Spring is here, and with it a new update to our cloud service. If you’re a cloud customer you don’t need to fret, you’ll be updated to the new version automatically. A complete change-log is at the end of the post, but here are some highlights: Continue reading →
What’s at the centre of your community strategy? It might sound like a question with a lot of possible responses, but there are a limited number of good answers. It might be tempting to look at businesses that have invested in community and simply assume they know what they’re doing. Many community strategies, even from large businesses, are poorly thought out and lack a coherent vision or reason to exist. The follow-the-leader approach will only work to a limited degree. An intelligent community strategy needs to look at what works and why it works. Conversely, ill-thought out, by-the-numbers strategies will never provide an ROI more significant than “kept the intern busy”. Community is important, and needs to be made a priority.
For example, the games industry has seen enormous growth in recent years. growing four times faster than the US economy. Games companies certainly use the traditional social media for promotion, but the industry is also known for its uptake of forum communities. In fact, I tried to find a major developer that wasn’t using one and had no luck. As noted above though, the follow-the-leader approach isn’t useful. What’s necessary is to figure out why those communities are so useful to the industry.
We recently had the chance to meet up with Stuart Waterman, Online Community Manager for AAT. AAT stands for The Association of Accounting Technicians. They’re a non-profit membership body offering accounting and finance qualifications and short courses. AAT’s qualifications enable people to gain the accounting skills and experience they need to enter the profession without going to university. Their head office is based in London, but they have over 130,000 members worldwide.
Here’s a scenario we’ve all seen a dozen times: a company Twitter page that consists of a series of totally unrelated tweets. No customer engagement, nothing to retweet or favourite, just boring, insipid questions or comments. “What’s your favourite way to eat Bongo’s Jelly Beans” “Why not start your day with some Bongo Jelly Beans?!?!?!”. Etc, etc. I don’t blame the employee for this. They’re undoubtedly swamped with other work to do and barely have the time to log in to Twitter, let alone to dedicate to crafting the perfect tweet every time. “Something about… eating Bongo Jelly Beans on a train. Bingo!”, followed by immediately crossing off Daily Social Media Marketing off their daily checklist.
The problem is, of course, that it doesn’t work. Building a brand takes a long time, and a lot of repetition. Marketers never feel like they have enough time or money to create the awareness that they need to succeed. That awareness certainly isn’t going to manifest as the result of a perfunctory daily tweet. So what’s to be done? The answer is to spend less time making Twitter and Facebook posts that no one reads, and more time building a relationship with your customers.
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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