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Managing successful online communities

Matt
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Don't hide your community away!

One of the first things I do when visiting a site that I know has a community is to try and find it.

More often than not, it's hidden away in the footer links or buried in several sub-menus and labelled something relatively obscure like "Fans" or "Support".

This is a massive lost opportunity!

We all know that social proof is incredibly important when making a purchasing decision.

When I buy something on Amazon or book a holiday, the first thing I do is scour the reviews. Are the reviews mostly positive? What did other people think about the product after receiving it?

I might see two almost identical products and the reviews, not the price that'll always sway me.

It's that urge to herd to keep safe at play.

So why bury all that out of the way?

Your community should be full of fantastic social proof — hundreds of customers using your product and creating a buzz.

Is it a fear of criticism? We all have had bad experiences with clients who are less than rational with feedback, but that's OK.

The Harry Potter series of books are beloved by millions, made J.K Rowling a fortune, made a celebrated movie series and opened up several themed attractions which are always busy.

Yet, there are a significant number of 1-star reviews on Amazon.

695951539_Amazon_co.ukCustomerreviewsHarryPotterandthePhilosophersStone2019-02-0811-52-15.jpg.d9ee75076b000f5bd9b0d3e3d30973f0.jpg

Not everyone will get you or your business.

You always have the opportunity to reply and explain your side, and you are always in control with moderation tools.

Let's face it; if you are to handle negative feedback, it's better to manage it on your community than see it all over social media, Google reviews and review sites like TripAdvisor.

Maybe you're a little embarrassed because the community platform is old and doesn't match your branding.

If that's the case, then come and talk to us! We specialise in migrating communities from legacy platforms with poor mobile support. We offer brand matching services too.

Maybe it's just that you're unsure of what to do with your community.

I get that too. It can be hard to know how it fits in with your brand. I'm happy to help there also. Feel free to drop a comment below.

Our product has several ways to pull content from the community and feature it on your site.

We've helped big brands like LEGO®, Sega, Warner Bros. and more nurture a prosperous community that enhances their business.

The bottom line is that a well manage community should be central to your brand and website.

Hiding it among the "Privacy Policy" links is a huge missed opportunity.

- Matt

Edited by Matt

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The good news is that brands are now more aware of the importance in having a "community". 

The bad news is they are still learning. 😏

-------

The sharing of knowledge is a powerful thing.

These articles make a big difference to customers. 

Some of the topics, may not affect them directly but as a whole they do.

All these services (forum software companies), all talk the same. There's a strong focus on the software/service. They seldom go outside of this box. When you start talking about other areas that affect the success of communities, you start changing brand perception. People start seeing you as something other than a "forum software" company.

Please continue sharing articles outside the scope of your software.

I would love to see more advance topics such as SEO, marketing, retention, analytics, etc. I would also love to see real-world examples of how your customers are using specific apps such as Pages, Commerce, Calendar/Events, Downloads, etc. 

IPS is just the engine. You still need a driver. The more knowledgeable they are the more successful they become.

In turn, you help create loyal customers.

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Makes sense, as my site is based on this very topic/genre and fandom. I'm going to the attraction in Watford in April, so I think I'll do this very thing and have a reviews sytem on my site.

Thanks @Matt!

JKR and the Potter series are not well recieved on christian forums/sites. Makes some what of an interesting read on a late night.... The Things they come out with!

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6 hours ago, GTServices said:

The good news is that brands are now more aware of the importance in having a "community". 

The bad news is they are still learning. 😏

-------

The sharing of knowledge is a powerful thing.

These articles make a big difference to customers. 

Some of the topics, may not affect them directly but as a whole they do.

All these services (forum software companies), all talk the same. There's a strong focus on the software/service. They seldom go outside of this box. When you start talking about other areas that affect the success of communities, you start changing brand perception. People start seeing you as something other than a "forum software" company.

Please continue sharing articles outside the scope of your software.

I would love to see more advance topics such as SEO, marketing, retention, analytics, etc. I would also love to see real-world examples of how your customers are using specific apps such as Pages, Commerce, Calendar/Events, Downloads, etc. 

IPS is just the engine. You still need a driver. The more knowledgeable they are the more successful they become.

In turn, you help create loyal customers.

Thanks again for the thoughtful reply. I absolutely agree that there’s more to a community than just the code that powers it. 

Theres so much to learn and discuss. I’m asking for case studies from some of our clients so we can dig in and see what made them successful. 

4 hours ago, Dean_ said:

Makes sense, as my site is based on this very topic/genre and fandom. I'm going to the attraction in Watford in April, so I think I'll do this very thing and have a reviews sytem on my site.

Thanks @Matt!

JKR and the Potter series are not well recieved on christian forums/sites. Makes some what of an interesting read on a late night.... The Things they come out with!

Go for it! Reviews are great for SEO and always get good engagement!

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Please give credit for this information from me 😎.

Currently host a support club too help others. Your welcome to copy and past this information to your forums.

Welcome to Peer-to-Peer support.
"Eight Keys to being a great club manager ."

Set Yourself up for Success
Learn the features

  Use the tools to make it a place people want to be
  In two sentences, describe what you want your group to do.
  Now in one more, explain why your group is unique. You've just written your
  group description. Don't forget to spell check.

Image is Everything
Use graphics to make your main page eye-catching
  Put some photos in the photo album that will encourage others to add theirs.
  Use short snappy headlines that include a call to action.
  Put up links directly to a few hot discussions.

  • Talk tips and how-to's with other managers.
  • Check out the best. Cool Clubs!
  • Want to do more with your clubs? Get web design help.

Make Everything One Click Away
Make it easy for people to get to the goodies
  Add links on both the left column and the main page to a great message thread or
  great photo.
  Find a group you admire? Exchange links with the manager.
  Build on your members' common interests by asking them to post their fa
vorite links.

Message Boards Build Relationships
Those relationships are what keeps people coming back for more
  Spark debate and comment by posting provocative questions.
  Direct a query to someone you know has a strong opinion.
  Be sure to delete inappropriate messages: keep your discussions on point.

  • Get feedback from other Club Managers.       
  • Create a great Club!
  • Build something fun to discover.

Flaunt it if You've Got it
Publicity adds life -- and members -- to your clubs
  Use the invite feature to get friends and family to join.
  Make sure to add keywords so search engines will pick up your group.
  Put your category in the appropriate category and choose the appropriate rating.

  • Cool 
  • Private 
  • Adult
  • Content Mature

FYI: Only Public and All Ages Groups will be promoted by people and chat. 

Leverage the Talents of Your Members
Tap into their potential to help you build a great site
Your members' design or Web skills might be better than yours. Ask them for help.


Ready for Chats?

  •   Do a poll to see if the regulars want scheduled chats.
  •   Bring in a special guest or choose someone from your group
  •   Who knows about the topic to run a special chat.

Club Management Don'ts

  1. Don't tolerate disrespectful behavior in your club 
  2. Don't violate copyright laws 
  3. Don't give spammers access to your members
Edited by mrbowers

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