Category Archives: Community Building

Should you soft launch your community?

Community launch

One of the most nerve-wracking parts of launching a community is the moment where it actually goes online. All your preparations are finally tested, your plans go into action and your users step, blinking, into the glorious light of your new community. A lot can go wrong. Your moderators could become befuddled by the interface, your categories may turn out to be confusing or redundant, your theme might aggravate the eyeballs of your userbase. The list of potential hiccups is endless. Given how hard it can be to rescue a community once it starts going south, it’s understandable to look for a way to manage that risk. Soft launching can be a good way to do this. In the simplest terms, a soft launch is opening your community to a limited number of users to test and perfect before opening them to the larger community. In software terms, it’s similar to a closed beta.
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The Changing Role of Facebook and Twitter for Customer Communities

It’s been several months since brands have come to realize that they are no longer going to be able to reach  their customers or fans organically on Facebook. For companies, Facebook, with it’s 1.3 billion users has become a big advertising platform with some great targeting tools rather than a social network.

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Before You Close Your Comments or Community, Let’s Talk


Reflections One Year After PopSci Closed Comments

It has been more than a year since Popular Science shut down their comments. For those not aware, the main argument was noted here:

As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.

Online Director Suzanne LaBarre added that “Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.” It was then suggested users could reach out in other ways:

There are plenty of other ways to talk back to us, and to each other: through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, livechats, email, and more.

Moving the comments off their platform, to be splintered and scattered to the wind, seems like a real shame.

PopSci is Not Alone.

This is not to pick on PopSci. There are examples of other companies closing discussion and pushing users off their platform. Continue reading

4 Things to Consider Before Enabling a Plugin in Your Community Forum

I’m notoriously cautious about adding new features to my forum. As awesome as shiny new buttons are, and as exciting as added functionality may seem, new features present one of the strongest change factors for any community. The biggest change that my community ever went through was moving to Vanilla from our old, broken software platform. It was held together with twigs and twine. Our server was operated with a hand crank. If you kicked it, animal noises came out. I was still cautious.
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How a Community Can Increase your Net Promoter Score

net promoter score

Net Promoter Score by Laura Wilson

Net Promoter Score (or NPS) is one of the most useful metrics for gauging the potential for organic growth in your customer base. In this article, I’m going to go over some of the ways that a forum community can help to improve your NPS.

What is Net Promoter Score?

For the uninitiated, Net Promoter Score is a metric that can be used to determine the brand loyalty of your customers. Determining it is simple; you ask your customers “How likely is it that you would recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?” on a scale of 1 to 10. Customers who reply with a 9+ are counted as enthusiasts, and under 6 as detractors (with scores of 7 or 8 being discarded). Simply subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters to find your score. Any positive score is seen as good, and a score of above 50 is exceptional.
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