Launching a private online community for customers, members, employees, or partners is a big undertaking and you want to make sure all your hard work pays off. However, in the excitement of the planning and launch process, it's not uncommon for companies to get ahead of themselves and neglect crucial details. When you're just starting out and everything is new, it's easy to laugh off the question of, "What could possibly go wrong?"
Unfortunately, it does take hard work and careful planning to make sure your online community is successful. There are several areas of research, strategic elements, and community management processes that, if not addressed during the planning phase, can lead to the derailing of your community down the line. With all that needs to go right, planning for the best and the worst at the same time can get a little overwhelming.
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.
This post was contributed by Tom Schwab of Inbound for eCommerce.
Too often it seems like every new SEO trick becomes the thing that Google punishes on the next algorithm update. While you can argue on the existence of negative SEO, there is no debate that having more user generated content on your site is good for SEO.
After talking with the community managers at companies like King Arthur Flour and Sephora at the IRCE conference earlier this year, we beta tested our own online community site for our direct-to-patient, B2C ecommerce site. The engagement results were promising, but what really spurred us on was the analytics we saw. We knew the search engines saw them too and would reward us.
Our guest blogger, Donna Vieira, is Vice President of Marketing of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. Donna and her team work with associations to help them successfully grow and transform their organizations. Their approach includes online marketing plans, which include social media marketing techniques, as well as working to create Millennial-friendly work cultures, environments and policies. Learn more about Donna by following her on Twitter, @DonnaVieira, and connecting with her on LinkedIn, linkedin.com/in/donnavieira, or email, donnav@interlinkONE.com. Read on for Donna's best social media tips.
Our guest blogger, Ryan McKeown, is an implementation project manager at Higher Logic. He focuses on helping new clients through the building, implementation and launch for their community sites. Ryan's post from Super Forum was originally published on Higher Logic's Users Group (HUG) blog.
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.
It's no secret that Socious runs many of its marketing programs and blog on the HubSpot platform. We use their marketing and sales tools extensively and I've personally been using their platform for over four years. That's why I was especially excited about some of the new features announced at HubSpot's Inbound conference in September.
One feature in particular that caught my eye was the calendar function. It allows you to manage all of your blog posts, email campaigns, and social media postings in one place. This makes scheduling easier so you can make sure all of your messages and content are spaced appropriately and nothing falls through the cracks. In theory, it all sounded great.
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.
Online communities pride themselves on bringing innovation to the member experience. To be an innovator in the community space means tackling new ways to communicate and offering useful content to members on a regular basis. Some of the best content creation ideas come from our own clients. Check out Higher Logic's top five for content creation that you can implement right away.