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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

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

How to Ace an Online Community Manager Job Interview

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Just as the popularity of private online communities is rapidly growing, so is the need for an effective online community manager. A position that barely registered as a Google search term just a few years ago has now become must-have role for many organizations.

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Topics: Online Community Management

Lessons for Online Community Managers from Ellen's "Tweet Heard 'Round the World"

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 12, 2014 at 7:20 AM

Many in the media have said that the 2014 Oscars were the most successful in history. More people watched the broadcast; more people enjoyed the show; and more people kept talking about it online and otherwise once the lights went down.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Social Media

How to Accurately Calculate Your Customer or Member Retention Rate

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 6, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Where do you spend more of your time "” discussing how to get more customers or members "” or how to keep the customers or members that you have?

According to Google over the past decade, we, as a society, clearly spend more of our time looking for ways to grow our organizations than we do trying to keep our current customers or members.

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Topics: Member Retention, Customer Retention

What is a Community?

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on March 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Recently I have spent a lot of time talking with organizations interested in building online communities that engage and inspire their constituents (customers, partners, members, prospects). Most understand that building communities in which their constituents can learn, share and collaborate is critical for growth and relevancy.

But it's not easy, especially when people, in all likelihood, bring different perspectives, expectations and timezones to the table. Speaking to all of them in a voice and format that is useful, educational, insightful and fun requires strategies and techniques that leverage individual contributions without compromising big picture goals and objectives.

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Topics: Online Community Management

How to Create an Engaging User Group Community Website

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 4, 2014 at 8:30 AM

The first user groups were launched in the 1950s. People using technology, such as IBM's mainframe systems, came together into loose clubs to support each other, spread best practices, and share ideas. From the dawn of the micro-computing revolution through the proliferation of web-based software, software and technology user groups have grown in importance and numbers.

While user groups have their roots in early technological platforms, today, user groups are a major force behind the voice of customers for almost all software and technology companies. While many in the business technology arena have been members of, worked alongside, or operated on the periphery of user groups, user group management is still a fuzzy concept due to their organic origins.

  • Should your company run the user group or should it be run by your customers?
  • Can you still get the customer advocacy and product feedback benefits if your user group is not fully run by volunteers?
  • Where do you find people willing to dedicate their time to setting up your user group?
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Topics: User Group Communities

10 Things Every Online Community Manager Should be Testing to Increase Engagement

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM

When you first launch a private online community, your goal is to go from having a non-engaged set of members or customers to a highly engaged community of members or customers. However, that type of transition doesn't just happen overnight.

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Topics: Member Engagement

How to Create a Great Online Customer Portal

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 25, 2014 at 8:25 AM

The past few years have seen a big shift in customer support as more and more companies offer self-service customer support through online customer and client portals. While a reduction in support center phone calls might seem like it benefits companies the most, a 2012 study from Amdocs suggests that today's customers also prefer an online self-service approach.

In a study conducted by the analyst firm Coleman Parks, gave insight into customer preferences when it comes to their support options. Though the survey targeted smartphone users, the findings apply to other product support as well.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Support

4 Research-Based Tips for Increasing Online Community Activity [Video]

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM

The Virtual Community Summit kicks off in London this week. It is a gathering of some of the brightest people in the online community management and social business strategy world.

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Topics: Online Community Management

What Do the Companies With the Best Customer Experience Have in Common? (And How Can You Have It Too?)

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 18, 2014 at 10:55 AM

With the conclusion of one year and the beginning of another comes the onslaught of "year end" lists identifying the "best and worst" of the past year. From movies, to books, to"”yes, that's right"”even business strategies, practically nothing that happened in 2013 is safe from categorization.

While you may feel inundated with "best and worst of" lists, here's one that deserves special attention: the annual Global Leaders of Customer Experience Management survey.

Image credit: Global Leaders of Customer Experience Management Survey (GLS) 2013

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Topics: Customer Experience

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