Is Your Customer Community Vendor Holding Your Data Hostage?

Is Your Data Being Held HostageAs an entrepreneur, lots of things get me worked up. Lately, something has been bothering me profoundly, and that is data ownership.

Software-as-a-service has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years because it makes deploying, maintaining and upgrading software much easier. One of the realities of SaaS is that your data is no longer on your own servers. What happens if you decide you want to switch from one vendor to another?

The data that your customers have created in your branded community is yours, no questions asked. You should also be able to get a copy of that data, no questions asked. Continue reading

4 Lessons Mad Max Has For Your Community

Mad Max Furiosa

Furiosa is unimpressed by your forum trolls

Mad Max was supposed to be dead. A long-dormant franchise, stuck in development hell for twenty years, it’s gone on to be the surprise hit of the summer. It had a relatively small marketing spend, lacked a dedicated fan base and had recast its iconic lead role. Despite all this, it made $110 million in its first few days of release, even beating the international takings of the sequel to mega hit Pitch Perfect.

Needless to say, I wanted an excuse to write about it, so I started considering what a surprise hit like this can tell us about how community is changing modern marketing. Here are some of the lessons that I think justify my expenses claim for an iMax ticket and a giant picture of The Doof Warrior:

Continue reading

How to Restrict Forum Content By Role

restrict access content

Restricting content in your community is useful in a lot of ways. For instance:

  • Premium/Paid Section: An area restricted to paying customers where they get premium support or content.
  • Pre-sales: If your customer forum is private, a public section where prospects can ask questions.
  • Power User Feedback: Give special access to power users to give feedback on your product or services. Maybe even as a focus group.
  • Community Moderators section: A space only viewable by the moderator team to discuss issues, policies or get clarity on rules.
  • Staff section: You can have a category just for staff, to discuss company policy, strategy and more.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading