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Katie Bapple

Katie Bapple has been directing the growth and development of communities since 2008. She’s worked with communities ranging from Fortune 100s to associations and non-profits. Prior to Higher Logic, Katie spearheaded the portfolio of Toolbox.com communities at Ziff Davis, Inc., with more than 2.3 million members.
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Recent Posts

Planning a Private Social Network: How to Structure the Community

Written by Katie Bapple | on February 20, 2015 at 9:25 AM

One of the most important decisions you'll make in the early stages of planning your organization's private online community is the structure of your interactive spaces.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community Software

Tips for Selecting the Best Online Community Software Platform for Your Business Strategy

Written by Katie Bapple | on February 5, 2015 at 11:20 AM

Choosing the best online community software platform for your organization can be overwhelming and confusing.

There are lots of great options out there, however none are going to be a perfect fit. Narrowing down the advantages and disadvantages of each viable online community platform can be a serious undertaking – especially if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software

Launching an Online Community: How to Determine if Your Target Audience Will Engage

Written by Katie Bapple | on January 29, 2015 at 8:49 AM

Once you decide on the perfect topic for your new online customer or member community, it can be tempting to hit the ground running with your launch plans.

However, before you get too far along, it's important to figure out your total feasible market size. By taking the time to assess your target audience's level of interest, you can determine whether an online community is the type of engagement platform your target audience is likely to participate in.

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Topics: Communications, Online Community Management, Engagement, Social Media

Why Creating an Active Online Community Starts With Choosing the Right Topic

Written by Katie Bapple | on January 15, 2015 at 10:05 AM

So, you want to create an online community.

That's great! Whether you're a company interested in providing a space for your customers to collaborate, an organization interested in uniting your members, or a niche interest group simply aiming to connect people with other likeminded individuals, your online community strategy can be a valuable part of achieving your goals.

However, planning, launching, and managing an online community can also be a lot of work and a substantial investment. That's why it's important to figure out exactly what type of online community you're creating from the very beginning of the planning process. When you take the time to determine the right topic and target audience, you can avoid a common pitfall — creating a community with no purpose or audience.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement

Come Back! How to Develop the Right Re-engagement Strategies for Your Online Community

Written by Katie Bapple | on December 18, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Inactive community members will inevitably make up a large percentage of your total audience size. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal in most online communities, especially as your community ages.

Your efforts to engage your audience and grow your online community are best spent focused on the members who are actively present or just walking through the door—not walking out of it. However, if you start to notice unprecedented rates of decline, it could be time to take action.

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Topics: Member Engagement

Why Marketing Your Online Community is Critical to Its Success

Written by Katie Bapple | on December 12, 2014 at 8:45 AM

When it comes down to it, a private online community is a service offering. As such, you need to get people to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid. Your target audience is just as busy as you are. Your community members are constantly being bombarded with demands on their time and attention.

How will you get them to take time to visit and participate in your online customer or member community?

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Topics: Communications, Online Community Management

Online Community Management: How to Get People to Participate [Quick Tip]

Written by Katie Bapple | on November 13, 2014 at 8:01 AM

During my first year in online community management, I created a survey for a council of more than 1,000 members. The questions aimed to create an in-depth understanding of activity-related behavior patterns and general community utilization habits. I spent weeks on this survey, ensuring I had the perfect questions that would enable me to analyze every deterrent, motivation and decision-making factor of their interactions in the online community.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement

It's Not All About You: Is Company-Centric Communication Hurting Your Online Community Engagement?

Written by Katie Bapple | on November 6, 2014 at 8:55 AM

There is a way to communicate smarter and it's quite simple - take your company out of the conversation.

It remains a common practice for companies to use traditional marketing tactics that inundate people with messages of product superiority and boastful "us v. them" claims. But customers generally don't care about what they can do for an organization, they care about what an organization can do for them.

According to a Nielsen Global Survey, up to 77% of people are influenced by word of mouth from close personal connections when making a purchasing decision, compared to 34% who are influenced by the ever-present promotional email.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement

The 7 Ways to Source Members for Your Organization's Online Community

Written by Katie Bapple | on October 30, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Over time, members will leave your online community. Though you might be a throwing down some serious online community strategy, abandonment is simply unavoidable. People simply lose the need that your community fulfilled by changing jobs, losing interests, retiring or other inevitable life events.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Engagement

How to Handle Conflict and Controversy in Online Communities

Written by Katie Bapple | on October 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

In offline communities, conflict and controversy create socially polarized environments. Negativity monopolizes these interactions because in our own personal lives, they are the very interactions in which we aim to absolve ourselves.

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Topics: Online Community Management

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