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1. Building Healthy Online Communities — An Interview with Rachel Happe, Co-Founder @The Community Roundtable: Question: There have been a lot of aspirations about building and growing communities online. What have you seen that works? What are some typical missteps and pitfalls?
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Answer: People still confuse a community initiative with a technical deployment or launch. Communities don’t launch, they grow. They are much more like living organisms than technical systems. Organizations don’t budget for this kind of program because it essentially requires initially budgeting for patience when stakeholders want something they can point to right away to show they’ve succeeded because the pressure on them is immense. However, the approach that still works best is starting slowly, creating shared expectations, and building value incrementally. Because communities grow geometrically, they grow very slowly in absolute value initially but then pick up speed rapidly. Knowing what to expect helps quite a bit, and we’ve been doing a lot of work with clients to show month-over-month ROI and then projecting out into the future so stakeholders can see what to expect and when — and how their investments pay off. This helps tremendously. Read all questions and answer on The Scholarly Kitchen
2. Discover the best online brand communities: One of the best resources for everyone who is involved in community management where you can browse & learn from more than 1000 communities around the world. Curated by Feverbee. Visit here to browse them all.
3. Problematic Members - Managing a Vocal Minority: Tactics for Managing Problem Members: However hard you try, some members or small cliques will constantly disrupt and cause problems for the sake of doing so. Whether they are an established member or a new user, it’s imperative that you prioritize the well-being of the community over the actions of the individual. You must also approach this in a fair and structured manner.
1. Send a personal note. It’s all too easy for all parties to forget real people are behind the online personas. Your member might be having a terrible day, week or month. They might even be in a desperate situation and the community is their release. Send them a personal note or direct message simply saying you hope everything is ok and you’re there if they need to talk.
2. Use the inner circle. If the issue they’re upset about can be rectified but they seem upset regardless, ask them if they can help fix it. Too many communities DO listen but push out a fix, upgrade or policy change they think works without consultation. Remember that members are the people doing things in your space day in, day out – so ask for regular feedback. It’s vitally important you’re clear with them that you can’t guarantee to do it their way, but do genuinely listen and acknowledge them.
3. Have an effective three-strikes system. This should be at the heart of your community. Usually, it will consist of an initially friendly but firm warning (sent either as an email or personal message), a second stage official warning, and finally a ban. It can help to adopt a familiar visualization, such as a traffic light system or yellow and red cards. Read the full article by Darren Gough
4. Communities Can Grow Too Quickly: Communities can grow too quickly and lose some of the camaraderie which comes with being part of a group. There are a number of dynamics which factor into the carrying capacity of an existing community to absorb newbies. Product designers and communities themselves will build in techniques to manage this scaling – for example, a hardcoded onboarding tutorial when you start an app or even the pinned note at the top of subreddit which spells out the rules of engagement and FAQ. Sometimes incentives will be explicitly and implicitly baked into a community to encourage successful absorption of new members. MMORPGs which early on insert a task involving the teaming of a new player and midlevel one is a frequently used element. Forums will sometimes have a moderator or guide-type which includes a badge or other notification, signaling that it’s ok for a beginner to ask them questions. Read the full article by Hunter Walk on LinkedIn
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Mohammed Rafy (@rafyasarmatta)