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Matt

Management
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Everything posted by Matt

  1. PHP is rightly getting a little more fussy about type.
  2. Just do an is_array() check before the count().
  3. Invision Community is used by some of the world's biggest game brands, proudly enabling gamers to connect with the creators of their favourite titles. These sites attract millions of visitors between them and thousands of posts are added daily because of their high profile. But what if you're just starting out, how do you convert casual visitors to members, and what's the best way to set up your community? I got talking to new customer Darrell, interestingly named Mr. Fierce God on our community. While you may expect that this portrays a fire and brimstone hothead, you'd be wrong as Darrell is one of the nicest people you'll meet. Darrell runs the Fierce Gaming Network and I was impressed by the way he's set up his site and wanted to share my thoughts on what he's done well. The first thing I noticed is that the forum index is not the home page for the site. For a gaming community that wants to focus on more than just user conversations, this is a good move. Let's break it down. A. The home page has multiple points of entry, and the sidebar menu unobtrusively offers short-cuts to various parts of the community. B. We have a large call to action to either login or register. This box also explains the benefits of registration clearly and enforces that registration is a very quick process. One optimisation that may be worth looking at here is to add the "Sign in with Facebook / Microsoft" buttons on the box to persuade even more to register right away. C. Fierce Gaming Network also makes great use of Clubs to segment their audience to specific software titles. Re-using instantly recognisable artwork as the club cover image will entice fans of those games to visit. Scrolling down a little shows the "Member of the month". As humans, we are drawn to faces instantly, and this humanises the site and "unmasks" some of the popular members, making the site less intimidating. Moving down a little more we see the "Our Picks" section which highlights the best content from the community. Our Picks is a great way to get visitors to engage with your content. Good use of cover images draws attention and makes it clear the kind of content you're going to read. Darrell makes great use of several lnvision Community apps to build the site, and has set it up well. New users get to the site see handpicked content, fellow members and the benefits of joining all in one place. It's a great start and I look forward to seeing Darrell's site succeed. Are you using Invision Community to build custom homepages for your community? Share them in the comments below.
  4. I noticed something new in the chiller cabinet at the petrol station after filling yesterday. Bottles of Grape Fanta sitting alongside the more mundane and pedestrian drinks such as Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. I grabbed two bottles. After draining one in record time, I googled around to see where I could get more of this delicious nectar, and it discovered that it's a new flavour being launched in the UK. The really interesting thing was that Coca Cola used data stored in the self service machines that offer different flavours (such as those at cinemas) to determine which new flavours to bring to the market. Grape was the second most popular flavour after regular orange, so the company knew they had a market ready for premixed bottles. In a world where we fear what Big Tech does with our data, it's easy to forget that data has a valid use in your business. It's why we make it clear that with Invision Community, you own your data. We just look after it for you. This gives you the freedom to discover new trends within your business and use them to drive sales.
  5. Well, we could write a book on it, but generally. Your community > The Web Make it searchable by allowing guest read access in most areas Produce high quality articles / reviews / content that people want to consume and share Consider Facebook/Google ads to drive traffic to a specific landing page (not the community index) The web > Your community Make visitors feel welcome, make it easy for them to add content (post before registering), make it easy for them to return (enable email notifications), make it easy to read more content (use blocks to encourage content discovery) Your community > increase engagement Reward members with gamification, take the time to talk to members, get to know them, make the interface as simple to use as possible, make sure key areas work well on mobile phones, etc. Do those things are you're in the 10% of people that will succeed.
  6. I'm glad it got you thinking. If you have a built in store, then you could consider creating a sales page in Pages, that links to the product in Commerce and go into more detail on it, and use that Pages page to market it externally. I just had a quick look at your site too, I really like it. Featuring members of the month well, nice articles featured on the front page and using Our Picks to showcase your best content.
  7. BTW, you can have free subscriptions in 4.4.
  8. Two headlines caught my eye today as they appeared side by side in my newsfeed. On first glance, they seemed contradictory. The first was that the UK lost nearly 2,500 shops and stores last year and the second is that discount fashion retailer Primark has just invested £70m in a new store in Birmingham. This new store covers 161,000 sq ft over five floors and features a Disney-themed cafe, a beauty studio, a gents hairdresser and a Harry Potter themed section. If the UK is closing thousands of stores, and a recent department store has just fallen into administration why would a brand invest £70m in a new store? The answer is that they are not building a store, they are building an experience. It's clearly not enough to just stack products and open the doors anymore. You have to offer more to entice people in through the doors. This is why Toys R Us failed in the end. I maintain that if they had reduced shelf space and installed soft play, cafes and product demonstration areas, they would have had a chance at turning around their failing business. Primark has learned from other's mistakes. With themed "shops in shops" and child-friendly cafes, they are offering more than discount clothes. It is exactly the same as your community. Offering a space to facilitate conversation is often not enough unless you dominate your niche. Are you known for well thought out reviews? Perhaps you write valuable articles that get people to your site. Or you might be focusing on building an audience with a photo competition as Helen from The Dogly Mail has. What are you doing to encourage more people through your doors?
  9. We saw an issue where someone had a paid subscription, but had entered "0" into the renewals cost box believing it would mean "no renewals" but it confused Commerce, so we just made it clearer that if you do not want renewals, toggle the yes/no field, and not just enter 0.
  10. Matt

    4.4.3

    Version 4.4.3 is a small maintenance update to fix issues reported since 4.4.2.
  11. In a move that surprised many, British cosmetics firm Lush has chosen to quit social media. With a combined following across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, Lush has a combined audience of over 1.2 million followers. Lush are being a little cryptic about its reasons but cite having to pay for visibility and getting tired of trying to produce content so just that algorithms will rank it highly. "Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead." It feels like sacrilege for a brand to come off social media, but I'm not surprised. Social media is about broadcasting more than it is about meaningful conversation. And now, even with a huge following, broadcasting doesn't get the same reach it did a few years ago with platforms pushing paid options more and more. Lush also targets a very young demographic that simply aren't using social media anymore. The firm said it was "cutting out the middleman between ourselves and the Lush community". It remains unclear which direction Lush is going to take to facilitate conversations, but using an independent community platform like Invision Community should be considered. It cuts out any algorithm biased, money hungry platform. It opens up the conversation between the brand and its customers in a meaningful way, and the brand is completely in control of their data and what their customers see. At Invision Community, we're seeing more and more brands looking for a solution outside of social media. Perhaps this will accelerate the trend.
  12. Love this ^
  13. We do love a parlour game at Invision Community HQ and we were playing "6 degrees of separation" recently. You've probably heard of the "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon". This is where you try and connect any actor with Kevin Bacon in 6 steps or less. So let's try "6 degrees of Invision Community". This is where we try and connect a person with an Invision Community. David Goggins and Invision Community Last week, I finished the excellent David Goggins book "Can't Hurt Me". David Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL, spent a month with Jesse Itzler. This which was documented in Itzler's book "Living with a SEAL", which I've also read. Jesse Itzler owns the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Team. The Atlanta Hawks has a dedicated area inside the Atlanta Falcons Football team's official community. The Atlanta Falcons official community is powered by Invision Community. Here's another one. Groot and Invision Community Groot featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie series. Chris Pratt starred alongside Groot in the same movie series. Chris Pratt voices Emmet in the LEGO® movies. LEGO® uses Invision Community. Over to you. Do you have any "6 degrees of Invision Community?". We'd love to read them!
  14. ooh, that's not very friendly! I'll take a look.
  15. It really depends on your audience. I think most understand "forums", but if your demographic is a bit younger, then perhaps "Community" is more apt.
  16. Matt

    4.4.2

    Version 4.4.2 is a small maintenance update to fix issues reported since 4.4.1.
  17. I mean in terms of marketing. 🙂 Forums still means something in technical language.
  18. I've had this similar conversation dozens of times in the recent past when someone has taken an interest in what I do. Person: So what does Invision Community do? Me: We develop and sell an independent community platform. Person: Oh. Neat. I used to say the F word. But this used to cause some confusion. 'We develop and sell a forum system'. This used to elicit a response similar to this: "Forums? They're still going?" This line of thinking is quite prevalent among those who frequent Facebook, or use Facebook Groups to manage their micro communities. Even though they probably use forums regularly, or end up on forum topics when searching for things like "Why is my iPhone not charging", they don't realise this. I recently guested on a podcast, where we spoke about "Facebook or Forums?", and I received this comment. It appears, then, that the word "forums" has a lot of legacy connotations attached to it. It conjures up images of the past when Netscape Navigator was the world's favourite browser, and AOL was still mailing out CDs. That is all ancient history now, and we've moved with the times. The product we have now has roots in the product from the early 2000s but it is wildly different and much more capable. When you explain that you can segment discussions into separate areas (aka forums), and even set up independent micro-communities (clubs), you can see lightbulbs going off. "That's amazing! I had no idea! So you mean I don't have to have my community in a single stream struggling for attention among adverts?" Nope, there is another way. Why not try an independent community platform? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you avoid the F word too?
  19. I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak on the Expert Focus podcast, hosted by experienced community manager and public speaker, Claire Dowdall. Claire has significant experience in managing and developing strategies for increasing Facebook Group engagement for high profile speakers and entrepreneurs, while my background is with independent communities. This set us up nicely for a lively conversation to really pull apart what makes for a successful community, and what platforms to consider when starting out. From Expert Focus: I really enjoyed speaking with Claire, and I hope you find a little time to tune in. Listen now: iTunes link for Apple devices On Spotify On all other devices
  20. We probably approved 1 in 10 topics that were posted that were true pre-sales. We want to give potential customers a much better and more personal experience when they have pre-sales questions. The forum tended to be relatively informal and it didn't always deliver the high levels of service we give in tickets and emails. We want to bolster the information we have on the site, make the demo easier to get started with and work on our guides which should give a better amount of information so that potential customers don't feel they need to dig so hard for answers.
  21. This week if all goes well.
  22. Here's the changes for 4.4.1. I'm satisfied that this deals with any concerns. It explains how the feature works and allows you to cancel the submission and remove your email immediately. Consent is not required here as it's a transactional email sent after you have chosen to interact with the site. Also, lets keep in mind we send just one email reminder. It's not like we add them to a marketing list, or constant notification emails about events happening. In my mind it's the same as the lost password feature which does not need consent because it's a transactional email sent after you have chosen an action.
  23. I am adding a "Cancel" button so the user can remove their submission and email address if they so choose. But I still maintain that we are sending an email directly linked to an action the user took. It is not a marketing message, etc. It's just a convenience reminder. We do not do anything with the email address outside of remove it after 6 days.
  24. But we're collecting that email address to facilitate a registration which is made clear on the next page. However, we are going to add a "remove my submission" button on that page to make it clearer and allow the user to remove all their data.
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