Month: May 2015

FeverBee Is Looking For A World Class Community Professional

May 30, 2015Comments Off on FeverBee Is Looking For A World Class Community Professional

We're still looking for someone to head up our consultancy practice. 

You might be interested. 

The Role:

You will be responsible for helping clients grow their communities, growing a team of community consultants, developing community strategies, creating and teaching workshops, and introducing best practice at community events around the world. 

You should already be: 

  • Well known in the community space.
  • Have experience growing multiple online communities for several brands. 
  • Have a track record of delivering successful workshops and speaking at events.
  • Introducing fresh ideas, analysis, and perspectives into the community space.
  • Familiar with our work and material. 
  • Able to project manage consultancies from setup to completion. 

 The Benefits

  • Six-figure salary ($).
  • Work from home (or anywhere you like)*.
  • Work any hours you like.
  • Set your own goals. 
  • Frequent travel to clients in North America, Caribbean, Europe, and Australia (maybe Asia too). 
  • Recruit and manage your team of consultants. 
  • Work with a terrific team of community experts. 
  • Significant training budget to attend events/take courses. 

Referral Fee:

If you refer someone our way who we hire, we'll pay you $1000.

If you're interested, e-mail me (skip the CV/resume, just tell us why you would be perfect). 

* If you're outside of the UK, you will be responsible for your own taxes/admin/legal responsibilities. 

The Thickest and Busiest Crowds

May 28, 2015Comments Off on The Thickest and Busiest Crowds

In 1969, Stanley Milgram performed a neat trick.

He had 1 to 15 actors stare up at a window of a high office building while he counted how many others stopped to look.

He found the more actors he had, the more people would stop and glance up at the window. 

This experiment was repeated in 2011 with modern tracking technology. The more actors who glanced up, the more passers by would follow. 

However, when the crowds were thickest and people were faster moving (busier), this effect was significantly reduced. 

Which matters because when we try to build communities, we often have nobody to begin with and target where most people are. Which are typically the most crowded places with the busiest people.

Instead you want to find the sparsely populated places where people pay attention to the messages they receive. That might not be e-mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. It might be showing up at events in person, introducing yourself, and finding places where people are open to receiving messages from strangers.  

Do You Remember Mashable?

May 27, 2015Comments Off on Do You Remember Mashable?

I remember Mashable as the best site for social media and online community professionals.

It had a thriving community, great content, and a clear mission.

If you wanted the latest news about social media, you went to Mashable. 

At some point, their scope began to creep beyond social media.

Their articles became increasingly celebrity-focused and content became ever more list/how-to/'unbelievable' focused.

Judging by today's posts, most of us can agree it's become largely irrelevant to any imaginable target audience.   

Screenshot 2015-05-18 13.35.14

The moment you try to attract an audience you don't have, you're doing a disservice to those you do. You open the door to competitors too. 

If you want to attract a new audience, launch a new community. Give the audience the service and attention they deserve. Keep the community focused. 

StackExchange didn't let its community for programmers expand to designers, engineers, mathematicians. It facilitated a system where it could launch new communities easily to cater to each unique group. 

Likewise, the moment you start writing articles to be popular instead of useful, you've entered a war for attention. Each week you need an ever-more sharable headline and set of bullet points or the audience stops clicking. Far better to make sure every article has such valuable advice you don't need to write simple list summaries. 

Many of you run terrific communities. Don't be Mashabled. 

Upcoming Community Events

May 26, 2015Comments Off on Upcoming Community Events

I'm excited about a few upcoming speaking events. 

  • July 13 – 15: MozCon (Seattle, USA)I'll be speaking to 1400 attendees about an entire way to build an online community from scratch and ensure you reach critical mass. I learned more from this event than any other event I attended last year. You can buy tickets here
  • July 18 – 19: Community Leadership Summit (Portland, USA). At Jono Bacon's CLS event, I'll be explaining 10 social psychology hacks to increase the number of people participating in your community. The event is free, so you should join us. 
  • Sept 2 – 3: Swarm (Sydney, Australia). Our colleague Caty Kobe will be in Sydney to talk about all things community. If you're in Australia, you can get your tickets here

The entire FeverBee team and I will also be at our next SPRINT conference in San Francisco on Nov 11 – 12. We'll be releasing information here over the next few weeks. 

You can also catch up on the summaries from CMX's recent event here

Seeking Speakers for SPRINT: San Francisco (Nov 12)

May 26, 2015Comments Off on Seeking Speakers for SPRINT: San Francisco (Nov 12)

Last year's FeverBee SPRINT was the biggest community event of the year. 

On Nov 11 – 12, we're back with a new theme; tactical psychology. 

We want to find experts who can help us get into our members' heads and distil complex psychology into practical actions. This is the single, greatest, scope for improvement today. 

Specifically, we're looking for speakers who can talk about the most exciting and relevant aspects of communities such as:

  • Habits. How to create habits of participating in communities.
  • Nudges. How to make simple changes which 'nudge' members to take positive actions in the community. 
  • Self-disclosure. How do you get members to open themselves up to the community?
  • Sense of community. How do you get members to feel a stronger sense of community.
  • Psychology of advocacy/referrals. What causes members. 
  • Self-determination theory. How to give members competence, relatedness, and a sense of autonomy. 
  • Influence. How to have mass-influence over a community's actions.
  • Onboarding. What are the most effective ways to onboard members and make them feel part of the group? 
  • Network science. How many people do you need approach to start a positive chain reaction? 

This isn't an exhaustive list, feel free to proposal your own topics within the theme. 

You can e-mail me and put yourself forward. We would love to hear about your proposed topic, the evidence, and any videos from your previous talks. 

If you know someone that would be perfect, feel free to recommend them too. If you recommend someone we use, we'll pay you $30. 

The Most Valuable Community Contributions

May 25, 2015 Comments Off on The Most Valuable Community Contributions

We probably agree not all contributions are equal.

If we're wondering what to promote in a community, here's a simple hierarchy. 


At the bottom are opinions. Giving an opinion is easy. Everyone can give their opinion at any time on any issue. The majority of blogs are filled with opinions. The ease of giving an opinion reduces their value. Hence why most blogs receive so few readers. We don't tend to remember opinions and anecdotal stories. A community filled with opinions gets tedious fast. 

Just above opinions are personal experiences. When someone discloses their own experiences that becomes both a) a data point, b) a marker for what we should be doing and c) creates a bond between everyone that connected with that experience. 

In the middle layer is support. Support provides instant value. People answer questions and help one another to achieve their goals. Support isn't about providing an opinion to a question. That's easy. Support is about resolving one another's problems.

Near the top we have new perspectives. Most people who think they're giving new perspectives are really giving opinions. A fresh perspective is an idea or approach that no-one has tried before. It's people who go beyond what we already know and share their findings. It's members who will say things the majority disagrees with (for now). 

At the very top is evidence and data. These are the people that synthesise existing data/studies and undertake their own research. It's people that don't write posts filled with opinions, but reference their arguments to verifiable data. Within this category there's good and bad data. For example, studies by community platform vendors and organisations 'proving ROI' is far less valuable than a study by an independent academics.

This category also includes direct first-hand accounts from the source. For example, members in my gaming community years go were arguing the recoil rate of different weapons based upon their experiences. One member called up the developers and got the exact metric of recoil for each weapon. That's more valuable. 

You can also spot the problem. The more valuable contributions take more effort. This is exactly why you want to make a big deal, promote members, and build an engagement plan around getting these types of contributions. 

It’s Good To Be Hated

May 22, 2015Comments Off on It’s Good To Be Hated

First the establishment ignores you, then it hates/mocks you, then it tolerates you, and then you become the establishment.  

If you find a lot of people in your sector hate or mock your community, you’re halfway there.

Be more worried if people ignore you. 

Flattery and Impact

May 21, 2015Comments Off on Flattery and Impact

If you want someone to join the community, flatter them and explain why you need them in the community. 

Don’t flatter someone for who they are. Praise them for what they have done.

Don’t tell someone they will have a big impact. Highlight the specific role they can play in the community (and why only them can perform that role).

Lots of flattery and lots of impact, that’s the secret. 

Eliminating Bias

May 20, 2015Comments Off on Eliminating Bias

How much information someone knows about you completely changes the type of answers they give you. This is a big problem in the research stage. 

Here’s a problem that arises you and your members ask questions.   

People might agree with you because they genuinely agree with your statement.

They might agree with you because they like you (or their friends do).

They might agree with you because they’re busy and want you to go away.

They might agree with you because they know you’re heavily invested in something. If you ask ‘what do you think of my site?’ people will probably say they like it for example.

They might agree with you because you’ve presented facts that support your viewpoint before you ask a question (and not presented facts that don’t).

But this doesn’t give you useful information. For that you have to make the questions more active.

Better to say ‘I have $10k of development time to spend on this site, which areas can do you think we should improve’? ‘ Now you’ve stripped out the bias and can get useful information.

If you want good feedback, don’t ask ‘let me know what you think’ or ‘what you like/dislike’. Ask if you should do {x} or {y}. Present it as a choice that requires an answer. 

What Is The Best Way To Ask A Question?

May 19, 2015Comments Off on What Is The Best Way To Ask A Question?

…not like that. 

When you ask for the best, you're going to get the worst information. No-one knows what you mean. 

Does best mean quickest, cheapest, most features, easiest to use, highest performance, most reliable, or something else?

If you want members to share useful knowledge, ban members asking for the ‘best’ and teach them to get specific about their situation and their objectives.

Use the introduction material to explain how to ask better, more specific, questions to get useful information. 

StackExchange has a useful approach here. They use a box above every comment to help you participate. It's difficult to ignore it. You can do the same.

Screenshot 2015-05-07 22.36.00

I'd suggestion a message such as:

“If you want great information, tell members as much as possible about your current situation, your limitations, and your objective. If you want the cheapest, say so. If you want the most features, say so. The more information you give, the better other members can help you."

You might just find the quality of information shared increases, the reputation of the community improves, and more people join the community. 

Answering Questions

May 18, 2015Comments Off on Answering Questions

It's easy to give a well-intended wrong answer to a question.

You might give an opinion, when a member wants a fact. To get it right we need to know the 3 reasons why members ask questions: 

1)   We want to resolve a problem. If we have a problem, we ask a question to get the information we need to resolve it i.e. "Should I pack warm clothes if I'm travelling to Anchorage in Summer?"

2)   We want validation/connection. If we’re not sure of our status, the actions we’ve taken, or what we’re planning to do, we ask questions to solicit positive validation i.e. "Did anyone else find their first week as a medical student difficult?"

3)   We want to impress others. If we want others to know how smart (or talented) we are, we include this information disguised as a question i.e. "I've recently been offered the choice between a $20k pay rise at a smaller company, or a job offer at Google. Which do you think I should take?"

It doesn’t look good to say we want social acceptance or validation.

So we present every question as a genuine question, but don’t be fooled.

If you know what kind of answer a member wants, it's easier to give them the right answer. 

For example, imagine if someone asks “has anyone else ever {x}?”. You might say 'no'. But this question isn’t looking for facts, it’s looking for validation. So instead you can highlight someone you know that has done {x}. 

If members want to impress, you can congratulate them on their success and mention it elsewhere. Surprisingly, information-seeking are the least-common type of questions. 

Criticising A Group Is A Bad Idea

May 14, 2015Comments Off on Criticising A Group Is A Bad Idea

Back in school, a good friend of mine fell in with the stereotypical bad crowd.

I tried everything imaginable to get him out by explaining why the group had an awful reputation, how badly they treated members, and the dangers of ‘being on this path’.

I wasn’t alone in realising the futility of this.

Criticising a group on which someone is a member is always a bad idea. It solidifies their membership and turns them against you. 

The recipient of these messages had a new identity now that is largely derived from the group. Every attack on the group becomes an attack on him. He would sooner disassociate himself from me than the group.

If you want someone out of a bad group, don't criticise their existing group, invite them to join a better, tighter, more-fun, group. 

Likewise, you can’t get members to leave an existing community by criticising the community. You're just going to turn all members of that community against you. You have to invite them to join a tighter, more exciting, community. 

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