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Changing Online Community Software Platforms? Work on This One Skill

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 7, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

Businesses and membership organizations select an online community software platform when they first launch their community-based on marketing, support, or member benefit strategy. However, one to two years into the initiative, both their strategy and customers' expectations have evolved. Many organizations find that their strategy does not align with the capabilities of their customer or member community.

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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

Six Strategies for Crowdsourcing Ideas in Your Online Customer Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 2, 2014 at 9:10 AM | 5 minute read

You work hard to add people, content, and tools to your private social community that provide value to your customers or members and keeps them coming back.

However, that is only one half of an effective social community strategy. The best customer community strategies balance benefits to community members with leveraging the community to the meet business-level goals of the host organization.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

How to Uncover Opportunities to Leverage Online Communities at Your Organization

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 25, 2014 at 8:58 AM | 5 minute read

An increasing number of companies and membership organizations are implementing online community strategies to maintain better relationships with their customers or members. Online customer communities and member communities deliver tangible benefits to organizations"”ranging from improving customer retention and satisfaction to lowering support costs and recruiting more customer advocates.

Despite this growing popularity, many organizations are still struggling to get from the "why" to the "what" of building a successful community strategy. Often, people hear about active online customer or member communities in their industry or they see competitors launching online community strategies. However, they have trouble getting from "we should look into doing this" to "here is how our organization can leverage these type of strategies."

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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

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

How to Ace an Online Community Manager Job Interview

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

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, Online Community

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 | 4 minute read

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

How to Accurately Calculate Your Customer or Member Retention Rate

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 6, 2014 at 11:42 AM | 5 minute read

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: Customer Retention, Member Retention, Online Community

What is a Community?

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on March 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

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, Online Community

How to Create an Engaging User Group Community Website

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

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, Online Community

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

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM | 6 minute read

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, Online Community

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