Your Community Intent – Building an online community
How do you make your content compelling, so your community will engage with it and by extension, with you? Here’s a simple way to think about how to frame online conversations and make them relevant.Clever marketers use snappy headlines to grab the attention of our inbox. They have learned how to influence our behavior, even though most Community Managers are not trained in human psychology and clever marketing strategies. Considering that we all suffer from partial attention span disorder, it’s interesting that when something catches our eye and keeps our interest, we will continue to pay attention even if there are other things demanding that same level of attention. So the question we ask ourselves when looking at low audience participation tends to focus on the content; How applicable is it, How interesting is it, How relevant is it, even, How graphically compelling is it? These are areas to consider when sorting out what you are going to post or start discussions about. [Read more…]
Ironically, most private, purpose driven communities assume that their members know why the network exists. Bad assumption. When asked, they typically give the wrong answer.I talked to David Nour, a friend who was at the same conference, so I asked him to define his What, So What and Now What as he runs an introNetwork community – his answer is below, I then suggested he write to his members. He did. [Read more…]
Work Hard. Go to College. Change the World!The Alumni Revolution is designed to take graduates from Democracy Prep and provide them with mentors to help guide them through the challenges of College life. When the founder, Seth Andrew, of AR first talked to us we felt like we were a perfect fit – and figured that out in less than ten minutes. That conversation led to the creation of MentorMatch, launching in February 2014. Over the past few weeks we have been working diligently with Seth and his team to fine tune our Visual Matching Engine to accurately capture the aspirational dreams, experiences, skills and hobbies of the scholars (They call them Revolutionaries) and mentors that are being recruited to help in this effort. The site will take advantage of two powerful capabilities of the platform. First, it will capture information in multiple dimensions that will assist in automating the matching process itself. Second, the network will allow for any mentor or Revolutionary to be placed at the center of the network so that Alumni Revolution can broker the very best pairing for both people. By way of background information, Seth showed me his TEDx talk where he described the mission that Democracy Prep is all about. After watching it, I became one of their newest fans and this project instantly became one of the jewels in the crown, as the impact it will make won’t be measured for years to come, yet, the potential to help them find and match perfect mentor/mentee pairs is amazing. Take a look at his talk and you will see how much passion he has and how this project has become so successful. We are proud to be working with Alumni Revolution and look forward to the launch of their site in February.
Community is a group of people with unique shared values, behaviors and artifactsMy experience is in talking to people interesting in adding a Community, they fail to understand how to optimize for shared values and behaviors, in fact many times, they think that the Community is all about pushing content and getting people to talk, rather than helping them discover, uncover and celebrate the unique shared values and the diversity of behaviors and experiences that make up the collection of people involved. Whether it is 50 or 50,000 – considering these basic fundamentals gets lost.
Things that define Community: a common interest or context, a sense of shared purpose or fate and common set of needs.I would argue that in the beginning of an online community design, these concepts are discussed, yet soon fall to the wayside as the tactical deployment, design and launch of the community takes center stage. When a community is floundering, I look to see if the common interest or context is still clear, is it clear to new members, how is the sense of shared purpose communicated and is it still relevant six months or a year later – and has it been reviewed, probably not. The solution is simple. Look at the slides from The Community Roundtable, see how easy it seems to do it right – yet, why are so many communities having an identity crisis when, at one point, they actually discussed these critical design decisions, yet somehow have failed to realize any benefit from those decisions. You may not think about community all the time like we do, however, when you do, please make sure you consider that there really are only a few secrets to building a vibrant community according to The Community Roundtable, then ask yourself are you doing all of them to the best of your ability?
“The overall social strategy needs to be revisited annually, including the desired strategic outcomes from a private community. It works to elevate perceived member exclusivity, benefits (based on different membership levels), thriving discussion groups & forums, sharing of best practices from best practitioners, making relevant member connections before, during, and after events, and most importantly, touching them with value-add throughout the year and not just at your annual meeting.The challenge for many associations who have deployed private communities in the past has been the flawed assumptions of a) build it & they will come – without consistently creating unique value propositions of why should members care or participate, b) funding it with the necessary resources (human, capital, time & effort) to nurture it, and c) monetize it with sponsorships, content curation, or infusion of thought leadership! You build anything on a sand trap and neglect it and it will “fail.” Conversely, if you learn from what didn’t work, segment your members based on their needs, modularize your capabilities (including a private community) toward those needs, anticipating their future needs (fantastic use of a private community), rewarding staff for win/win interactions, and transforming their touch points to smart ones so you can continue to learn from their behavior, is the receipt for making an online community succeed! We’ve had ours for the past 3 years, it has 1,500 active participants and we’re continuing to invest in nurturing it with a refresh of the strategy in 2014.” David, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. If you would like to talk to us about how a private social network could improve your organization, click the Contact Us button and we will have a conversation.