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GTServices

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  1. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, What's new in 4.6.0?   
    Well, friends, what a journey we've been on since we started work on Invision Community 4.6.0.
    With 11 developers accumulating 934 commits over 3,157 files changing 120,281 lines of code, we're ready to show it to the world.
    Along with over 260 bug fixes, this new release contains some great new functionality. Let's take a look at what's new.
    Achievements
    Achievements, badges, ranks, rules, gamification, whatever you want to call it, this is the most significant feature for Invision Community 4.6.0. This brings a whole new level of earning and showing trust to other members while gently nudging more quality contributions to your community.
     
    Zapier integration
    Do you want new member registrations to magically appear in a Google spreadsheet? Perhaps you want members who opt-in for newsletters to be added to Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign. Cloud and Enterprise customers can do all this and more without writing a single line of code, thanks to Zapier.
     
    Web app and push notifications
    We took the time to round out our PWA (progressive web application) framework for 4.6.0 to include service workers, push notifications and more. I barely understand it, but Rikki takes you through the changes in our blog entry.
     
    Anonymous posting
    For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community.
     
    Solved content
    In Invision Community 4.6.0, we have rounded out our "solved" feature by allowing the feature to be enabled on a regular forum, along with notifications, statistics and more.
     
    Show when a team member has replied
    When you're scanning a list of topics, it's helpful to know when a community team member has replied, as these replies tend to have more authority and are more likely to resolve an issue. 4.6.0 adds a feature to show when a member of the team has replied.
     
    Health dashboard
    As Invision Community is a top of the line community platform with excellent developers and an amazing QA team, it's unlikely ever to go wrong. On the infrequent occasions that you need to identify potential issues within your community, the new health dashboard makes it easier to diagnose problems and request support.
     
    Spam improvements
    Our Enterprise customers run very visible and very busy communities. One of the pain points they had was identifying and limiting the annoyance of spam within the community. We created a new round of improvements based on that feedback to mitigate spam, and these changes are available to all Invision Community owners with 4.6.0.
    Cloud and Enterprise customers will also benefit from multiple under-the-hood optimisations for our cloud platform, including better caching of resources for faster response times.
    Let me know in the comments which feature you're looking forward to the most!
  2. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, Highlight Topics With Replies From Groups   
    Wouldn't it be great to know if a staff member had replied to a topic before you clicked to open it?
    When you're scanning a list of topics, knowing which have had a reply by a member of the community team can help decide which to read. Currently, you need to open the topic and scan the posts to see if there's a reply from the team.
    Happily, in our next release, we've made it clear which have had a reply by a member of a specific group.
    You can specify which groups to show as having replied via the Groups form in the Admin CP.

    The per-group setting in the Admin CP
    You can select to detect the group based on the member's primary group, secondary group or both.
    When viewing a list of topics, you will see a badge showing that a member of that group has replied.

    This simple feature will make it easier to highlight when important replies have been made to topics, which is a great addition for forums using the new 'solved' feature.

    Let me know below if you'll use this new feature and what you'd like to see in the future.
  3. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, 3 Improvements to Spam Management in 4.6   
    Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting.
    But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online; I wanted to talk about three spam improvements coming to Invision Community 4.6.
    As you may be aware, Invision Community has its own Spam Defense functionality, which uses a mixture of crowdsourced data, publicly available data and our own special sauce to help reduce the number of spam accounts that get through the registration system. Invision Community also has several other tools to mitigate spam post-registration.
    These tools have served us well, but as spammers evolve, so must our systems. Here's what's coming to our next release.
    Spam Defense Scoring
    I can't divulge too much on our Spam Defense system lest we give spammers targeting Invision Community information that can assist them. Still, we have made several changes to our Spam Defense system.  These include rebalancing the score thresholds, checking against known TOR networks and proxies and using other data in the public domain to inform our scoring decisions.
    Spam Defense Blocking
    The current implementation of our Spam Defense only allows options to either prevent registration entirely or put the registration in an approval queue. However, the days when Spam Bots stood out from normal registrations are long gone, and it's hard to know if an account in an approval queue is legitimate or not.
    In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published.

    This reduces the decision burden and makes it easier to take a chance on a low score from the Spam Defense system and review their posts before they are made public.
    Word Filters
    We have added a new option to the Word Filters to allow content containing specific words or phrases to be held for moderator approval where the author has less than a set threshold of posts.
    For example, you may notice an increase in spam targeting "CBD Oil" and add it to the word filter list to hold the content for moderator approval. This works great and captures a good number of spam posts; however, your regular members get frustrated when they want to talk about CDB Oil in their posts.
    This new option allows you to set a trust level for allowing these words to be used without capturing them for approval.

    We hope these three changes to our spam controls will reduce the level of spam you get in your community!
    I'd love to know what's the weirdest spam (that is safe for work!) you've seen in your community.
  4. Thanks
    GTServices reacted to Jordan Invision for an entry, Drum roll please… announcing Achievements!   
    One of the overarching goals for any community leader is to shine a bright light on your members. Their contributions should be publicly recognized. Now with Invision Community’s new Achievements system... you can!
    Achievements is Invision Community’s native gamification system baked into our latest update, 4.6. 
    We’ve dreamed up innovative actions for community leaders to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways.
    Award Points and badges based on conditional Rules!
    Here’s what you need to know...

     

    Points
    Our Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members may earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community. 
    Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!!
    This is done through creating Rules.

     

    Rules
    Rules are actionable processes set up in the admin panel. 
    Here are what members can earn Points for:
    When a...
    Member joins a club Reaction is given New poll is created User follows a content item Review is posted Member logs in for the first time that day New club is created Content item/comment is promoted or featured Comment/reply is posted User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc User votes on a poll User is followed New content item is posted Post is marked as best answer There are also corresponding When/Then Rules for each item listed above. 
    When this action happens, then this subsequent action happens.
    Example: when a member posts 10 times, then this Badge is awarded.
     

     
     

    Badges
    Community leaders can also create specific Rules when deciding what actions earn Badges. 
    For example, reward your members with a Badge for visiting your community for 20 days.
    Once a member reaches 20 visits or more over 20 days, the Achievements system will automatically award them a ‘20 Visits’ Badge you’ve previously created.
     

     
     
    Ranks
    In 4.6, we’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements. 
    Achievements’ Ranks system will replace our previous Ranks system*
    Set up different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Ranks display a members’ perceived value to the community. The higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated. 
    Ranks are currently for prestige at the moment. 
    Here's our example for a pretend Coconut community:
     
     

     

    There’s a lot of information to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this blog post it’s this: empower your contributing members with Achievements and watch your community grow. It creates an immersive and elevated experience for your die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn? 
    When 4.6 and Achievements is officially released for all, we’ll hold a live Q&A event for you to join and ask any questions you may have.
    Props? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off in the comments! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!
  5. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, Updates to our community   
    You’ve probably already noticed that something looks a little different in our community today.
    As part of our ongoing community improvements, we’ve performed some housekeeping to streamline the forum structure, make more distinction between areas and open up a few areas to guests and friends.
    The big visual change is that we now have four separate areas: support, community, marketplace and developers. It should hopefully be clear what each section does, but let's go through a few examples.
    Support
    This area is where you can leave feedback on existing features, help shape Invision Community’s future by suggesting new functionality and also where you can get quick support from fellow Invision Community owners and our team.
    Starting today, you can post in the Help & Support forum to get help from our team. If you’re unsure what a feature does, or think you’ve spotted an issue that needs our help, then you’re welcome to start a topic. Of course, if you want private support, then you are welcome to create a ticket in the client area as normal.
    Community
    Even the most seasoned community manager needs a little help from time to time. This section is the place to ask about strategy, to blow off steam in the lounge or to ask for fellow owners to help with support requirements outside of official support, such as configuring servers, databases and so on.
    Marketplace
    Our Marketplace brings hundreds of new features, themes, language translations and plug-ins to your Invision Community. If you need support or have a request for something you’ve purchased from the Marketplace, drop into the forums here.
    Developers
    Invision Community is blessed with a strong developer community extending the rich functionality of Invision Community. If you’re looking to develop an idea for Invision Community, these forums will let you connect with our development team to answer questions as well as get help from other marketplace authors.
    Other Changes
    There are a few other changes of note that I’d like to go through. Firstly, ‘Visitors’ (that is a registered member without an active license) are now ‘Friends’. Who doesn’t need new friends? Guests and Friends can now view the official support forums, but cannot post a new support request or reply to existing ones.

    We’ve merged ‘General Chat’ in with the Client Lounge to form ‘The Community Managers’ Lounge’. This is still a perk for active customers and the topics are not viewable unless you have an active license.
    Finally, we’ve gone through and spruced up some of the forum rules, descriptions and custom error messages.
    I hope these changes make it easier to find what you need and get a little help when you need it.
     
  6. Like
    GTServices reacted to Jordan Invision for an entry, No-code automation with Zapier   
    Cloud and Enterprise Community customers can create automated workflows between Invision Community and over 3,000 other apps including Google Documents, MailChimp, Facebook and Twitter with just a few clicks.
    If you haven’t integrated your Invision Community with Zapier yet, you’re leaving organic growth on the table!

    It’s been a wild year, so we’d like to refresh your memory regarding the very powerful Invision and Zapier marriage (hey, remember when weddings were a thing?). 
    Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 3,000 web apps. 
    Last year, Invision Community released the 4.5 update, and with it a beta service of Zapier integration.
    Zapier is the first smart community enhancement available for Cloud and Enterprise Community customers exclusively.
    It’s worth it’s weight in gold. Or, crypto? However we quantify value these days, Invision Community and Zapier together creates real value and has the potential to elevate your community (and bottom line). 
    If you haven’t yet set up Zapier, you can follow our guide to creating your first ‘Zap’ with Invision Community.
    As @Matt previously mentioned in our announcement post, the Invision and Zapier integration can communicate with some of the Internet’s most wide-reaching platforms, including Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more.
    There are three key items we want to highlight:
    Triggers Actions Self-integration Triggers: Invision → Zapier

    A “trigger” takes place when there’s a specified signal in your community. For instance, a member registering or a topic being posted. 
    A trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps.
    Here are a few examples:
    When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators. Actions: Zapier → Invision

    An “action” is similar to a “trigger” in that there’s movement, but it happens by setting up an action in Zapier first which then tells your community to perform X action. 
    Whereas a “trigger” happens by setting up an action in your Invision community first, which then tells Zapier to perform X action.
    Here are some examples to wrap your mind around:
    When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community. When a new member registers, add them to your mailing list via MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, etc. Self-integrated: Invision → Invision

    We also included a self-integrated option that allows community owners to connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum.
    In a nutshell:
    Triggers = Invision talks to → Zapier, then Zapier takes action.
    Actions = Zapier talks to → Invision, then Invision takes action.
    Self-integrated = Your Invision community talks to → your Invision community, then your Invision community takes action.
    If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below! I’m here to help you transform your Invision community into an engaging and efficient world with automated systems powered by Zapier. 
    Already on Zapier? What’s been your experience? Sound off and let us know what features you’ve utilized thus far and which triggers or actions you’d like to see for the future.
  7. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, Lessons from the Virus: Community Engagement from WHO   
    The World Health Organization (WHO) is the world's most trusted source of information on international health, and a foremost partner to public health agencies combating the coronavirus.  They also understand the critical need for risk communication and community engagement to respond to the coronavirus pandemic -- a valuable strategy that any online community can adopt in these volatile times.  
    In March of this year as the coronavirus was already rampaging across nations, WHO published a series of guidance for risk communication and community engagement.  One of the major lessons they learned during some of the most perilous outbreaks including SARS, Ebola, and MERS was that community engagement was a critical factor in the success of containing any pandemic.  

    Here are 3 best practices from the World Health Organization that can help online communities navigate any crisis.  
    INFODEMICS
    One of the biggest problems hampering the effective treatment of coronavirus, or any major disruptive event in a community, is the excessive abundance of information - an "infodemic" from multiple and untrustworthy sources that reduces trust in any advice.  The flood of information can quickly overwhelm any at-risk population.  
    Community leaders need to proactively communicate.  As WHO recommends, "One of the most important and effective interventions to any event is to proactively communicate what is known, what is unknown, and what is being done to get more information."  Communication from community leaders establishes the chain of communication and establishes themselves as a source of credible information.  By getting out in front of disruptive events and staying in regular communication with your members, you build trust and ensure that proper advice will be followed.  
    PERCEPTIONS OF RISK 
    Different groups of people perceive the same problem differently.  In the case of coronavirus, WHO discovered that certain segments of the population didn't understand the risk of the virus as much as they should have - a gap of knowledge that effective communication would have addressed for different populations.  Part of the goal of WHO's risk communication and community engagement is to "help transform and deliver complex scientific knowledge so that it is understood by and trusted by populations and communities."  
    Community leaders need to tailor their communication to sub-groups.  While regular announcements and general updates are important for the community at-large, it leaves knowledge gaps for different sub-groups of your community membership: clients need to be informed of service interruptions; vendors need to be informed of supply chain disruptions; superusers need to know how to direct users for help.  Different stakeholders have differing needs, and each group requires customized and tailored communication to best navigate through the crisis.  
    ADDRESSING THE UNKNOWN & MISINFORMATION
    One of WHO's recommended actions for leaders was to be prepared to communicate about the first coronavirus case, even before the full picture was known.  Even today, much is unknown and data is still being compiled about coronavirus.  But in a digital world where misinformation gets mixed in with the ease of a tweet or share, it's more important than ever to communicate factually while acknowledging uncertainty.
    Address uncertainty by systematically collecting questions and providing answers to all questions.  In the beginning of any crisis, you won't have all the answers and events will still be unfolding.  It's critical to establish an early dialogue with your community to gather concerns from members, to monitor for misinformation, and to systematically compile questions into a FAQ. 

    Source:   Risk communication and community engagement readiness and response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Interim guidance 19 March 2020. World Health Organization.  
     
    On behalf of the entire IPS team, we wish our clients well wishes during these difficult times!  
     
    Executive Summary
    Problems of crisis: infodemics with excess information, different perceptions of risk among sub-groups, and uncertainty with misinformation. Solutions for community leaders: proactive communication, customized communication, and addressing uncertainty.  
  8. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, Welcome to Invision Community 4.5   
    We've been on a little journey together since we announced the first Invision Community 4.5 feature way back in November 2019.
    The first feature we announced was a revamped Admin Control Panel interface which created more visual space and brightened it up. Actually, we made it so bright that the first feature request was to add a dark mode (which we did).
    In the space of three short months, we had spoken about Club improvements, invites and referrals, RSS feed improvements, blog categories, the simple stock photo picker, search insights, security enhancements, user interface updates, new statistic views, and notification improvements.
    Most will agree that March and April seemed to last months, thanks to a global pandemic. We used these extra days to talk about marking posts as a solution, topic view summary, Zapier integration, forum view updates, post-installation onboarding, private staff notes, page builder widgets, theme designer improvements, a new default theme, language system updates and everything else we missed.
    We have also revamped the front end user interface to modernise the look and feel but also to introduce new CSS frameworks, variables and other time-saving features our design team have been eager to implement.

    On the subject of modernisation, we've deprecated some legacy functionality. We've given up trying to make anything look good with IE11 which last saw an update in 2013. We've also deprecated older caching engines like Memcache, APC and Wincache and recommend using Redis instead. The web hosting and domain management features of Commerce are also deprecated as is BBCode. BBCode has its roots in the earliest bulletin-board systems long before rich text editors were common use. It's 2020; we should no longer be asked to type in special codes in square brackets to format text. BBCode is still functional in Invision Community 4.5, but it is likely to be removed in a future version.
    Now that primary development has finished, we move onto the beta testing stage. This is where you get to try it out and evaluate the new features before scheduling your own upgrades.
    As always, we do recommend that you only test early betas on staging sites or simple test sites. Many a weekend has been ruined by over-enthusiastic upgrading of live sites; so we don't recommend that.
    You'll also notice that we're running Invision Community 4.5 on our own site. If you do spot an issue, please let us know in the bug tracker.
    I've been creating and releasing products for close to twenty years now, and I still get a real buzz out of hitting the release button. It's always a pleasure to see the result of hundreds of hours of coding, dozens of meetings and numerous passionate exchanges among the team.

    You can access the beta in your client area.
    We hope you enjoy Invision Community 4.5!
  9. Like
    GTServices reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 4.5: One More Thing...   
    Almost ten years ago we launched the Marketplace; a place to connect Invision Community owners with talented developers creating new functionality.
    Over the decade, the Marketplace has grown to hold thousands of applications, large and small. For many Invision Community owners, the Marketplace has become an essential resource.
    Our aim was always to have the Marketplace available inside your Admin Control Panel to make it even easier to purchase and install extra functionality.

    I'm pleased to say that as of Invision Community 4.5, this is now a reality. You can browse the Marketplace and install new add-ons without leaving the Admin Control Panel.

    Obtaining Resources
    Paid resources can be purchased directly from the Marketplace and are available to install immediately after the payment is complete. You no longer need to download and install the files yourself.
    You may also notice some additional information with the resource listing, we'll be introducing a new 'tab' to marketplace resources to allow the authors to provide more useful information such as answers to frequently asked questions, or configuration instructions etc.

    The video below takes you through the purchase and installation of a Marketplace application.
    marketplace-install.mp4
    Installing an Application
    Updates
    Some of the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed in the first screenshot that there are more 'bubbles' showing in the menu on the left. These are supported for Applications, Plugins, Themes and Languages.
    In Invision Community 4.5 every resource available via the AdminCP is automatically versioned, you will see update notifications for everything you have installed (previously, you would only see update notices if the resource author supports them).
    Installing an update is as simple as clicking on the update notice, then clicking 'update' on the Marketplace listing.

    Installing Updates
    Downloads Changes
    Our Marketplace is built on our Downloads application, during development of this feature we needed to add new functionality. We have included as many of these improvements as possible in our software for the benefit of our customers, some of these are:
    Custom Fields can now be set to only show to members that have purchased a file. Files can now be set to accept a single file upload instead of multiple. New file versions can now be moderated without hiding the current version from view. Downloads REST API Performance Improvements New /download endpoint that counts the download Added more data to the /downloads/file/{id} response Ability to sort file results by last updated date We hope you're as excited about this feature as we are.
  10. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Two feature additions   
    As the deadline slowly comes down, two last feature additions race towards the descending door and slide in underneath with seconds to spare. 
    If you've never seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark", then you probably think this is a weird way to start a blog.
    As we wrap up development for Invision Community 4.5, we squeezed in two extra features that I want to talk about today.
    Per Topic Post Approval
    The first is a way to cool down a heated topic without locking it. Right now you can put an entire forum on post-approval. This means that moderators must review and approve all new posts before they are allowed to be publicly displayed.
    As of Invision Community 4.5, you can now choose to set a single topic to post-approval regardless of the forum setting.

    This is a great way to let a topic cool off but still receive new replies to review before adding to the topic.
    Club Terms and Conditions
    The ways that clubs are used throughout the many communities that run Invision Community are becoming increasingly varied.
    A popular request is to allow members to agree to a set of club-specific terms and conditions before they can contribute to the club.

    Invision Community 4.5 now allows the club owner to set up its own terms and conditions. You can optionally enforce that members agree to them before continuing.
    That's it for feature announcements. We're excited to be closing development on Invision Community 4.5 and move towards a beta in the coming weeks.
  11. Like
    GTServices 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.
    Shared experiences
    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.
    Feedback
    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.
  12. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, Test drive Invision Community 4.5   
    We started talking about Invision Community 4.5 way back in November of last year. Now, less than six months later, it's ready for you to test.
    While we put the finishing touches to a few features, we have set up a preview site so you can test out the new features, leave your feedback and make a note of any bugs you spot.
    Head over now to the Invision Community Alpha test site.
    Please be aware that this test site is running in 'development mode' so it is automatically updated with the latest fixes throughout the day. This means it has to work extra hard on each click as there are no caches, pre-built languages or templates to use, so it will be a lot slower than a production version. So please don't worry about it being a touch slow, and definitely don't try and run Page Speed analysis tools on the alpha site!
    You can read about the headline features over in our product updates blog.
    Let us know what you think!
  13. Like
    GTServices reacted to Ryan Ashbrook for an entry, 4.5: Language System Updates   
    Ever since Invision Community 4.0, there has been a huge focus on making communities multi-lingual by providing translation features inside the AdminCP.
    We have received a lot of feedback on our multi-lingual and translation tools over the past year, and we're happy to announce these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5.

    Pages Phrase Tools
    If you have the Pages application, you can also use these phrases in HTML pages and HTML Blocks without needing to visit the translation tools area. Simply use the tag editor in the sidebar when editing a page or block's contents.



    The new phrases sidebar options
    You can quickly create new multi-lingual phrases by clicking the + icon.

    The new add phrase dialog
    Additionally, WYSIWYG Blocks have now been made translatable, so you can now create WYSIWYG blocks that will display their content in specific languages.
    Translation Tools
    Language pack creators can now set a version update URL which is checked to notify admins within the AdminCP that an update available, just like the theme system. This is a great way to notify customers when fixes are available.

    Finally, you can now quickly add a new phrase from the Translation Tools page without the need to use the developer tools.

    The new "Add Phrase" option

    These little changes should make a huge difference in your workflow, and make it easier than ever to create fully multi-lingual pages throughout your site.
  14. Like
    GTServices reacted to Rikki for an entry, 4.5: Improvements for theme designers   
    If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2.
    With the upcoming release of 4.5, we wanted to revisit the default theme and give it a facelift for 2020, as well as make incremental improvements to the underlying codebase as a stepping stone to a bigger re-engineering in a future version. Keep an eye out for our next blog for more on the facelift.
    In this entry, I want to go over some of the design and code-level changes we've implemented that will be of particular interest to third-party theme designers, or those building a custom theme for their community.
    IE11 Support
    Until now, we've supported IE11 as a 'B' browser - meaning we didn't aim for perfect support (especially visually), but did aim to make all functionality work, and we fixed IE11-specific issues if possible.
    As of 4.5, we no longer support IE11 in any way and Invision Community will not work well in that browser. By removing support for IE11, we are able to make use of newer CSS technologies which significantly eases development for us and third-party designers. I'll discuss some of those below.
    Combined theme settings
    We've combined a number of existing theme settings into one new setting. We've found that settings like poll_bar, step_background, rating_hover and so on are nearly always set to the same color - typically the site's main brand color. These settings have therefore been replaced with one new brand_color setting, which is used throughout the CSS in places where this primary color would be needed. This will simplify the early stages of theme development and make it easier to match branding in Invision Community.

    Front end colors
    Removing hardcoded colors
    While our theme settings have allowed community owners to change most colors, there were still many hardcoded in our CSS framework. These were typically neutral colors used for things like 'close' links, semi-transparent backgrounds and so on, but it was enough to make creating a dark theme an unrealistic prospect without an awful lot of effort (and kudos to those designers who have offered dark themes up until now!).
    In 4.5, we've removed hardcoded colors from our framework, and instead rely on colors already defined by theme settings. You can now, finally, create a dark theme just by editing the built-in theme settings.
    Type scale & {fontsize} tag
    While we've had fixed type-size classes (e.g. ipsType_normal) for a long time, in practice many elements had their own font sizes set. This leads to inconsistency and poor visual rhythm too. Another side effect is it was also tough to globally change the font size (such as for branding purposes, or to create a theme for visually-impaired users).
    To solve these problems, we first created a type scale; that is, a fixed number of sizes to choose from. A product the size of Invision Community does have need for a flexibility, so we settled on the following scale:
    x_small: 12; small: 13; medium: 14; base: 16; large: 18; x_large: 20; 2x_large: 24; 3x_large: 30; 4x_large: 36.
    All of these values are editable as theme settings, so each theme can adjust the type scale used. Our default CSS in 4.5 has been fully updated to put all type on this scale.
    To actually make use of these settings, we have added a new {fontsize} tag which accepts either a scale key, or a specific pixel size (for those occasional situations where a specific size is absolutely needed, e.g. icons).
    Why couldn't we just use {theme="x_small"}, or even CSS variables? To solve the problem of globally scaling text, we have also added a percentage-based scale setting that will save you from having to create your own type scale. The {fontsize} tag automatically applies the global scale to any values passed into it. Want text in your theme to be twice as big as default? Simply set the global type scale to 200% and the entire theme will reflect the change immediately. 

    The new font size options
    Spacing scale
    The lack of a consistent spacing scale has led to some arbitrary values being used in any given situation, which again has had a negative impact on the visual harmony of our design. We've therefore implemented a 4px spacing scale (using CSS variables rather than theme settings this time) and applied across almost all padding/margin values. In time, we anticipate fully switching all measurement values to the scale.
    New CSS class families
    We have added a range of new spacing classes for padding and margins, allowing far more control over how these are applied, especially on different device sizes. Previously, ipsPad (15px) was simply halved on small screens - with no 'opt-out' short of adding specific CSS. We've felt this has been imprecise for some time, especially since mobile devices typically have larger screens in 2020 and don't need to be so tightly-spaced.
    ipsPad_all now replaces the existing ipsPad, and does not halve itself on small screens. Instead, there's a new responsive naming convention that allows you to apply specific padding on specific device sizes:
    ipsPad_all:double md:ipsPad_all sm:ipsPad_all:half
    In this arbitrary example, desktop size (the default) get double padding, medium (tablets) get regular padding and small (phones) get half padding.
    We've added similar classes for top, bottom, left and right padding, as well as horizontal, vertical and none (to removing all padding) shortcuts.
    For margins, the old ipsSpacer_* classes have been replaced with a new ipsMargin family that work exactly the same as the padding classes above, with the same range of flexibility.
    The old ipsPad/ipsSpacer classes will continue working as they did before for backwards compatibility, but should be considered deprecated from 4.5 onwards.
    We've also added a whole range of new ipsFlex classes, also with responsive controls (making it easy to have horizontal layouts on desktop and vertical layouts on mobile, for example), as well as a new ipsGap utility that automatically adds spacing between elements, without requiring manual :first-child/:last-child exclusions.
    CSS variables & calc()
    In 4.5, thanks to IE11 support ending, we're finally making use of CSS variables and calc() to make CSS more maintainable and easier to customize. A lot of repeating or often-customized styles - such as form field styles, message colors, card styles, border radii etc. - are now created as CSS variables, allowing theme designers to easily change styling in one place. Instead of magic numbers, we either stick to our spacing scale, or use calc() to avoid hardcoded numbers.
    The future
    The work we've done so far is just a 'first-pass'. We'll be pressing forward with modernization throughout the 4.5.* series and beyond with a view to reducing our footprint, improving our ability to maintain our CSS and, of course, making theming easier for our customers.
  15. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Page Builder Widgets   
    Invision Community introduced drag and drop widgets many years ago. These widgets allowed anyone to add blocks to existing views, and to build up entirely new pages.
    These widgets were great for quickly adding content to a page, but they weren't incredibly customizable. 
    For Invision Community 4.5, we've added three new Page Builder widgets which allow you a little more control.
    For an overview of this new feature, please take a look at the video below.
    As you can see, these new widgets offer a lot of customization without the need to code any CSS or HTML. You can add background colours and images, adjust padding and borders and even add colour overlays right from the widget menu.

    The new Page Builder widget options
    Blandness be gone! Now you can let your creativity loose on your pages and all other views that have the drag and drop zones.
    I'd love to know what you think of this new feature; please let me know below!
  16. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Topic view summary and more   
    A topic is more than a collection of posts; it's a living entity that ebbs and flows over time.
    Evergreen topics can see month-long gaps between posts and longer topics spanning numerous pages can end up hard to navigate through to find useful content.
    With this in mind, we've added numerous improvements to the topic view to bring context and summaries key areas within the topic.

    Topic view updates
    Topic Activity
    The first thing you likely spotted in the above screenshot is the new sidebar. This acts much like a summary of activity within the topic. It very quickly lets you know how old the topic is and how long it has been since the last reply. This context is essential if you are unwittingly replying to an older topic.
    Most topics are driven by a handful of key members. The topic activity section shows you who have been most active, which may influence which posters you give greater authority to.
    Likewise, popular days lets you dig into the 'meat' of the topic which may have evolved quickly over several days.
    More often than not, a single post attracts more reactions if it is particularly helpful or insightful, and this is shown too.
    Finally, a mini gallery of all upload images allows you to review media that has been attached to posts.

    The topic activity summary under the first post
    This activity bar can be shown either as a sidebar or underneath the first post in a topic. If you enable it for mobile devices, then it will show under the first post automatically.

    The topic activity summary on mobile
    As with many new features in Invision Community, you have several controls in the Admin CP to fine-tune this to your communities needs.

    AdminCP settings
    Other improvements
    The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a few other changes to the topic view.
    The first is the badge underneath the user's photo. The shield icon notes that this poster is part of the moderation team. Of course, this badge can be hidden for communities that do not like to draw attention to all their moderators.

    You will also notice that when the topic starter makes a reply to a topic, they get an "author" badge as their reply may carry more authority.
    When you scroll down a topic, it's not often apparent that there has been a significant time gap between replies. For some topical topics (see what I did there) this may alter the context of the conversation.
    We have added a little identifier between posts when a period of time has passed between posts.

    These changes add a little context to the topic to give you more insight into how the replies direct the conversation.
    The new topic activity summary gives you an at-a-glance overview of key moments and posters to help you navigate longer topics.
    We hope that you and your members enjoy these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5!
  17. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Notification Improvements   
    Notifications are a crucial feature in enticing members back to your community to read updates and post their replies.
    It makes sense that there should be as little friction as possible when setting up notifications. We want to encourage members to enable notifications relevant to them.
    The current notifications form in Invision Community is functional but overwhelming and confusing for new members.
    Thankfully, we have simplified it to make it clear what notifications are available and which you have enabled currently.
    This new settings page also includes support for our new mobile app and links to remove all email notifications.
    Notification Emails
    Notification emails are essential to re-engage a member. However, we found that when the email contained all of the post content return visits were not as frequent because the email provided all the information the member needed.
    In Invision Community 4.5, we've added an option to truncate the content of the email to encourage curious return visits and to reduce the chance that a confused member will attempt to post a reply via the email!

    What does the rest say?!
    Download's Notifications
    To receive notifications of new file updates it was previously necessary to follow files. This meant that you would also be notified of reviews and comments even if they were of no interest to you. From 4.5 we have added a separate button (send me version updates) so you have more control over the notifications you receive. 

    Send me version updates
    We've plenty of new features yet to announce for Invision Community 4.5, but improvements to common features make our lives a little easier and are just as welcome!

    Are you looking forward to finally making sense of notification choices? Let us know below!
  18. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, The Paradox of Choice: Why A Major Retail CEO Spent His First 100 Days Thinking About Can Openers   
    CEO Mark Triggon, previously the chief merchandising officer at Target, laid out his plans to turn around the beleaguered American retailer Bed Bath & Beyond.  Part of that plan was reducing the number of can openers from 12 to 3. 
    Sales rose. 
    In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tritton explained how tests conducted in his first few months at the company showed that less is more when it comes to product assortment.  “The big takeaway: Selling too many items in stores that are overcrowded leads to ‘purchase paralysis,” Mr. Tritton said. 
    Bed Bath & Beyond exploded across the American landscape in the 1990s and 2000’s with its focus on opening new “big box” stores for home merchandise where it was meant to be a category killer – consumers would shop in stores that offered them anything and everything.  It was famous for its floor-to-ceiling options, and a simple trip for a new shower curtain turned into a shopping spree for every room in the home.  In recent years though, that approach has soured on consumers.  A Business Insider reporter commented on her latest trip, “From our first steps in, the store was overwhelming. There was merchandise packed top to bottom on shelves that lined every wall.” 
    The tides have changed.  Consumers are being offered – and overwhelmed – with more choices than ever before.   
    PARADOX OF CHOICE
    One of the great benefits of the modern web is a proliferation of choice: choice in sprawling ideologies, choice in niche interests, and choice in shopping for thousands of products at a click of a button.  All of this, every day.  Unfortunately, that abundance of choice can stress and even paralyze our ability to make decisions. 
    Psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the term Paradox of Choice in a 2004 book by the same name, where he advanced the idea that eliminating consumer choices can reduce anxiety for shoppers.  In other words, instead of offering 12 options for can openers, offer 3 options.   
    What does this mean for online communities?
    LESS IS MORE
    Across the spectrum of communities and forums, some of the biggest critical mistakes are forum creep and feature bloat.  New features are mindlessly added thinking it will lead to higher engagement, new forums are added for every conceivable discussion, and design choices are automatically enabled at the default without aligning to your strategy. 
    Your initial goal is to sweep through your entire community and identify the areas that align with your community strategy.  For categories and boards that are low-value, low traffic, or not aligned with any strategic objectives, you should aggressively consolidate or eliminate. 
    There’s no hard rule when it comes to design choices, although 7 has been touted as a magic number for short-term human memory.  You can use this magic number across a range of design decisions. For example:
    At most 7 Reactions At most 7 Primary Menu options At most 7 major sections or content hubs THE JAM EXPERIMENT
    Choice overload can actually lead to less sales.  In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University and Mark Lepper of Stanford University led a much-recited study where they presented passerbys at a food market with two tables: one with 24 fruit jams, the other with 6 jams. 
    The one with 24 different jams generated more traffic to sample and taste.  But guess which table generated more sales?  The other table with fewer jams, which had ten times more purchases!   
    The moral of the story? At junctures of your member journey where you ask users to make a critical decision such as user information when registering, subscriptions, or selling products, don’t be the table with 24 jams to sample, but never able to sell.      
    BIG BOX & SMALL BOX
    Invision Community offers an interesting approach where you can act like both a “big box” community for your general audience and still offer “small box” cohesiveness for more intimate groups. The feature is called Clubs, which empowers smaller groups to form and split off from the main audience.  This is an especially consequential feature for mature and large communities looking to organically cultivate their next generation of engagement.   
    Indeed, this is a trend happening in a large way among next-gen consumers, who are realizing the perils of broadcasting and oversharing.  In a 2019 white paper “The New Rules of Social” led by youth creative agency ZAK, nearly two-thirds of the under-30 respondents said they prefer to talk in private message rather than open forums and feeds. Facebook themselves launched head-first towards social groups back in 2016 after the US Presidential election.  In a 6,000 word essay called "Building Global Community," Zuckerberg sermonized on the importance of building connections in meaningful groups:
    Forum administrators on Invision Community have been building meaningful communities since day one. When properly deployed, Clubs will allow you to cultivate – and retain – users in a more focused environment without the distractions of your larger community. 
    CONCLUSION
    For community managers and forum administrators who have run their Invision Communities for many years, you know first-hand that the power of community doesn’t come from adding another feature, another board, or another category.  Happiness and fulfillment come from actually connecting with members, through education, enlightenment, problem solving, and teamwork.  Overloading your community with theme options, excess reactions, and overbuilt boards get in the way of your true goal. 
    Become the CEO to reduce the overwhelming options of can openers.  Sell more jam by offering less of it.  And unfetter yourself from unnecessary choices to discover a clearer connection to your members.   
     
    Executive Summary
    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO declutters stores, sales rise Concept of paradox of choice: users can become overwhelmed and stressed when presented with too many options Jam experiment: table with more jams gets more traffic, but table of less jams gets more sales For large and established communities, use Clubs to offer intimate and uncluttered experiences.
  19. Like
    GTServices reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.5: Search Insights   
    Every single day, your members are searching your community for answers or interesting conversations to join.
    Wouldn't it be great if you could learn what is being searched for to identify hot issues, commonly asked questions and discover trends?
    We thought so too, which is why Invision Community 4.5 comes with search statistics.
    For the first time, Invision Community gathers anonymized information on what your members are searching for so you can use this to highlight more relevant content and shape strategic decisions with your community's structure.

    Search statistics help you track searches performed on your community
    When a member searches, their identity is converted into a unique key that cannot be reversed to identify the member. This allows us to track a single member's search usage over many search sessions without being able to link it to a specific member account.
    The AdminCP now features a dashboard to review the most popular search terms as well as a raw log of recent searches along with the results they returned.
    We have a lot of ideas in mind for additional changes down the road with the tracking of popular search terms, but for now, we hope you like the new statistics page and find the information presented useful for your future site plans.
  20. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, Happy New Year to the IPS Community   
    On behalf of the Invision Community staff and company, I'd like to wish our clients and community warm blessings and gratitude for the New Year.  
    We're proud to be the community platform of choice for you and your organization over the past year (or decade!), empowering you and your users with the space to debate, discuss, investigate, solve, innovate and celebrate a shared sense of purpose.  The ability to positively touch and connect with the lives of others regardless of location is one of the most transformative benefits of the modern web -- and there's never been a greater demand or need for online communities to connect members in an authentic, branded experience.  
    Your community is the gift that keeps on giving, and we're delighted to be a part of it. 
    Here's a round-up of the 2019's most visited, most commented, and most clicked-on articles from the Invision Community Blog:
    Invision Community managers use tools like Saved Actions and Auto Moderation to work smarter with 5 of the best time saving features Avoid the Engagement Trap, a never-ending race that measures all the wrong metrics in a community The crowd goes wild in the teaser announcement of the forthcoming mobile apps for iOS and Android Go back in a time machine with a Decade in Review - a celebration and testament to the enduring power of community.   Once again, may the magic and wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the year!
  21. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, What Is The Engagement Trap (And What To Do About It)?   
    The engagement trap is a race to community activity for the sake of activity.  It's usually measured by simple aggregate numbers like the total number of posts, topics, likes, or members.  
    Many community managers and webmasters enjoy spouting engagement numbers.  It's an easy number to brag about.  It's an easy number to find.  It's also, unfortunately, a terrible metric to measure. 
    Engagement metrics are exhausting since you're aiming for higher-and-higher goals, which grow into unreasonable levels over time.  It's misleading, because it's not indicative of information exchanges or quality resources.  And it's ultimately harmful, because it encourages participation in socially-charged conversation that are ever more entertaining, more controversial, and more extreme.  You don't want members to chat.  You want members to learn, to advocate, to innovate, to educate, to support, to problem solve, and to enlighten.
    Engagement metrics are marketing numbers used to measure audience size and a currency of the attention economy where you're the product.  It's an entirely wrong metric for online communities where the goal is not how big you can get, but on how you can help your members.

    Your Metrics & Your Strategy
    There's a famous management quote from Peter Drucker that says, "what gets measured gets managed."  What you want to measure, and therefore manage and improve, is a reflection of your community strategy and your objectives. 
    Here are some ideas of what you could measure:
    The number of questions or feedback requests that were answered in high-value boards of functional content The number of educational resources that were added to a certain category  The number of new topics that were posted in a growing section The selection of special keywords or tags that you want to track The number of informative reactions that were given out in a certain period  The participation of high-value experts in your community Segment Your Community
    Not all parts of your community should be treated equally, especially if you have a large and dynamic community with several apps and categories.  Your community may have a mix of one or more of the following:
    Educational and functional-value boards Social and member-based forums and boards New sections that are growing Mature sections that have leveled off Different content types and reactions   Different groups of members Instead of evaluating your community as one entity, segment your community.  This allows you to hyper-focus your attention and grow specific areas that match with specific objectives.  For example, I always measure the number of new topics in boards that are educational and informative, since they're high-value functional content.  I don't pay attention to mature sections that have reached saturation, but I aggressively track new sections.  
    Measurement & Analysis
    Invision Community ships with a powerful set of Statistics in the ACP that cover every application.  I personally spend more time in Statistics than any other part of the ACP, because it gives me the data and research to inform my decision making.  It helps me focus my attention on the sections that matter the most to my community strategy and reveals unexpected insights.  

    The ACP won't have all of the fine-grained filtering or data reporting that you may need.  Maintain your own recording, even if it needs to be manual.  
    Conclusion
    Trying to boost engagement is a race that you'll never win.  It has nothing to do with your community strategy; it doesn't measure the value you give and receive from your audience; and it can push you to drive empty traffic with unintended consequences.
    Independent communities that focus on the hard, difficult work of offering communities of indispensable value will always find growth.  It will be the right kind of growth, in the right areas of your community, with the right audience.  That's a race that will meaningfully empower your members and your community to the finish line.  
    What are the most important metrics that you measure?  Or are you in the engagement trap?  Share in the comments below and see how other IPS clients can help.    
    Are you looking to start a successful community powered by the statistics and content management of a modern community platform?  Get in touch with IPS, Inc. for a discussion and product demo. 
  22. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, 4x4 Superuser Concepts 🏅   
    Whether you call them Champions 🤩, Advocates 🌟, or Superusers 🏆, every community contains an elite group of members that carries 🏋 the community.  They don't just drink the kool-aid 💧.  They mix, chug, and swim 🏊‍♀️in the community kool-aid.
    Learn 🔢 four community management concepts about Superusers in less than 🕓 four minutes.
    1. 90-9-1 Rule (aka "1% rule"): The 90-9-1 principle refers to the lopsided inequality of user engagement that 90% of users are lurkers 🙈, 9% of members contribute from time to time 🙉, and 1% of users 😸 account for almost all contributions.  Superusers are the 1%.  
    2. Intrinsic Motivator: Motivation that comes from internal motivation💖, rather than any external rewards. This could be a sense of satisfaction 😃, pride 😤, ownership, loyalty, friendship 🤗, or other emotional and internal motivator.  Long-term superusers 🏃 are wired to intrinsic motivation.  Tapping into intrinsic motivation is key to providing new motivation for superusers.
    3. Spiral of Silence: Be careful ⚠️, however, that your superusers don't overwhelm 🛑 the conversation which can lead to the Spiral of Silence: a theory that as the vocal minority becomes louder 📢, other members adopt the same views or fail to share opposing views. You'll need to privately manage this vocal minority, especially if they're negative 💢.     
    4. Work Out Loud 💬: An engagement practice for superusers to visibly share 🗣 their work online in your community. It offers opportunities for superusers and members to openly share 👯 their knowledge, generosity, purposeful discovery, and growth ✨. Usually entire point ✴️ of communities of practice.
  23. Like
    GTServices reacted to Matt for an entry, What are the benefits of a support community?   
    When your customers buy or use your products, they will have many questions. They may have issues using the product, or they may have requests for future versions based on their needs.
    Managing and responding to those questions and requests quickly increases conversion, satisfaction and the likelihood or purchasing again.
    The statistics back this up.

    There is no doubt that unless you have a support community for your brand,  you are not delivering the best experience for your customers and risk losing them to competitors that do.
    Building a support community around your product or service will positively drive your business across all departments from product development through sales and into customer support.
    Let's break it down and look at the key benefits for each department.
    Customer Service
    Encouraging your customers to visit your support community is the simplest way to reduce the cost of supporting your product or service. Creating a self-help culture allows other more experienced customers to offer assistance and troubleshoot any problems they have.
    73% of customers fall in love with a brand because of friendly customer service representatives.**
    Quite often, new customers encounter the same issues that would flood customer support if they were all channelled to your support desk. For example, consider a company that produces an internet-enabled smart device. Less technically savvy customers will likely contact support to troubleshoot initial connectivity issues which can quickly be resolved by peers in the support community.
    These questions and answers form a crowdsourced knowledge base that will allow customers to help themselves without any intervention from your team. Furthermore, these questions will feature in external search results, driving more traffic to your site.

    Sales
    The primary purpose of your community may have initially been to help support your customers, but it quickly becomes a valuable resource to help drive sales.
    Your support community will be a relaxed place where customers talk to each other honestly and openly. They will be less inhibited than they would if they were talking to your sales agents.
    Customers might be discussing a need for more functionality that you have in another product or service. Your sales team can move these conversations from the community to your CRM to curate new sales leads.
    72% of customers will tell 6 people or more if they have a satisfying experience. - Esteban Kolsky
    Customers that have had positive interactions with their peers and members of your support team will become advocates for your brand. They will help sell your product over social media and among their friend circles. Given than 90% of customers are influenced by a positive review when buying a product*, having brand advocates is critical to your growth.

    Marketing
    There are several costly routes to learning about your customers and their wants and needs. You can conduct external surveys, or pay for research groups to look at your products and offer feedback.
    56% of customers don't mind sharing their personal information in exchange for better service.**
    The most effective method is to look at your community.
    Your customers will be posting their thoughts daily. They'll tell you exactly how they use your products, offering you valuable insight into the problems they are solving with your product. This information should be used as the basis of new marketing campaigns.

    Project Development
    Your support community is a direct line to your customers. You no longer need to use external tools and services to determine which features you should add next. You'll be told directly!
    55% of customers are willing to spend more money with a company that guarantees them a satisfying experience.**
    You'll find that some feature requests bubble up regularly. These are the ones you will want to move to your product roadmap.
    Invision Community allows you to segment your community into private areas for beta testing. Your developers can interact with this group to work directly with your customers to shape new functionality.
    Harnessing analytical data will inform development decisions. Invision Community can track keywords in user-generated content. If you have released a new feature, you can track how often it is mentioned in conversations to monitor its uptake.
    52% of customers believe that companies need to take action on their feedback.*

    Setting up your Invision Community
    Now we've looked at the compelling reasons you should create a support community around your products, let's take a look at how to set up your Invision Community.
    Support Desk
    Invision Community has a fully-featured built in support desk functionality. Commerce has all the features you need, including multiple support desk categories, reply by email, pre-written reply templates and private notes.

     
    However, if you already use another support desk such as Zendesk then our API tools mean that Invision Community can integrate with your existing support flow seamlessly.
    Keyword Tracking
    Invision Community allows you to track how often specific words or phrases. This is useful to monitor which of your products are trending or monitoring uptake on new features.
    To set this up, visit the Statistics section of the Admin CP.
    Question and Answers
    To formalize a support or ideation area within your support community, Invision Community offers a Question and Answer forum type.
    Question and Answer forum types allow your members to post questions and enable other members to upvote the questions and replies. Your support team can also flag specific responses as the "best answer" which turns historical questions into a crowdsourced knowledge base.
    Showcasing Great Content
    Invision Community has several tools to highlight great customer-created content. You can pin topics, and feature specific replies within those topics.
    You can also convert posts into new articles within a formal knowledge base or blog to further help your customers find the right answers to their questions.
    Extensibility
    Invision Community has OAuth and a REST API out of the box. This means it's trivial to extend Invision Community to work within your existing flows. Integrate Invision Community to your SalesForce CRM and Zendesk support systems seamlessly.
    Create a federated search to integrate your external knowledge base with client-generated knowledge.
    The options are limitless, and we can take care of any custom integrations for you.
    If you have any questions, please let me know below, or contact us to see how we can help you harness the power of community for your business.
    * https://www.customerthermometer.com/customer-service/customer-service-and-satisfaction-statistics-for-2019/
    ** https://www.qminder.com/customer-service-statistics/
  24. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, Honor and Humiliation: Building Emotional Connection for Community   
    Emotion is energy in motion.
    Today’s article is the last element in our Sense of Community series, and it’s also the most powerful.  It allows new communities to win over legacy ones; niche communities to triumph over generic platforms; and impassioned communities to outlast everyone.  It’s also the hardest element to cultivate. 
    What is it? 
    According to a survey by psychologist Dr. Jenny Fremlin, shared emotional connection accounts for the single largest factor of community-building.  In fact, almost half of all respondents in her research identified shared emotional connection as the factor most important to their community. 
    How do you cultivate the principle of shared emotional connection?  
    New Members
    For new members, your goal is to initiate them in your community’s rituals and connect them with other outstanding members who will help reinforce your community’s spirit.   
    Induction – Joining your community should be the beginning of a member’s community story, which means leaving a part of himself behind and fostering a new selfhood for your community.  Make induction an important part of onboarding a new member.  Honor his new membership with community gifts.  Require him to fulfill rituals that are unique to your community.  Demand that he open himself to the community, the challenges he faces, and what he hopes to receive.  By doing so, you are asking the new member to invest a part of their emotional selves in the community from the very beginning. 
    Greater Contact – The more that people interact, the more likely they are to bond.  Just like in the real world when a new visitor walks into a room and no one talks to him, he’s likely to leave.  But if you can introduce him to other members, invite him to a table with other new members who also recently joined, or connect him with a mentor, then he’s more likely to stay.  You can accomplish the same in your community.  Connect members as much as possible, which spark new friendships. 
    Existing Members
    For existing members, deepen their sense of shared emotional connection with these strategies.
    Community Story – Develop a story for your community, a narrative that is being written by and for members.  It brings all members together in a common sense of history, and even though not all members may have participated the entire time, they identify with the story.  Why was your community founded? Are you tackling a challenge in the world?  Did you undergo a major obstacle? Are you aspiring to improve the world? Where are you going? Write down your past, present, and future and invite members into the living story of your community. 
    Community Projects – All too often, community admins launch projects on their own or with an inner circle of staff.  Launch a project that’s open to everyone, where all members can participate, give feedback, and contribute.  Define a beginning and end to the project, which helps members with closure and remembrance (“Did you remember the time when we helped on XYZ project?”) .
    Industry Changes – What are disruptions that are happening in your field or industry? Is it affecting anyone you know? How do you feel about it?  Is it positive or negative?  How significant is the change? Use these shared events to get people disclosing their emotions about these disruptions, which helps form an emotional connection with others who are experiencing the same.  The strongest bonds are among people who undergo a crisis together.    
    Honor & Humiliation – Finally, the personal growth of members is punctuated by the highs and lows of their membership from rewards that highlight special achievement to penalties that discipline bad behavior.  These moments of recognition and humiliation unlock joy and pain, which emotionally bond the member to your community.  The strongest emotional bonds are experienced by those who traverse the greatest emotional journey – they come to your community as immature or inexperienced, and through rewards and moderation, grow to become a better person through your community. 

    Members visit your community for all sorts of reasons.  But out of all reasons, one stands above all others: shared emotional connection. 
    There’s no one way to cultivating a shared emotional connection.  Every community will be unique. You and your Invision Community must write your own individual story, cultivate your own special volkgeist, and honor and humiliate members in your own extraordinary way. The energy and emotion of your community will be uniquely yours.  
    In the end, you want to foster your own “community of spirit” among members, an exceptional sense of purpose and friendship wrapped in shared emotion that no other community can match.
  25. Like
    GTServices reacted to Joel R for an entry, 4x4 Growth Hacks 🚀   
    Are you curious 🤔about ways to boost your engagement that don't require a lot of effort?  Want some shortcuts to set your engagement on fire 🔥?   
    Check out these 4x4 tips of four growth hacks that you can implement in less than four minutes ⏳ to boost engagement.
    1. Add a content block at the bottom of topics.  Sounds upside down 🙃, right?  Most admins add content blocks at the tops of pages to attract users.  But what do users do when they're finished reading or replying to a topic?  Nothing. They're finished ... unless you add a block such as similar content, popular posts, recent topics, or another content block at the bottom of topics that help them discover new content.
    2.  Tag in your superusers 🌟 to stimulate a conversation.  Your community's superusers are probably just as active as you are, and thoroughly involved in the community.  They're comfortable in the community and would love to provide input.  Wouldn't you agree with me @AlexJ @GTServices @Sonya* @Maxxius @media  @Nebthtet@Ramsesx @tonyv??  
    3.  Run a poll ☑️.  It makes the topic more interactive, and people love voting.  
    4. Write a contrarian topic or blog "Why XYZ isn't for you?"  That's a surefire way to grab 😲 attention and begs the user to challenge back.  And if you can't write a contrarian topic, then maybe ... being a community manager isn't right for you.  Or is it?? 😜
    Hope you enjoy these tips, and and share your growth hacks in the comments below! 
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