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Andy Steggles

Andy is the President and Chief Customer Officer at Higher Logic. He is an industry thought leader and frequent keynote speaker at conferences and events, traveling the globe to educate professionals about the importance of collaborative software, the cloud and the impact technology makes on the community it serves. He is the author of the best selling book Social Networking for Nonprofits. Prior to joining Higher Logic, Andy spent ten years serving as the Chief Information Officer at the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS) where he headed their technology and social strategy initiatives.
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Recent Posts

Why It's a Mistake to Compare Private Communities to Social Networking Sites

Written by Andy Steggles | on March 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

Association execs often mistakenly think that private communities are nothing but smaller-scale, social networking sites. That's why I loved Ernie Smith's article, In Defense of the Insular Social Network, on Associations Now last week. The article talks about Virtual Management, Inc's recent study, the 2013 Association Operations Survey

As Ernie points out, the study did something interesting: in surveying respondents about their use of "social media sites," it lumps together public social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with private community platforms including Higher Logic, Jive and others. While I was admittedly happy to see Higher Logic used by the highest number of respondents, I couldn't help but wonder why the private community platforms were lumped with the public social networking sites.

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Topics: Social Media, Online Community Software, Online Community

Which is More Important in Online Communities: Engagement or Satisfaction?

Written by Andy Steggles | on February 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM | 3 minute read

A few weeks ago, Joe Rominiecki wrote a good article addressing the fallacy that higher member engagement leads to higher renewal rates. Instead, he points to Sheri Jacob's new book asserting that it's actually member satisfaction rather than member engagement that drives renewals.

I absolutely agree with Sheri but there is one fundamental flaw with Joe's article: The assumption that the act of consuming content is not an act of engagement. Consumers of content (or "lurkers" as we like to call them) are engaged, it's just a different type of engagement.

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Topics: Engagement, Online Community Management, Online Community

Community Manager Appreciation From Higher Logic

Written by Andy Steggles | on January 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

Monday, January 27 marks the fifth annual Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD). CMAD is a day to appreciate the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes making online communities succeed.

At Higher Logic, we have nothing but respect and admiration for the people who run the 100,000+ communities powered by our platform, not to mention just community managers as a whole. We know the work that goes into managing online communities, from getting users to adopt a new system to mitigating disputes among community members to convincing staff and volunteer leaders to lead by example and participate to navigating new relationships with IT departments - community management is definitely a challenging job.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

#1 Community Management Tip from the Professional Photographers of America

Written by Andy Steggles | on December 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM | 3 minute read

We had our users' group conference earlier this month and, aside from our best attendance yet with over 300 attendees, we were treated to some really great sessions by seriously smart Higher Logic clients.

One of the tips that's stuck with me over the past few weeks was one from Lindsay Starke, Online Community Coordinator from Professional Photographers of America, who did a fantastic session on the psychology of community management. The tip is something I've seen many times in various communities but which I'd never given much thought to until I heard her explain how and why her organization does it.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Engagement, Online Community

Membership Department vs. Community Management Department

Written by Andy Steggles | on December 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM | 4 minute read

Associations are starting to realize that the traditional membership department is changing rapidly and for some, the focus has moved from membership to community.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Marketing, Associations, Online Community

Lurkers Rock! Who Says They Offer No Value?

Written by Andy Steggles | on November 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM | 3 minute read

It's been awhile since the ASAE Annual Meeting, but I recently came across an Associations Now re-hash of a few sessions, including the one by friends Ben Martin and John Chen that sparked so much commentary about the value - or lack thereof - of lurkers in online communities.

Just to clarify, a "lurker" is a common term for someone who consumes content but does not create content, i.e. they read but don't create. I have to say that I totally disagree with the idea that lurkers are of no value in online communities. I see every lurker as both an asset to the community just by virtue of lurking, after all, if your members didn't read/consume/lurk, then it'd be much more unlikely that other members would create. Also, keep in mind that every lurker is a potential future contributor.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Online Community

Software Support & Online Community Platform Selection

Written by Andy Steggles | on November 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM | 6 minute read

A common and much disputed saying about online communities is 'build it and they will come,' referring to the concept that all you need to do to create a thriving online community is launch the software. Obviously, it's not that simple.

There's a lot that goes into the success or failure of an online community - strategy, site design, integration with whatever back-end database the org is using, etc. Not to mention community management. But one facet of online community that I don't think gets enough recognition is support, e.g. help for the person/people managing the community and helping them make their platform as good as it can be.

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Topics: Online Community Software, User Group Communities, Customer Success, Customer Support, Online Community

The Case for Gamification in Online Communities

Written by Andy Steggles | on October 28, 2013 at 9:30 AM | 2 minute read

Earlier this week, friend and association community management consultant Ben Martin wrote a blog making the case against gamification as a feature of online communities. He argued that gamification encourages people to participate in online communities for the wrong reasons - reward and/or recognition - and that it can negatively impact the quality of posts.

Also that gamification can lead to resentment among community members, when only a select few have badges or high point scores while others who contribute quality content go unrecognized. Coincidentally, a discussion of this same topic popped up on HUG this week as well, and the majority of the comments echo my thoughts about gamification: namely, that it's a beneficial element of online communities.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Online Community

SharePoint's "Cloud" of Discontent - Why Companies are Looking at Alternatives

Written by Andy Steggles | on October 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM | 3 minute read

I recently read this article that poses the question, "Should Microsoft kill SharePoint?" I personally think the answer is yes. My experience with Sharepoint is just one example of why.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Customer Experience, Online Community

Online Community Engagement - What is Success?

Written by Andy Steggles | on September 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM | 4 minute read

How do you define success?

When most organizations try to measure success with regard to their online communities, they usually do so with an eye to specific KPIs that they've determined to be important to their particular org, rather than in comparison to other companies. I think this way of measuring success is more accurate and shows that success in online communities is not one-size-fits-all, but rather something an individual organization determines and works toward.

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Topics: Member Engagement, Customer Engagement, Online Community Management, Online Community

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