Will the community survive? Probably not.
Most online communities have one real driving force behind it. And you have missed the opportunity to hand the baton over to other people.
It’s the conversation that is normally missed out and it makes such a big difference and identifies so much more than you can write down.
This happens a lot in organisations when someone moves jobs, it’s only an afterthought.
There becomes a Knowledge Gap. I heard that it normally takes 18 months for a new employee to become profitable to the organisation and for them to be fully integrated with the way of work.
Can you afford that time delay in an online community? And would the members be happy with someone new just turning up without an introduction?
If you get a chance just do a search on Knowledge Retention and Transfer. There’s some great stuff out there that will help you start the conversation if your community manager is about to move on.
One of the things that there are an abundance of material on is the creating of an online community or community of practice. But there’s not so much on how to really facilitate the activity in the community and help it thrive.
What techniques, what tactics can use you to help move your community forward?
For me the word Playbook goes back to the days of playing John Madden on my Sega Mega Drive.
And the three key elements
- Special Teams
Can you take those elements in to Community Management and create techniques to help your community?
If you did, what techniques or tactics would you use for the below?
Offensive plays would be all about breaking down the boundaries of the community and moving it forward. You will be looking to increase the number of discussions and participating members.
Improve the quality of the conversations and content, and encourage better relationships between the members.
Defensive plays – Most online communities are happy as they are. Help them hold onto that position of contentment, but they will still need a consistent flow of activities to keep them happy.
Special Teams – would be activities that have the ability to cause momentum shifts, increasing participation as well as building a stronger sense of community.
Monday the 27th Jan is a normal day for most people unless you work in the community management environment.
This year the 27th was a Monday and this meant it wasCommunity Manager Appreciation Day
It’s the 5th year this has run. And each year it gets bigger and bigger. Who would have thought that 5 years ago there would be a 24 hour Google Hangout talking about community management?
I have been doing small things over the last few years since I came across #cmad. It started with just saying thank you to some of the great facilitators that I worked with and has slowly got bigger.
Last year I was able to run a small event that included great presentations from Alan Boulter and Richard Millington which I made a little storify for.
But this year I was able to link up with the Knowledge and Innovation Network to do something slightly bigger. No not a 24 hour hangout. But a blended event online and offline bringing a range of different people to talk about how they run communities in their organisation and the tactics they use.
So a big thank you from me for making it such a great event goes out to Erica Hurley, Phil Ridout (Phil’s Skype account) and Dimple Rathod for the organisation. Sarah Jennings and Liz Copeland for tweeting and helping to capture the day.
A special thank you to all the presenters:
- Lesley Parker from Seven Trent Water
- Jon Harman from Syngenta
- Richard Millington from FeverBee
- Melissa Whittle from Geoplace
- Yvonne Myles from Phillips66
Not forgetting all the people that participated in the day, face to face, online or via the webinars.
Hopefully next year we can make it bigger and spread the word even further about the importance of great community management.
Here’s this year’s Storify
It’s that time again. For that one Monday in January we all say thank you to the facilitators of our communities during Community Manager Appreciation Day
Please take a moment to say thank you to those who put all the hard work in behind the scene to keep the communities that you participate in going. It’s not often they get thanks. And just one thank you makes such a big difference.
I’ve seen roll outs of different technology including SharePoint , Microsoft Office , CRM, Clarity Project Management etc, etc. And you always hear the same comments, I don’t like it, it’s clunky, it’s the wrong colour, it makes my eye hurt (I made the last one up) etc, etc.
So how do some online communities survive and thrive when the tech they use is sometimes odd, old and clunky. My only explanation is the purpose and the WIIFM. Otherwise known as COMMUNITY
Take sites such as Money Saving Expert and Golf GTI Forum. They are a bit messy and on first look hard to understand. I have to admit MSE is so much better now. But what they do have is a strong sense of community, a clear purpose of what it is and what it can do.
So there are examples that show community beats technology.
All you need to ask yourself is, do you have a compelling purpose for your community, that no matter what barriers technology, people or otherwise that get thrown in the way that the community survives and thrives.
Myself and @dimplerathod sat down the other week after finishing the Golden Rules from Online Facilitators and had a chat about what would our top 10 tip be to someone starting an online community, but also what would they need to do to keep the community going.
Here’s our top 10 tips.
Next time it might be top 20 or 30
After reading the excellent blog by Blaise Grimes Voirt and his ebook called 60 Insights from Experienced Community Managers.
I’ve always wanted to do the same thing with the people I work with.
I might not have got to 60 but here are 16 insights from Online Facilitators across the Knowledge Hub mainly based on our Online Facilitator of the Month interviews.
I asked 22 facilitators from across the top 50 groups on the Knowledge Hub, how much time and what activities they spend it on when it comes to facilitating their group.
So a big thank you to Daisy, Sarah, Alex, Lesley, Sadie, Rebecca, Michael, Cathie, Richard , Ian, Nick, Michelle, Joshua, Wajeeha, Jonathan, Zoe, Barrie, Jacqueline, Jo, Richard, Michael and Tim.
These are the results compared to activities a professional community manager would do.
This is a great blog from Paul Schneider about the 90-9-1 Rule and is it soon to be replaced by the 70-20-10 Rule of Community Participation
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:
- 90% of users are Lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don’t contribute).
- 9% of users are Commenters. They edit or rate content but don’t create content of their own.
- 1% of users create content and are Creators.
This rule gives both hope and discouragement to organizations that are creating online communities. It gives hope to companies and associations who launched an online community and are not seeing any business-level benefits since they believe that 1% engagement is acceptable. It also discourages organizations from exploring how an online member community or customer community can impact their business if they believe that only 1% of their audience will fully engage. If you are creating an online community for people to participate in, and 90-9-1 statistics dictate that a high percentage of people will not participate, where is the benefit?
Having heard this rule for years and seeing what I suspected were higher levels of participation in our customers’ online communities, I began to ask myself if the rule is really true. So, I set out on a quest to see if that 90-9-1 Rule holds water.
Is the 90-9-1 Rule Still Valid?
Why Did I Conduct This Research?
If the rule did not hold up, many companies and associations may be damaging their business and marketing strategies by basing decisions and benchmarking results using a general rule created in 2006 . So that the readers of this blog have a point of reference for when this rule for online communities was created, keep in mind that Facebook ended 2006 with only 12 million users (Facebook now has over 650 million users).
Study of Online Community Customers
I compiled statistical data from a random sample of our customers so that I could crunch real numbers to determine if the Rule of Participation Inequality was true for private online communities. To begin, I had to assign actions to measure at each level. So here are the actions I assigned:
- Lurkers: Have logged in and viewed information.
- Commenters: Have commented on or edited a blog, wiki or file or have answered a forum post that was already initially asked.
- Creators: Have initiated a blog, file, wiki or forum post.
The thing about the rule is that it infers that all users are doing something since the 90-9-1 all add up to 100%. The problem is that many organizations have profiles of users that are deactivated, past members, or guests. Also, not all members of an online community have access to the same tools, content, and functionality. So, to make a fair correlation, I ran two sets of numbers – one set accounting for all profiles in the system and one set with only the participating users making up the 100%. These numbers are below:
Findings of the Online Community Research
My belief is that the second chart is a more accurate comparison to the 90-9-1 rule since all users have to be doing some activity to account for the 100% of the sample. So based on the data in that chart, there are a few interesting things we can learn:
- All but one online community had more Commenters than the 9% the rule suggests. So, people seem to be more open to editing and commenting on existing information.
- All sites were higher in Creators than the 1% the rule maintains. One as high as 17%! With more and more people getting comfortable with social networking sites, perhaps people are more comfortable in expressing their opinions.
- The averages for each area are far higher than the rule suggests. (Well, other than Lurkers, but that is a good thing!)
So, maybe we don’t need to be so dire about how many people engage in your online community. Based on this data I would suggest a new rule (with a little rounding):
The 70-20-10 Rule of Community Participation
Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it!
Frédéric Mazzella CEO of Blabcar recently spoke at a conference with the main question “how are people able to trust one another enough to share their journeys?”
In order to answer this question, Blablacar teamed up with Groupe Chronos to do a study on how much trust members of online communities, specifically members of Blablacar, put into their online community, based on the completeness of the user profile.
With some really interesting results. I personally try and encourage members to have a full profile and especially facilitators of groups as this start’s to build trust.
But the results from Blabcar really back this up.
“Members with a complete online profile are trusted more than a neighbour, and almost as much as a friend or a family member.”
The study took four ‘profile types’ in its online community: members with empty profiles, only a photo, only a verified phone number, only positive ratings, and someone with a complete member profile (photo, verified number, ratings, etc.).
The most interesting part of the study is the fact that members of an online community with a complete online profile – photo, ratings, verification, etc. – are almost on the same level of trust as a Friend or Family member.
The full details are available in Blabcar’s blog post