I’ve worn many different hats here at MindTouch over the past 3 years (yes, that is me in the bunny head my FIRST day at MindTouch back in 2008) and my most favorite has been the social media/community manager role. It’s really exciting when I get to converse with our users, help prospects make informed decisions about MindTouch easily and quickly (in their choice medium) and converse with our customers through social networks, conferences and webinars. With that, comes the expectation to stay informed of the industry by reading up on the latest community, social media and customer service news. One such source listed in my RSS reader is FeverBee; I would say is one of the best community strategy blogs out there. Check it out!
One such post I thought was useful and wanted to share with you all was, “11 Processes For Scaling Online Communities” where Richard listed some necessary processes community managers need to follow in order to keep their work focused and their community happy. Like myself, there are a lot of community managers out there who are overwhelmed with the vast amount of conversations happening about your brand on a countless number of networks (Twitter, Facebook, Quora, product-specific forums, LinkedIn, etc. etc.). So how do you keep up? How do you begin to prioritize which ones need to be tended to first? How do you go above managing the conversation to actually becoming a strategic community thought-leader? Well this post won’t give you all the answers but it’s a pretty good start. I’ve listed his steps below, however to read his entire post go here.
11 Processes For Scaling Online Communities
- Recruit, train, manage and motivate volunteers. Volunteers who enjoying supporting their community are the best way to scale a community.
- Rewriting guidelines if they are violated too frequently. Make the guidelines more readable and welcoming. Let members make suggestions. Adapt them to the needs and desires of the community.
- Encourage members to submit their own news. Let some volunteers edit and approve news posts. Here’s a tip, make sure members receive a prominent by-line in the news article.
- Setup a community e-mail address which several volunteers can access and reply to. Let it be clear who replied to which e-mail and how it was resolved. A simple folder system can resolve this.
- Teach volunteers to recruit and train other volunteers. The hardest part, also the most scalable. Have a training programme that will teach volunteers to recruit others (then find a volunteer to teach the programme)
- Ensure members can identify and remove bad posts. Make technological changes that allow posts with a certain number of ‘flags’ to be temporarily postponed pending a review by an admin.
- Automate members inviting their friends. When members reach a milestone level of contributions, send them a congratulations. Advice them of an easy way to invite others to join. Make this a simple 2-click process.
- Let members apply to run various forum categories and take responsibility for certain areas of discussion within their expertise on the community.
- Allow members to create their own groups, initiate events, start live-discussions with scheduled VIPs they have persuaded to participate.
- Start a tradition of regulars welcoming newcomers. When newcomers join, make it a tradition for regular members to find and welcome them.
- Write detailed guidelines for doing your job. For example, write guidelines on handling disputes.
So let me ask all you community managers out there – what are your favorite sources for community strategy and expertise? What steps would you add (or even change) to the ones above? Maybe with enough feedback I’ll write a follow-up post and come up with my own processes.