In this video we look at problems that can arise in large online communities such as Facebook.
Tag Archives: managing online communities
Online support groups are the kind of community that everyone needs at some point.
Whether it’s a tricky question that needs answering or you need to figure out the best way to do something technical or you just need to work that lovely new camera you just bought, everyone has been to an online support forum.
I’ve definitely done this to answer technical questions I need answering about my mobile, camera and laptop, but I can safely say I have never asked a question, I’ve simply scoured the forum to find the answer the the question I know has been asked before.
Cisco posted this great video giving just that advice, as well as four other top tips to simply and quickly benefit the most out of online support groups.
Ever wondered what the experts say are the best methods of managing your community?
1. Know your audience
- Who are they? What do they care about? What do they have in common?
- What can you offer them?
- Where are they already talking on the web? Don’t use the latest social network if your audience is on Facebook or communicating via blogs.
2. Listen, listen and keep listening
People will give you all sorts of clues about what they like and what they don’t. They will tell you directly, for example using comments, but will also leave clues indirectly, for example in the data about what content is viewed the most and shared the most.
3. Be useful
Don’t make the mistake of valuing content that is difficult to produce. Posting links to great content elsewhere might be just as valuable as an original interview for your audience.
4. Involve people
Find creative ways to make people feel involved, whether it’s by writing about featured members of your community, running polls or giving them a glimpse of what is coming up. Don’t just open a comment box and expect people to submit lengthy opinions, give them all sorts of ways to gradually get more involved. The more you encourage people to participate in a positive way, the less space there is for trolls to derail your community and the more members are likely to contribute.
5. Use technology to help you
Don’t let yourself use the “I’m not technical” cop out. Most of the basic principles and tools that will help you to build your community are not mind-blowingly complicated. Using technology well isn’t about jumping on the next new thing, it’s about being aware of what’s available and selecting the tools that will be most useful for you.
So there you go – top tips from the woman in the know. Now go and get building your community and get your reader gripped.
A key factor in managing your community is including your reader; giving your reader a voice. And one of the best ways to do this is to invite them to write a guest post of their own.
Of course there are logistics to consider: what’s to guarantee they will be good? That they will write well? That their comment/ opinion will be well-directed? Of course, there must be a screening process.
Let’s use a blog that I run with a few others as an example: http://nestblog.org/. A blog about home-making for the young urbanite, its essence is relating to the reader and engaging with their needs. What better way to do this that to invite the readers to do a guest blog post of their own: what they do to brighten up their Nest, their top tips, a glimpse inside their home and how they make it their own. It keeps the reader interested and makes them feel involved.
Firstly, set up an email address for the blog/ website, where people can send their posts/ pictures. This gives you the opportunity to have a read over all the potential posts and discuss with the readers turned contributors what you need.
This makes widening and engaging your community easier, gives your blog/ site more content and gives the reader a sense of belonging and ownership. This is also a good tool to widen your readership.
If you would like to write a guest post about managing your online community then please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a link to a wonderful blog post by John Scalzi about how to manage your community.
Speaking at the Tools of Change conference in NYC, the video shows him on a panel with Toby Buckell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, with Ron Hogan moderating, giving a talk called “Where Do you Go With 40,000 Readers? A Study in Online Community Building.”
There are some great tips here for how to deal with your community as it grows…enjoy!