself to many different types of communities.

My thinking is with CMX and roundtable groups on Facebook, do we add enough value here with the we’re a community for deeper, more detailed, discussion.

I tend to find many people post the same question here and in other places with often quite similar responses. So I’m keen to make sure we are staking out a decent ground that adds unique value to the sector here.

Keep the feedback coming, it’s really useful.

(Travis King) #10

Is it cool if we also ask you questions @richard_millington ? :smiley:

What kind of community would you like to develop here? Not sure if you’re considering shuttering this area, but do you think it’s possible to sell community building services without having one of your own?

(Richard Millington) #11

Yes, feel totally free to ask any questions you like.

Shuttering the community isn’t really an option I’m considering. If activity were to fall flat, I might do it. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

I don’t think the community has a big impact upon selling services. We were selling services long before the community and most of our clients don’t participate here before hiring us. The case studies, content, and referrals drive most of that which has been going extremely well (we’re booked solid at the moment). I can only think of 2 to 3 clients we’ve gained through which the community clearly played a part in the process.

The community is VERY useful though for testing ideas, getting feedback on what we’re doing, and staying close to the pulse of what people are struggling with. That said, I do feel a lot of the conversations have moved to Facebook groups now which has in-built mechanisms to nudge people to come back and participate.

So we can keep things going as they are, with a few small tweaks, but I’d rather set a bold new course for it even if it means losing some members to pursue a direction which adds value to the space. I think with the new book coming out, it’s a good time to make that decision.

(Luis Villa) #12

Before going into Richard’s suggestions, I’d say that I keep coming back here because there is a small but healthy group that I can share with and in return get resources from on a broad, broad variety of topics. Something more narrow is probably unlikely to hit my (diverse) needs very much.

(And I like Discourse, FWIW.)

As you know, sustained co-creation of such materials is insanely hard. The wiki model is the only one I’ve seen work regularly, and even that fails 90% of the time.

Might still be worth trying? But a long shot.

Seems like this might be a nice addition to the main, public discussion. Certainly in my other responsibilities this sort of discussion forum has proven useful.

(Darren Gough) #13

Interesting point. We’re in a lot of the same FB groups but oddly enough I find them much harder to learn from or participate in for CM type stuff. It’s either one person pretty much flooding the page with updates, or things moving so fast you lose the will to want to track back.

I don’t think they are always conducive to that deeper level of value being discussed. What I would like to see more of here is stories and features about what people are doing. Spotlights on interesting and unusual communities and CMs on their journeys.

(Robert McIntosh) #14

I came here a lot when starting my largest community - not to ask practical questions (which I could do with CMX as their Slack and Facebook channels were easy for this) but to think … it wasn’t to answer a question I had, but to learn about important questions I had not asked yet.

can’t comment, for obvious reasons :slight_smile:

I do admit (being honest) that it has been noticeable that a dedicated and available CM is not around to keep conversations going, to build rapport and so on. I understand the reasons, but it just shows that communities need managers of some sort (in the same way that gardens will keep growing, but get unkempt if they only get the occasional weeding).

It is not just the content focus, but the ongoing personal touches that will build the value of this place

As for your possibilities:

Interesting, but quite technical and risks not being relevant to a broad enough audience quickly enough to build / keep community rather than being a reference site. How many members will really have the expertise AND time to get involved? It might get a bit niche

Maybe good but sounds more like a blog - listening to experts talk to each other is not a ‘community’ - or a private group. However, if you wanted to offer that service to that specific audience I would understand the value, but it would have excluded me and many others here so we would not be around to see it.

Not sure. I have worked on a number of communities and internal support was never the issue for me (I mainly skip this content). It was about doing a better job for users and helping others do the same.

What I like is coming here to hang out with a self-selecting list of more experienced and serious community managers to exchange ideas, and to be challenged by your great posts. One thing that might help is to write these more specifically in order to elicit a response from regulars here to co-create value … they tend to be more complete “blog posts” and I’m often surprised they get few comments, but then I’m not sure what to say other than “interesting thought, thanks”

… there, may be a bit rambling but hope it helps

Keep up the great work

(Mark Baldwin) #15

Nice thread and interesting question. I love this community, but I do find that I can go a long time where nothing is relevant to me either from a reading perspective or feeling like I can contribute.

But I also think that this is exactly what I need it to be. I know exactly where I can come to post questions about community and to get advice/feedback from other community professionals, so even though I am more of a lurker these days, I do regularly stop by and it’s comforting to know that there is an extremely powerful and knowledgeable resource at my fingertips.

As a side note, I do find that most of my time is spent interacting via social media these days as it’s the quickest, most direct way to address concerns from our community. People in general seem to have little patience and demand answers almost immediately to their concerns.

(Richard Millington) #16

I think that’s definitely a key point. I have a blog post on that scheduled next week. I also see a lot of the questions posted here also posted on the other FB groups too. Which is a concern - i.e. do we offer enough distinctive value compared to other answers. I’m not alway sure we do.

This is a REALLY interesting point. I like the idea of focusing on the unknown unknowns. Not sure you can build a concept around it, but it could be interesting.

I actually just asked my colleague to stop posting the blog posts in here because they didn’t seem to be getting much of a response. It felt like I wa spamming my own community :slight_smile:

I’m interested in collaborating on mutual projects though. We’ve got five big content pieces now that need regular insights and update:


We have a few more in the works too. So there is potential there.

That’s my biggest concern too. It’s also hard (to refer to your later point) to sell the community as a ‘less chaotic’ place to get responses to questions :slight_smile:

(Janet Swisher) #17
  1. I come here to see what other community managers are discussing, if there’s a topic that looks interesting to me. I rarely ask questions, because my community is so different in structure (not being discussion-focused), such that I don’t expect other members to have experiences that apply to it. So maybe I am not within the target group for this community.

  2. I usually come from a link in the summary email, and then perhaps peruse other topics if I have time. I don’t pay much attention to the structure.

  3. I prefer this standalone community to a Facebook one. Though I have a FB profile just for “work”, I prefer not to go down that rabbit hole during work time.

(Darren Gough) #18

Just to echo my previous point, this is actually the thing I’d love to learn more about - people working in communities that are unusual or structured differently and having unique journeys.

(Piper_Wilson) #19

I definitely like stand alone forums, in general, to Facebook ones. I just can’t seem to get comfortable with Facebook.

As far as this community goes, I don’t want it to get so evolved (?) that inexperienced people like me can’t tread water. I’ve been a member for years, but I still feel new.

(Richard Millington) #20

Hey folks,

Thanks for all the feedback so far. Here is what I’m thinking and let me know if you agree or disagree.

It sounds like people don’t want more engagement or more members here, but they like having good quality problems to see and respond to.

So my thinking at the moment is to push the quality of posts (especially new posts) up. This would mean ensuring people provide some context, are specific in what they need, and filtering out the posts that don’t meed a good standard.

Or, to be short, less engagement overall but more good-quality engagement.

What does everyone think?