A recent incident in a large community where a small number of moderators went rogue led me to believe that more needs to be said about the different between a community manager and a moderator. There’s still confusion in some areas about the difference between the two, and this confusion, in the right circumstances, can lead to bedlam. I can’t be the only community manager who hears “oh right, so you delete comments and stuff?” whenever I tell people what I do for a living. Obviously this can be personally frustrating, but it can also cause professional difficulties for people in both roles. Some businesses expect a moderator to do the work of a CM, without giving them the pay, resources or support to do so. Others are pretty sure that all a CM does is “delete comments and stuff”, and dismiss the need for one based on that. Given the pressing need for both roles in modern marketing, businesses that take this stance are likely to be left in the dust. So what’s the difference?
Depending on how you measure the effectiveness of your community, you might be overlooking some of the ROI that it provides you. For example, forum visitors – those people who lurk but never register or post – can account for up to 90% (or more) of your traffic. This passive majority still benefits immensely and contributes to the return on your investment.
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Conventional thinking is that customer communities are put in place to help users of a product share ideas and support each other. Smart businesses are realizing that communities can be a powerful competitive advantage, and in some cases even more valuable than the product itself.
I recently spoke to a startup founder who told me that his first hire was not going be a developer or salesperson but a community manager. He felt that if he could build a community before launching his product, he would have i) a captive group of enthusiastic potential customers and ii) a defensible competitive advantage if competitors launched a similar product. Continue reading →
Migrating to new forum software can be a daunting prospect, but sometimes necessary. After migrating hundreds of communities from dozens of platforms to Vanilla, here are a few things we’ve learned:
Properly preparing the community is vital
Making a major change to your community software is always challenging for your membership. People become comfortable with the status quo, even if that status quo involves slow, outdated software that is gradually falling apart. It’s important to be aware of this, and to make sure that community reactions are kept in mind during the migrations process. A common thread of hassle-free migrations is asking yourself how the community will be effected at each step.
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Need a quick way to create a newsletter from the content of your community? MailChimp offers you an easy way to create a newsletter from an RSS feed.
Here are the quick steps to get your own MailChimp Newsletter using RSS feeds up and running: Continue reading →