Month: December 2015

Social Debt

If you helped me find a great designer, I’d help you find a great community manager (should you need one).

If not, I’d look for another way to help you.

Even if my help didn’t quite match (or significantly exceeded) the help you had given me.

I’d do that because I’d feel a social debt towards you. You helped me, so I want to help you.

If I don’t repay my social debts, that becomes part of my reputation. People stop helping me in the future. I can no longer ask for good advice ‘on credit’ – that I’d repay in the future.

We seem wired to repay our social debts. Social debts have been the basis of community for almost 5000 years. Communities (genuine communities at least) are a collection of social debts between members on a mass scale.

Notice the phrase ‘between members’. Everyone is in everyone else’s debt – and that’s a good thing.

People aren’t indebted to the community. They’re indebted to specific people within the group. They can call upon or ask for favours from specific people.

This matters. Too often we ask people to do things that ‘helps the community’. But a community en-masse can’t easily repay a social debt. Even if some entity such as the ‘the community’ did provide advice, it’s not easy to repay a generic entity.

Build the bonds between members not with a community entity. If someone has a question, nudge them to approach (or tag in) specific people who can help. Try to facilitate social debts between members. Encourage people to call upon help from specific people. Call upon specific people to help other specific people.

The community is a collection of individuals, you need to individualise it.

SPRINT LONDON – £200 DISCOUNT UNTIL JAN 1

Book tickets to attend FeverBee SPRINT, Europe’s biggest event for community and social media professionals.

We’ll equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources from Europe’s top experts to increase activity, prioritize your time, and get more value from your community: Book tickets here.

Launching Something New To A Group

December 30, 2015Comments Off on Launching Something New To A Group

There are 2 ways of doing it well.

One is to co-develop it with the group. Have them intimately involved to refining the very idea through to the end product. The more involved they’ve been, the more likely they are to buy and advocate on behalf of the object.

Another is to dazzle. Do something unexpected. Go beyond current limitations. Create something so unique, so powerful, so incredibly useful that people didn’t think it was possible. They weren’t expecting it. They weren’t prepared for it. But, wow. That’s worth talking about.

The worst approaches lie between the two. Don’t announce something half-formed, months in advance, that doesn’t allow input. Don’t suddenly launch something to an unsuspecting group that doesn’t defy their expectations.

Co-develop or dazzle.

SPRINT LONDON – £200 DISCOUNT UNTIL JAN 1

Book tickets to attend FeverBee SPRINT, Europe’s biggest event for community and social media professionals.

We’ll equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources from Europe’s top experts to increase activity, prioritize your time, and get more value from your community: Book tickets here.

How To Get A £200 Discount For SPRINT London

December 29, 2015Comments Off on How To Get A £200 Discount For SPRINT London

I love to plan which events we’ll attend 3 to 6 months early.

This shows we’re making an individual’s personal development a priority.

No matter what happens around that time, their personal development will come first. The message is clear we benefit by you being as good as you can be.

It lets the attendee plan ahead. S/he can see who else is going, plan (or host) meetings with community members in the area, and connect with the top experts in the region. They get better flight/hotel deals too.

This is ALWAYS a far better experience than scrambling for flight and hotel deals at the last minute. It’s always better than going without knowing who else is going and with no plans to connect with anyone – what a waste!

We’ve hosted events for years now and there’s something about the early birds. They are the first names to sign up because they trust us the most, they believe in the event the most, and maybe they’ve attended before.

These are exactly the people we would want to reward and support. Which is one of the reasons we give £200 discounts to the first people that sign up.

If you’re planning to come to SPRINT London, and you want a £200 discount, book your ticket by Jan 1.

The event is going to be great, you get to plan things out ahead, and we want to repay your faith in us.

Click here to book your discounted tickets: Book Tickets

Skill Specialisation

December 28, 2015Comments Off on Skill Specialisation

Beyond an average threshold it makes little sense to encourage everyone to master the same set of skills.

That’s not how teams become more effective, nor communities more valuable.

Far better to encourage and support individuals to specialise.

That specialisation will usually begin with you noticing (or even inventing) a character trait or skill you’ve seen an individual exhibit.

Highlight how they can progress along that path and give them support (time, manpower, and money) to pursue that path. That might mean books, courses, attending events, or developing a personal project.

For sure, when someone joins a group (especially a work team) you want them to reach a level of skill and knowledge rapidly to communicate effectively with the rest of the group. That doesn’t take long. Beyond that you need them to take responsibility for specialising in a skill.

The mistake we make is always trying to get everyone to learn the same material. Instead we should be helping them internalise the belief they should commit to being as good at their chosen skill as they can be – and we’re going to support them to do it.

That’s how teams, groups, tribes, companies, and communities progress over the long-term.

p.s. This CMX talk from Moz’s Jenn Lopez is worth watching.

SPRINT LONDON – £200 DISCOUNT UNTIL JAN 1

Book tickets to attend FeverBee SPRINT, Europe’s biggest event for community and social media professionals.

We’ll equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources from Europe’s top experts to increase activity, prioritize your time, and get more value from your community: Book tickets here.

The Before And After

December 23, 2015Comments Off on The Before And After

Almost every health tool today tracks progress. If you can see how your running distance increased from 5km to 20km, you will stick with it.

And it works too.

But imagine if you could get members to list their current job title, salary band level, or benchmark their existing skills in some way when they join the group (i.e. you could submit your best photo when you join a photography community or a writing community could ask for people’s first story when they join and most recent after some time).

Bodybuilding.com, for example, now asks for your current body composition, progress photos, weight goals, and lets you track progress.

Screenshot 2015-12-16 09.38.08

The more you see your own improvement, the more you will stick with it. In psychology terms, we would call this increasing competence. As your skill level increases, the more you enjoy participating.

I’m sure I’ve learnt a lot from these experts, but I have no place to track it.

Speak to your developer about adding a before and after photo, track job salary band progress, or even recent accomplishments. Anything that shows progress is going to keep people more active.

SPRINT LONDON – £200 DISCOUNT UNTIL JAN 1

Book tickets to attend FeverBee SPRINT, Europe’s biggest event for community and social media professionals.

We’ll equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources from Europe’s top experts to increase activity, prioritize your time, and get more value from your community: Book tickets here.

 

The Frustrated Nights At The Long Table

After a speaking event recently, 40 of us were taken out to a restaurant which had set aside 4 long tables for us.

Long tables are terrible for having a good social experience. You can’t talk to the person on your right without ignoring the person at your left.

If you’re at the end, your potential speaking partners are cut in half.

A better option is to have either smaller tables for groups of 5 (large tables are just as bad as long tables) or no tables at all.

At SPRINT we remove tables entirely. People can get their lunch and set up their own picnics around the building. This keeps the dynamic fluid. People leave groups they’re not connecting with and join others.

This is the key to large group situations. You want to balance the need for people to interact within a small group with the ability to let people mix between different groups. They shouldn’t be trapped within a group or limited in who they can speak to.

If you want to design a better social experience, find a way for people to move around between multiple small groups as they please. The tables you see for formal occasions are terrible for informal events.

SPRINT LONDON – £200 DISCOUNT UNTIL JAN 1

Book tickets to attend FeverBee SPRINT, Europe’s biggest event for community and social media professionals.

We’ll equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources from Europe’s top experts to increase activity, prioritize your time, and get more value from your community: Book tickets here.

When Everyone Is Around

December 21, 2015Comments Off on When Everyone Is Around

There’s plenty of discussion over what you do with your community over the holidays.

I’m far more interested in what you do with the community after the holidays.

What you do when everyone is around is clearly more important than what you do when no-one is around.

How are you going to jump-start things with a bang?

What new initiatives are you rolling out?

What have you decided to do differently in the future?

Doing something interesting just before or during Christmas won’t have anywhere near as big an impact as doing something incredible after Christmas. Yet the decisions and work for this needs to begin now (actually, alas, it needed to begin a few months ago…but you still have time).

SPRINT LONDON – £200 DISCOUNT UNTIL JAN 1

Book tickets to attend FeverBee SPRINT, Europe’s biggest event for community and social media professionals.

We’ll equip you with the skills, knowledge, and resources from Europe’s top experts to increase activity, prioritize your time, and get more value from your community: Book tickets here.

Being Efficient or Effective (0.1% or 50%?)

December 18, 2015Comments Off on Being Efficient or Effective (0.1% or 50%?)

There are many efficient ways to welcome and engage people in a group. Most of the largest communities have completely automated this.

None of these are very effective though. The conversion and long-term retention rates range from 0.1% to 1%.

Acting like a personal concierge to a newcomer is more effective. You can ask them about their challenges, what they need, what they believe in, and how they like to participate. You can introduce them to other people like themselves and periodically follow up with them throughout the year.

Your conversion rates at this level get up to 10% – 25%. But being effective takes a LOT more time.

Consider this though. Being 0.1% efficient with 5000 newcomers gets you 5 retained members. Being 10% efficient with just 100 members (1 every few days) gets you twice as many. And that’s just 1 every few days.

Don’t begin with the premise we have to treat every newcomer exactly the same to scale efficiently. Begin with the premise that with the limited time available, how many members can we effectively welcome to the group?

Being effective will help you a lot more than being efficient.

SPRINT London 2016: Join 200+ Experts, 14 World-Class Speakers, and Master New Skills

I want you to join us in London for 2 days this February.

On Feb 23 – 24, we’re taking SPRINT back to London – and you can book heavily discounted tickets until Jan 1

If you want an arsenal of new ideas to increase engagement, you should come.

If you want to figure out how to rise above being solely a community manager, you should come.

If you’re struggling with declining activity, how to prioritise your work, or getting your boss to support you, you should definitely come.

 

It’s about more than community management

We’re at the beginning of a big shift in how we think about our work.

We can’t ignore the other fields growing around us anymore. We can’t rigidly focus on a tiny slice of engagement that fits snugly within a narrow definition of community surrounded by mammoth opportunities to advance our careers and achieve better results. We can’t work in isolation any longer – engagement goes beyond just building communities. 

We’re going to do two things differently in London. The first is we’re going to focus on the the next level up. We want to take the skills we’ve spent years refining in the community space and deploy them at a higher level. We want to take the skills you have right now and make them portable to where you want to go next.

Second, we’re help you increase engagement in any medium in any sector you’re working in today. We’re going to tackle the specific challenges you told us you want to solve. Some of these challenges include:

  1. How do I increase engagement without spending more time and money?
  2. It’s getting more difficult to get my content noticed by my audience, what do I do?
  3. How do I get employee who aren’t tech-savvy to participate in an internal community?
  4. How do motivate my audience to collaborate with each other?
  5. What does a great knowledge-sharing system look like? How do I create one from scratch?
  6. My organic social media reach has plummeted! What should I do?
  7. How do I build a world-class automation system to onboard newcomers? 
  8. How do I get more people to visit my community and join?
  9. I can’t afford a full-time community manager, what should we prioritise with limited time?
  10. How do I make sure I’m keeping on the right side of the law? What if I’m based across many countries?
  11. How do I get my audience to disclose their emotional states and talk about their health?
  12. How do I convert digital engagement into clear leads and sales?
  13. How do I get people to participate when they tell me they don’t have time?
  14. What skills do I need to make the next leap in my career as a digital engagement/community professional?
  15. How can I be more influential and persuasive in all communications.

We’re also hosting a few open sessions for people to gather and raise any challenges they want help solving. Whatever you’re struggling with, you’re going to get help to solve it.

 

Basic Details

SPRINT takes place at the incredible Royal Institution of Great Britain, a building which has helped introduce new scientific ideas for over 200 years.

 

Day 1 – The Tactical Psychology Workshop

The first day is our own intensive workshops. Our team and a few hand-chosen guests will take a small group of you (usually 50 people) through an intensive process to increase engagement. This tends to be highly popular. Our last workshop in San Francisco sold out 3 months early and received a 4.51 / 5 rating.  

 

Day 2 – 14 World Class Engagement Experts Solve your Biggest Problems

For the second day, we invite 12 of the world’s top engagement experts to join us and 200 of you to share and exchange the latest tactics to boost engagement. If you want high-level strategy, try elsewhere.

For our Europe event, we’re splitting the event into 3 separate tracks. These cover enterprise engagement, non-profit & government, and internal & employee. We’re going to have engagement tactics custom-designed for your sector.  

 

Booking Tickets

Tickets are on sale from today.

If you sign up by Jan 1 you get a huge discount.

You can book one of two tickets. You can book the full event ticket to attend both the conference, workshop, and afterparty (£640) or you can book a conference ticket to attend the conference and afterparty (£270).

If you book before January 1 you will get a 30% discount. We also have a handful of tickets available at group, non-profit, and student rates.

Click here to book your discount tickets: http://sprint.feverbee.com.

This one I think will be big.

The Sword That Protects The Status Of Your Best Friends

Most complaints about other members come from people worried about their status.

Let’s imagine someone you know and trust complains about a post by a newcomer. The complaint here is probably less about the post and more about a threat to status.

Your friend is worried their status is under threat. Either the newcomer challenged something they said or is rising in popularity and might overtake their own status.

Whether you remove the post or not, the same thing is going to happen. Soon either more people will complain about the newcomer (friends of your friend) or the person who made the complaint will make more complaints to protect their status.

King Of Kong

This evening watch King of Kong.


Look at the social dynamics taking place here. One man is trying to take the Pac Man world record. The existing champion uses his relationships and reputation to stop him.

Everyone acts how they naturally should. They treat the strange newcomer as a threat and close ranks to protect their current champion.

This is the problem you’re going to face a lot.

Existing members will take actions they feel are fair to attack threats to their status. People who like that member will agree with them. This creates the appearance of consensus and creates pressure for you to act against the newcomer.

And this is exactly what you shouldn’t do.

The better option is to tackle the status problem at its root core. Flatter the current member to reaffirm their status and highlight positive values (you’ve always been great at helping newcomers get involved in the group) which they can then internalise.

You will probably find you can act accordingly.

Just don’t become the sword that smites down every threat to the status of your best friends in the group.

 

What If Everyone Did It?

We recently removed a post from FeverBee Experts.

The post wasn’t too bad. One member felt information from a personal blog would be relevant to the broader community so posted a link to it.

Was it useful information to the community? Quite possibly.

Should we have allowed it to remain? Probably not.

Our yardstick on these decisions is what if everyone did it? If everyone shared blog posts to external sites without any filter the community becomes a LinkedIn/Twitter wasteland of links. It becomes impossible to filter for quality.

If, however, everyone shares the same information within relevant discussions instead, then everyone benefits. That’s a valuable contribution to the group. And if there aren’t relevant discussions, the information wasn’t relevant in the first place.

There are other systems too. We could let each member share one great external post a month, or put forward their links for a quality review before posting. Both take up more resources than we have.

So for now we use the simple metric – what if everyone did it?

You’re Not Going To Be A Community Professional Forever

I forgot the best part of yesterday’s post.

You don’t need to wait for your manager to begin breaking down silos.

You can do it yourself.

You’re a digital engagement professional. You’ve spent years acquiring and refining skills to grow online communities and work with digital audiences.

Why not apply them internally too? Do you think it’s so radically different?

You can identify problems and reach out to help others from different units to solve it.

You can organise your own groups on WhatsApp or e-mail across teams to tackle specific problems the organisation faces.

You can stop referring negatively to other teams and your unit’s individual goals. Instead focus on how it contributes to the organisation’s goal and what will help you get there.

You can go to other units, identify their goals, and see how you can help.

There are a lot of things you can do to build a closer team and tackle these silos yourself.

You’re not going to be a community manager forever. Judging by the current churn rates, you won’t be a community manager in 3 years. That means you need to consider how you’re going to use the skills you’ve acquired today as an asset to get where you want to be tomorrow.

I think deploying them within your organisation right now is an excellent way to start.

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