Category Archives: Community Building

How to Bring Your Customer Community Back From the Dead

Your customer community doesn't need to be the wild west

The Wild West: Great hats, poor communities…

Even after all these years, the wild west of the internet hasn’t been completely tamed. There are still communities floating in the ether that are largely or completely rudderless. How does this happen? There are any number of ways, but some are more common than others. Some communities simply don’t require management. These are typically small, well-behaved, exclusive or completely private. Other communities see eschewing moderation as a conscious choice, and thrive on the anarchic atmosphere that results. These are the communities that regularly appear in the news due to their users doing something foul.
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Why Brand Alienation is the Biggest Threat to Your Customer Community

How to avoid alienating your customer community

Don’t be fooled by the cute face

One of the biggest problems facing modern companies is brand saturation. Every brand now has a mailing list, a Twitter, a Facebook and various other media channels dedicated to pushing their message onto consumers. For the consumer, this means a wall of noise that they can’t escape from. In a given week, they may see a dozen mail-outs. In a given day,  they’ll see a dozen brand-related tweets or Facebook posts. How are they supposed to cope with this much information?

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3 Ways For Community Managers to Save Time & Effort

Save Time

As a community manager, looking at a busy community can be daunting. With so many categories, discussions and users, it can seem like far too much information to take in. In extreme cases, this can even lead to Analysis Paralysis, where the amount of different options makes it impossible to pick an appropriate path.

Similarly, smaller communities that are growing fast can start to suffer due to their user-base outgrowing their management infrastructure. In an ideal world you’d be able to increase your staff levels to cope, but the chances of getting that kind of budget increase are slim. So what’s to be done? Should you simply start working weekends and evenings, making sure you’re always on top of things? Should you start trying to slow down your growth levels, to keep your traffic manageable? Or should you just accept that as a community grows, the quality inevitably declines?

None of the above, of course. It’s a cliche, but a community manager under pressure needs to work smarter, not harder. Successful communities grow, often unpredictably. A community I worked on once saw a spike of 3 million to its monthly pageviews effectively overnight. Situations like that have given me cause to find the best strategies for managing a community with limited time and effort.

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How to Manage a Customer Community with the Resources You Already Have

A community forum needn't reduce your dragon horde...

A community forum needn’t reduce your dragon hoard…

One of the biggest worries for any business starting a community forum is time. They know the benefits of a customer community, but they simply don’t think they have the staff bandwidth to accommodate one. It’s an understandable worry, but it relies on the false assumption that a customer forum requires new, dedicated staff to run. If you have the right processes in place, your existing staff can easily manage your customer community without extra costs. In the event that your forum grows large enough that further staff are required, additional staff can be justified as the ROI of ticket deflection and lead generation make themselves manifest. Continue reading

3 Weird Rules Your Community Forum Needs

weird forum rules

…but not this weird

Almost every community has a dedicated rules post, and most tend to be pretty similar. This is partly because some rules (Be nice to each other! Don’t spam the forum!) are pretty obvious, but it’s also because many community managers don’t spend the time to tailor their rules to the individual needs of the community. Depending on the community in question, this is something that it’s possible to get away with. Many communities don’t need anything particularly unusual or specific in their rules. However, I have a few, rarely-seen  rules that I keep in my back pocket which most communities could benefit from adopting.

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