Posts Tagged ‘Community Management’

Safer Internet Day, Feb 7th – Connecting Generations

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 @ 02:02 PM
Phil Wride

Today is Safer Internet Day and I’ve got the pleasure of attending an event that will be sprinkled with MPs, young people, grandparents and various industry stakeholders. The subject for Safer Internet Day this year is Connecting Generations and it is interesting to learn how different demographics view and use the internet.

As a tenuous link to Community Management, crossing the generational divide and understanding what it is different demographics want from their internet experience can aid you in building your community. If you are targeting younger people how do you plan to gain buy in from parents or guardians? If you are targeting the slightly older generation what functionality do you need to include, or terminology?

On the safety side of things, what different moderation tools do you need to include and what self-service options should there be for users to help themselves resolve or report an issue? I can appreciate every community is different, and that different platforms come with their own challenges but some of the fundamentals remain the same; catering to your audience and being able to manage the community.

For more information about Safer Internet Day and the activities going on head over to the UK Safer Internet Centre.

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Communities – #digitaltrends12 To Keep An Eye On

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 @ 10:02 AM
Phil Wride

Yesterday morning I attended a #digitaltrends12 breakfast briefing hosted by the Hotwire group, one of the UK’s leading PR / Digital agencies. With a combination of speakers from Hotwire, the Financial Times and eBay it looked at what some of the major digital trends for this year will be.

So how does this relate to online communities? Well, four of the topics covered I think have relevance and three of them I’ve already written about here on the blog.

  • Forums
  • Tablets
  • Gamification
  • Interest Graph

Forums aren’t dead and this point was covered off by eBay who mentioned their forums / boards continue to grow in size and number of contributions. Tablets (and mobile) are now one of the main ways to access Social Networks and it’s important to ensure your community is mobile and tablet friendly. Gamification, a hot topic at the moment but something that many communities already have built in without even realising it.

That leaves the Interest Graph. With Facebook adding more verbs and the ability to read what your friends are reading, listen to what music they are playing and various other bits and pieces focusing on the Interest Graph dimension could pay dividends for online communities. When someone registers for your community and they don’t yet have any existing relationships with other members why not look at suggesting associations or members with similar interests? Having a field on the registration form or in the edit profile area for personal interests could open up a whole new avenue for community building; bringing people together in to smaller related groups, proposing mutual relationships, easing new members in to your environment.

The other question to ask; will users start to expect this from your community if it becomes the norm on the big social networks like Facebook. If so, wouldn’t it be better to start looking at it now rather than later?

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Communities – Planning For Internal Growth

Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 06:01 PM
Phil Wride

Whilst a lot of Community Managers focus on community growth (and that’s not a bad thing) there’s another dimension they need to be aware of, especially if you are a one-man band in your organisation. What do your growth plans look like internally if your community suddenly experiences an influx of new users or your organisation expands in to new markets?

Chances are your community will have a core language or target audience based on location. Adding new language support or trying to entice new users from a different territory will need a change of focus. Do you expand your internal team to meet this new requirement? If so, what does the reporting structure and process look like? Who focuses on the tactical and who on the strategic? Do you expand with a new recruit for each new market or language?

Do these new recruits sit in the same office as you or do they work remotely / in local territory offices? These are a few of the questions that I may be faced with in the future as the company expands and looks at new markets. My experience at EA may well have shaped my responses to the above questions but the setup they had there worked well; local CMs for the major territories based in the local territority offices, weekly status calls and yearly offsite symposiums to discuss strategy. Having them based in local territory offices meant they were in a better position to cater to local users and potentially bridge that gap with offline events.

Each organisation and each community is different but the main focus has to remain on the user and what will give them the best experience.

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Interview for SMCitizens

Friday, January 27, 2012 @ 10:01 AM
Phil Wride

A week or so ago I was approached by a site called Social Media Citizens with a request to answer a few questions about my experience with Community Management and my take on a few related areas.

I’m pleased to say this interview has now gone live and from the tweets I saw yesterday has received some positive feedback (always useful!). Whilst not very long it does echo some of the things I’ve written on here and some of the conversations I’ve had with people about Community Management.

G: Where is the best place to build the community?

P: From my experience I’ve got a jaded view of this. If you are looking to build a “community” then your own branded and dedicated space is the best option, Facebook and Twitter build audiences rather than communities (there are a few exceptions). The type and structure of a community will vary from place to place but the biggest thing is ownership, if you are beholden to a 3rd party provider then you start on the back foot in terms of providing for your members.

To read the full interview click your pointy thing on this link; Interview for SMCitizens

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Communities – The Day The World Stood Still

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 06:01 PM
Phil Wride

Rest assured this isn’t another Community Management post linking back to a film as some of my others have. This is actually about what’s happening now; SOPA. With many sites and several social networks planning to “go dark” in protest of the bill it just highlights how important it is to have your own community space.

You may have a million “fans” on Facebook but if they can’t interact with you because that site goes down what impact is it going to have on your relationship with those users? I was asked a question the other day about where the best place to build a community is. My response was pretty simple; anywhere you own the space and can then manage accordingly.

From a customer support perspective, if you use Social Media to respond to issues what happens if those services go down for extended periods? I know I’m sounding all doom and gloom here but the biggest message I’m trying to give is that part of your community strategy needs to be about contingencies. It’s going to be interesting to monitor the impact of SOPA and which sites do decide to “go dark” in protest. I’ll also be interested to hear from Community Managers and whether they notice an increase in traffic / contribution across their respective communities.

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