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10 Things About Building an Online Community That May Surprise You

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 16, 2011 at 7:05 AM | 3 minute read

Linking a private social network to your website is straightforward. However, creating a successful online customer community or member community can be difficult. It takes an abundance of customers, an understanding of your audience, staff resources, a solid strategy, and the right social technology. As with any enterprise business challenge, this complexity leads to various levels of understanding and expertise in the marketplace.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community Software, Online Community

Is the 90-9-1 Rule for Online Community Engagement Dead? [Data]

Written by Paul Schneider on August 11, 2011 at 8:43 AM | 3 minute read

There is a rule that has floated around in the social media world for quite some time called the Rule of Participation Inequality or the 90-9-1 Rule. This rule states:

User participation in an online community more or less follows the following 90-9-1 ratios:

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Online Community

The Art of Finding the "Right" Chapter Model for Your Association

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 3, 2011 at 8:05 AM | 3 minute read

This is a guest post by Peggy M. Hoffman, CAE, President and Association Manager for Mariner Management, an association management company and consultancy.

Next week, I will be joining Scott Balthazor from Higher Logic and Nadine Merker, Director of Volunteer Services from American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), at ASAE's Annual Meeting for a discussion on building new member communities.

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Topics: Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

What is an Online Customer Community? [infographic]

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 2, 2011 at 7:40 AM | 2 minute read

In has long been proven that it takes more time, resources, and capital to earn new customers than it does to keep your existing customers.  I want to take a minute to outline what an online customer community is and where they fit into the world view of most marketing, product management, and customer service executives.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

5 Key Elements of a Great Online Community Content Plan

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 22, 2011 at 1:35 PM | 2 minute read

I firmly believe that online communities are all about people. However, people are busy and they care more about your own families, organization, and job than they do about your company, associations, or cause. This is where content enters the picture. Creating helpful, original content that your audience can't get anywhere else gives your customers or members a reason to visit your online community.

As a result, your online community content plan plays a vital role in your community's success. It is important to know your audience and thoughtfully lay out your editorial calendar to develop a sustainable and engaging content strategy.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

5 Ways That Online Communities Keep Donors Engaged [fundraising tips]

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM | 2 minute read

The internet has significantly democratized fundraising over the past 5 years. Barrack Obama's 2008 campaign raised an astonishing $337 million from individuals making small donations (under $200). According to the Urban Institute's 2010 Nonprofit Fundraising Survey report, individual giving is the largest single source of contributions for nonprofit organizations. This change raises the following question about the donor experience and online relationship building:

How many of you have received an online solicitation from an organization that you are familiar with, made a donation, and then never heard from the organization again, until it was time to ask for another donation?

Are You Leaving Donors Blowing In the Wind?

While the internet has also made it easier to give, it has also made it easy for organizations to receive donations without having to nurture and engage their donors to build a relationship with them. Many nonprofits, universities, and associations are turning to online community technology to stay connected to donors before and after they give. Here are five ways that your organization can use a private online community to keep important donors engaged.

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Topics: Member Engagement, Online Community

How Important is Technology in Member Engagement?

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 15, 2011 at 8:30 AM | 1 minute read

Most associations that I speak with would like to be able to pick up the phone and check in with each member, set up personal office visits, or send hand-written thank you notes to each member come renewal time. That is the nature of membership organizations. It is all about people. However, the conversation quickly turns to how to scale your member engagement. How can you keep thousands of members engaged in your organization, up to date on issues you are advocating for, and talking to one another?

Technology in Member Engagement is Still Fuzz for Most Associations

Though online community building in the association world has been around for almost a decade, the steps for making it work for an association are a lot less clear than it is for one-to-one member engagement. At a recent ASAE event on delivering "Love Bombs" to your members, 80% of the discussion covered ways to improve one-on-one member engagement. When the question of how to keep to thousands, or tens of thousands, of member engaged was raised, the room grew much quieter.

The reasons that the membership professionals, which I spoke with after the event, gave for the handwringing over mass member engagement ranged from the difficulty many associations have collecting and analyzing online member engagement metrics to the need for more case studies on member engagement's impact on organizational objectives.

While the answer is unique to each organization, it probably includes a combination of personal attention, online engagement, email communication, and face-to-face interaction. That brings us to this month's poll in the Member Engagement Group on LinkedIn.

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Topics: Member Engagement, Online Community

Online Communities For Business Are Still All About People

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 14, 2011 at 8:35 AM | 1 minute read

I recently had the pleasure of joining a few dozen members of one of our customer organizations for a tour of Washington DC. It was wonderful evening filled with good people, fun facts, and great product feedback. I love talking to people in our market – customers and non-customers. In my experience, the answers to how we can continue to meet the needs of businesses and membership organizations are going to come from outside our building.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Experience, Online Community

Online Community Management Lessons From Disney [video]

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 12, 2011 at 7:41 AM | 3 minute read

Disney was one of the first companies to use social networking to increase sales and drive customer satisfaction. However, Disney did not create the most innovative Facebook fan page, they were late to the online content marketing game, and still doesn't have a strong mobile strategy. Then, how are they a pioneer in social networking success? Disney has long used their understanding of community and how people connect with one another offline to grow their organization into one of the most recognizable, trusted brands in the world.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Social Media, Online Community

3 Things You Should Know Before Planning an Online Customer Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 5, 2011 at 10:25 AM | 3 minute read

The expectations of B2B customers and the complexity of problems they are trying to solve have grown dramatically in the last decade. While your customers' businesses have become more multifaceted, the solutions that you have created to help them solve their problems have also become more intricate. This is one of the major reasons that online customer communities have evolved into the platform of choice for many B2B companies to maintain high customer satisfaction levels and collect data from their market.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

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