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3 Ways to Increase Participation in Your Private Online Community This Week

Written by Joshua Paul | on December 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM | 4 minute read

We increasingly live in a world of instant gratification.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

9 Signs You Should Fire Your Online Community Consultant

Written by Joshua Paul | on December 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

If you need help with your online community you have many options for hiring specialists.

Social business strategists can help you conceptualize your online customer or member community and make sure that it solves the right problems for your target audience and your organization. You'll find online community consultants that will draw up business requirements and configure the technical and design aspects of private online communities. You'll also find marketing consultants that focus on launching online communities.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, 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

How to Overcome Uncertainty When Creating a Private Online Community [Try This Exercise]

Written by Joshua Paul | on December 4, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

It is no secret that creating a thriving private online community for customers or members takes time and a consistent commitment of people. The other top reason that companies and membership organizations stutter-step their way to making decisive social business decisions is the fear that no one will visit and engage in their community.

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

Online Community Tips: 6 Noteworthy Articles You May Have Missed

Written by Joshua Paul | on November 5, 2013 at 8:09 AM | 2 minute read

While we saw many useful articles over on social crm, online communities, and member engagement over the past month, there were six that stood out.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

How Cross-Posting Discussions in Your Online Community Decreases Engagement

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 30, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Creating an online customer or member community is a serious endeavor. It takes dedicated people, time, and ongoing processes. Since there are so many facets of building a sustainable online community, we can overlook simple processes that can help or hurt our ability to keep customers or members engaged.

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Topics: Online Community Management, 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

6 Steps to Creating a Content Curation Program for Your Online Customer Community (Part 2)

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 16, 2013 at 8:29 AM | 3 minute read

One of the central characteristics of thriving online member or customer communities is that the organizations behind these communities position the communities at the center of an industry or business ecosystem. They find a niche and people who care about those values or market, then create a community around it.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

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