The Guy reacted to Matt for an entry, Beyond the support desk
If your brand sells a product or service, the first thing that comes to mind as a benefit to building your community is support deflection.
And it's easy to see why. It's something you can quickly calculate an ROI for. Let's say every 20 hits to a public question with a solved answer from a client or team member equates to one less ticket. If a ticket costs $10 to solve on average, it's straightforward to see the value by calculating deflected tickets. Let's say your busy public support community had 20,000 hits a month; you've just saved $200,000 a month in support costs.
Great! But before you finish there, I want you to consider the rewards a brand community can offer.
A public support desk isn't a community. It's likely most of your customers join because of an issue with your product. They tap in some keywords on Google and come across your site. They see a bunch of solved questions like theirs, and they either get the fix and bounce out, or post and wait for a reply. With nothing to get them to come back, once they have the answer they'll likely bounce out then and only come back when they hit a new problem.
That's not a community. A community is a place where people return multiple times to collaborate, learn and grow together.
"[A brand community is] a group of people who share an identity and a mutual concern for one another's welfare - who participate in shared experiences that are shaped by a brand." - Carrie Melissa Jones
For that, you need to look beyond the support desk and expand into more use cases, and there are compelling reasons to do this.
Allowing your customers to share their experiences with your products can lead to unique brand stories that reinforce bonds between members and creates social solidarity in the community.
A few years ago, I remember reading a post on a travel community. A family were flying with Delta and their son who has autism was becoming more and more distressed with the change in routine for that day. A Delta employee saw this and came and spoke with the family, helped settle the boy and ensured they boarded early to avoid the crush of passengers.
It's a small moment of kindness that wouldn't make headlines, but it was very memorable for this family; enough so that they posted about it. This post had numerous replies in praise for the airline and no doubt made many of them think of Delta when booking their next flight.
"[Social solidarity is] not just passive tolerance but felt concern for what is individual and particular about the other person." - Alex Honneth "The Struggle for Recognition"
All those stories, connections and moments build social capital and loyalty for your brand.
Your customers are already talking about your product. Some of it will be good, and some of it won't be good. They are already talking about it on social media, and in numerous communities, they belong to.
If you do not have space within your community for your customers to leave feedback, then you're missing out on a massive benefit. You get a chance to address negative feedback before it spills out further into the public domain. Likewise, positive feedback makes for compelling customer success stories.
Feedback is a great way to crowdsource innovation and to guide sales and marketing on how your customers are using your products and where the gaps are.
Owning your niche
Allowing space for conversations relating to your product makes good sense. If you sold a fitness tracker, then it makes good sense to have areas for discussions revolving around wellness areas such as sleep, diet and exercise.
Likewise, a mobile phone network will do well having areas related to the various brands of mobile phones.
"There is status that comes from community. It is the status of respect in return for contribution for caring for seeing and being in sync with others. Especially others with no ability to repay you." - Seth Godin
Creating these spaces encourages return visits beyond direct support for the product.
Those return visits are what makes your community a community.
The Guy reacted to Matt for an entry, Happy 16th Birthday To Us!
This month, we turn sweet sixteen!
We made our own card this year.
I know, it's hard to believe with our youthful looks and energetic personalities, but it's true. Charles and I have known each other longer than I've known my own children and we still make each other laugh on a daily basis.
Over the past 16 years we've seen a lot of trends come and go.
When we started, AOL dial-up was the preferred method of choice (and probably the only method of choice). Compuserve were flying high and I think I'll stop this walk down memory lane before I turn into my own grandfather and start talking about how things were better in my day.
A lot has changed. We've seen the rise of social media and how it disrupted habits. We've seen MP3 players become iPods, and iPods become iPhones and iPhones become iPads (other digital devices are also available).
It's crazy to think that our company pre-dates Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
Click on this image to see it unless you have excellent eyesight
We're still here because we are always innovating and adapting. The software we're working on right now is vastly different from the one we started out with. And that is how it should be. We listen to our customers and we implement the great ideas.
Of course, we'd not have lasted a year without our customers. We're genuinely thrilled to still be doing a job we love and serving customers who have trusted their community with us.
Thank you all for choosing us and we're looking forward to the next 16 years.
The Guy reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.3: REST API Enhancements
"No man is an island" wrote John Donne. He wrote that a good 200 years before computers were invented, but it rings true for any well written framework like Invision Community.
The included REST API allows developers to fetch data from Invision Community and also allows data to be added.
This data can be used to power widgets on your website, or to be used within other applications you are already using in a very simple way.
Several enhancements have been made to the REST API for Invision Community 4.3 that we wanted to let you know about.
These changes are developer-oriented, so if you do not use the REST API with your community please feel free to skip this update.
If you would like to learn more about the REST API available with Invision Community, please see our REST documentation.
As previously noted, you can now perform searches through the REST API. You can perform searches based on keywords, tags, or both, and you can limit and filter results with parameters similar to when you perform a regular search on the site (e.g. to specific containers, returning only results over a set number of comments, or searching within clubs).
Several REST API endpoints are now permission-aware when combined with Oauth functionality built into Invision Community 4.3. This means that many REST API endpoints can be called using a specific user's access token, and only results that the specific user would normally be able to see will be returned (and/or they will only be able to submit to areas they normally have permission to).
Ability to search members
While an endpoint has always been available to retrieve (and add/edit/delete) members, the ability to search for members has now been implemented. You can search by name, email address, and (one or more) group(s), and a paginated response will be returned.
You can now start a new private conversation, reply to an existing private conversation, and delete a private conversation through the REST API.
Other REST API changes
You can now specify member's secondary groups when adding or updating a member through the REST API. You can specify the member's registration IP address through the REST API when adding or updating a member. You can now specify other member properties not directly exposed through the REST API when adding or updating a member by setting the rawProperties input field. You can now specify other member properties to retrieve through the REST API through the otherFields request parameter. The REST API now better logs changes to member accounts (so you will be able to more easily identify how a user's name, email address, password, etc. has changed when looking at the member history). You can now retrieve all content a member is following through the REST API, as well as follow a new container/content item, and delete an existing follow. You can now validate an account through the REST API You can now specify a 'perPage' parameter for paginated responses to control how many items are returned per page.
Most of these changes were directly culled from client feedback and implemented per specific requests. If there are other REST API changes you would like to see implemented please don't hesitate to leave your feedback!
The Guy reacted to Matt for an entry, January Wrap Up
What an exciting month we've had!
The big news is that it's all systems go on Invision Community 4.3, our big update to our apps.
We've already talked about Automatic Community Moderation, Emoji, Sign in from other sites using OAuth, blog updates, Scaleable search and interface improvements, Apple Pay (and more) support, Paid club memberships, and other club improvements and massive gallery updates.
Our team take a short breather to discuss their hidden talents, including the ability to solve a Rubik's cube in under two minutes.
In our community management series, we look at how you can brand your Invision Community in just a few minutes without knowing how to code.
This month's featured articles are:
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