Category Archives: Community Building

Trolls Aren’t the Real Problem With Online Communities, So What Is?


How could this cute fella be a problem?

If there’s one element of community management you’re going to hear about, it’s trolls. There are countless articles about them, and how to deal with them. It’s clear that trolls are a key facet of community management in popular culture and that the methods for dealing with them are crucial.

Except of course, they aren’t. Clever trolls are ones that can fly under the radar for a long time, and they’re vanishingly rare. Modern trolls are highly visible, they want to be seen, to shout and scream and rant. If you have a vigilant moderation staff, taking care of them is as easy as clicking two buttons. The biggest problem most communities face isn’t obvious vandals smashing windows, it’s regular community members who gradually and insidiously work to make your community a less welcoming place.

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The Most Effective Community KPIs

Once your community is up and running, you’ll need ways to measure your success. It’s important to have concrete parameters for this, to judge how well your community strategy is working. There are a number of different community KPIs that can be measured to provide a good idea of the health of your community.

community KPIs

If all else fails, turn your monitor off and look at a clipboard.

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Building a Business Case For Your Community Initiative

community initiative

You should not present your business case to John Hamm. He is an actor, and cannot approve your budget.

Community has a lot of benefits, to several departments of your company, but your community initiative has to compete with other budget requests. If you’re going to get what you need from the resource gatekeepers, you’ll need to build a strong business case for why a community is vital. Here are a few points you can hit to make sure your business case is killer:

Tie Objectives to Company KPIs

A common mistake is to use some of the softer benefits of a community to sell them to decision makers. Elements like improved customer relationships may be a great boon to your brand, but your boss is likely to be looking at the bottom line. The two major driving factors are going to be increasing revenue and decreasing expenses, so focus your case on these. It will vary from business to business, but generating more sales and freeing support resources are common benefits to concentrate on.
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Community Guidelines: Why They’re Vital and How to Improve Them

Community guidelines

This might be going a little overboard…

The first thing I do when I enter a new community is check out their community guidelines. It’s not because I’m worried about breaking rules (I’m well behaved at least 65% of the time), but because what those rules are and how they’re laid out will tell me most of what I need to know about the community itself. I can tell what the community manager thinks about the users, how much effort they put in to the basics of setup, and what kind of community I can expect to see when I start posting. It’s also part of the community that rarely sees any real effort or thought, which I’ve always found strange. It’s the template for how your community acts and behaves, and it should be a high priority for any community manager.
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The Third Pillar of Community Strategy: Social

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In the previous 2 articles of this series, we discussed two of the three pillars of community strategy: sales and support. In this article, we’ll be discussing the final pillar: social.

Human-to-human interaction is the very heart of community, and that’s something that’s often forgotten in the rush for ROI.The entire undercurrent of our economy is social, and without sociality few businesses can function. From the town hall to the nightclub to the internet forum, humans have a deep rooted need for social bonds.
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