Month: April 2016

It’s Painful To Sit On A Fence

April 28, 2016Comments Off on It’s Painful To Sit On A Fence

Skip this post if you’re not interested in tactical psychology.

This isn’t for you.

This is for the few of you considering emailing your boss to ask if you can attend our workshop.

All of us believe communities are about people. Yet few give themselves even just one day to learn the core techniques they can use to improve any community they ever work on.

From the beginning of the workshop, we’re going help you pinpoint what’s stopping the majority of your members engaging today and help you use psychology (not technology) as your personal blueprint to eliminate the problem for good.  

Imagine how it feels to walk into work with a set of tried and tested techniques (underpinned by proven science) to finally solve your engagement puzzle.

This workshop will take a big, potentially overwhelming, body of scientific studies and filter them into actions you can take when you sit at your desk the next morning. We’re going to teach you the very same techniques we use to help our 250+ clients succeed in all manner of communities.  

I know this change is possible because we’ve seen it at our last two workshops. Every one of us can master these skills.

The workshop includes:

  • An entire day of live sessions distilling a century of social science into techniques you can apply to your community. If you’ve never had the time (or willpower) to study psychology and figure out what works for you and your community, this will equip you with everything you need to know. This is the next leap in your career skills.  
  • A wide array of case studies in the B2B, B2C, Employee, and non-profit sector. Our previous attendees were hungry for case studies showing how we and many others have applied the very techniques we teach in communities both internally and externally. If you’re looking for proof to take back to your boss, you should come.
  • Breakout time. We’re going to set aside time for you to work with people facing similar challenges as you. You can find your own space within the venue and work through a process to resolving your problem.
  • Access to an incredible venue. We’ve booked a fantastic venue in the very center of New York. The venue includes plenty of breakout space, multiple screens, high-speed WIFI, and a fully stocked kitchen you can use throughout the day.
  • Cooked breakfast and lunch. At this level, we’re focused on serving quality food. No cold sandwiches here, but cooked meals. If you’ve been to our past events, you know what we mean.
  • Coffee, snacks, and unlimited beverages throughout the day. We pick up the entire coffee tab on your behalf. You will never be hungry or decaffeinated.
  • Our printed workbook. Every attendee will receive our printed workbook with exercises to complete both before and after. We want to laser focus our workshop so you can finally solve your engagement headaches.
  • Access to over 40+ videos from our previous events. If you haven’t bought our video package before, we’re going to give you access to 40+ videos from our events from the past 4 years.
  • Access to our pre and post-event workshop group. Every attendee will get access to our exclusive workshop group where they can set themselves follow up goals, push and challenge one another to hit their targets, and have an ongoing sounding board to discuss new ideas. We’ll join you in there.

We’ve hosted this workshop both in San Francisco and London. Both workshops sold out and earned a combined 92% approval rating. I’m incredibly proud of this rating (and fully aim to go one step higher in New York).  

We would love to work with you and help you grow your community and increase engagement on June 6.

The fee is $625 per person, but only if you book by tonight.

(we can do group rates too)

A Step by Step Tactical Psychology Guide to Get Mark to Participate

April 27, 2016Comments Off on A Step by Step Tactical Psychology Guide to Get Mark to Participate

Most of us write the way we think.

If we want employees or colleagues to share more knowledge, we might send them an email asking them to participate in a discussion.

For example:

“Hi Mark,

Please can you share your recent experiences about upgrading our project management system with the rest of the company in our community?



What do you think Mark’s feeling when he gets that email?

Mark’s not twiddling his thumbs waiting for something to do, he’s busy.

He gets this email and suddenly thinks “dammit, can’t he see I’m busy…why is he dropping this on me?”

This is extra work for him with no reward. There’s no acknowledgement of his current status here. It’s not clear how much time he should spend on this nor when it needs to get done by.

Is this an important project or something that needs a few bullet points?

As a result he likes you less for not understanding his situation and dislikes the community for giving him extra work.

So let’s try and fix this…

Hi Mark,

I know you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment, but could you please take 10 minutes this week and share your recent experiences about upgrading our project management system in our community?


Mark will appreciate the empathy. He’ll like you more. It’s also clear how long this should take and when it needs to get done by. It’s less confusing.

But he’ll still like the community less.

It’s still extra work that he has to get done.

I guarantee he’s going to expend the absolute minimal possible effort to get this off his plate.

It doesn’t make him want to share knowledge.

I also guarantee he’s going to be less likely to participate in the community in the future because he associates it now with extra work.

Positioning It As A Burden Or An Exciting Opportunity?

This isn’t the exception by the way, it’s the single most common problem that’s killing internal communities.

I’d estimate for 90% of the clients we visit, they’re common complaint is our employees tell us they don’t have time to participate!”

That’s entirely because it’s framed as extra work.

Consider this…

The very messages we send out asking people to participate makes them less likely to ever participate.

What would the world of social sciences say about this?

Mark has to feel it’s his decision to share knowledge, that it will help other people he cares about, and a sense of accomplishment over acquiring this knowledge.

Mark has to feel good about this knowledge. He has to feel proud about sharing it and want to share it.

Let’s isolate these as a few separate things:

Mark should feel:

  1. Good and proud about the knowledge he has to share.
  2. A sense of achievement at having gained it.
  3. It helps other people (he cares about).
  4. It’s his decision to share the knowledge.

So let’s once try this once again….

Hi Mark,

Congratulations Mark on the upgrade to the new project management system.

I’ve already heard from both EMEA and R&D groups that it’s now saving them a lot of time and that’s all thanks to you. I know you worked like crazy to get it done, so congrats!

I’m also wondering if we can help our partners (notably Sarah in the accountancy group and Louis in Marketing) upgrade their systems too. I know they’re struggling a little trying to get this done this month.

What do you think? Are there any specific tips that you gained doing it which would really help them out?


Now we’ve created a message which first primes Mark to feel positively about his achievement and gives him a great sense of competence.

Next we explain how valuable this could be to other people he knows (by name), and then we ask him what he wants to do.

Notice that we phrase the request as a question instead of an instruction.

And all this takes about 30 additional seconds. But those are a really crucial 30 seconds that determine whether Mark will ever participate.

By the end of this he feels positively not just to the single action but to the community as a whole by association.

He’ll feel positively about the next request too and is more likely to become a regular.

The Most Basic Principles Help A Lot

Nothing about this is complicated or difficult is it?

Yet it’s still the number one thing killing most internal community efforts. We keep framing the community (unintentionally) as extra work.

And this is just the most basic level here.

During our Tactical Psychology workshop we want to take you from the beginner to an advanced level.

We’re going to teach you how to increase engagement and change member behavior without expensive technology changes, going through gladiatorial combat for approval from middle-management, and waiting ages for help from others.

This is all stuff you can apply the very next day.

You still have time to enroll in our workshop on June 6. You will be joined by community managers building internal, B2B, B2C, non-profit communities. The 625 USD fee includes our live lessons, case studies, coaching/breakdown of each problem you face, as well as lunch, breakfast, coffee throughout the day and more.

Prices rise this Friday. If you need approval from your boss, best to ask now.

Encouraging Gratitude

A really simple win.

Set aside a $100 Amazon gift certificate as a prize for the most helpful member each month.

Let members nominate someone who has given them exceptional help or advice.

Tell the nominees they have been nominated (and who nominated them).

Let previous winners vote on the next winner.

The goal isn’t to reward the winner, but to reward the people who give gratitude towards those that solve their problems.

Why Your Community Search Traffic Is Declining (and how community management is about to change)

April 25, 2016Comments Off on Why Your Community Search Traffic Is Declining (and how community management is about to change)

Your goal used to mean getting as many questions and replies as possible.

The more questions you post, the more long-tail search terms you might hit and the more search traffic you get.

That’s changing.

Google now punishes sites with a lot of thin content (pages without much useful material on them). If 80% of your traffic comes via Google, this presents a concern (if not an imminent threat).

These challenges fall within two buckets as (Distilled’s Dominic Woodman explained in my favourite talk from SPRINT London and in this update here).

Problem 1: Too many similar discussions (and discussions which don’t solve the query)

Problem 2: Automatically generated content pages (member profiles etc…)

Community Managers As A Curator

I think we’re going to see a shift.

This shift is going to be from someone who gets more (questions, replies etc…) to someone tasked with getting better (questions/replies). And that might mean less questions and responses.

In short, the curatorship side of your role is more important than it used to be.

You need fewer discussions that solve the problem.

A few immediate steps here:

  • Merge similar discussions into a single discussion that appears at the top of that category and is prominently linked to throughout the site. If someone posts a similar question, you move it into this discussion. One good discussion now trumps many bad discussions.
  • Create regularly updated resources from the discussions. These should be interlinked (resource links to the discussion, discussion links to the resource). Regularly update the advice. Create resources based upon the top search queries and discussions to your community.
  • Help members optimise their discussions. Either by automatic suggestions or manual tweaking, you need to help members optimise their discussions to clearly explain the question (not everyone will react well).

Then you need to remove and hide the bad stuff.

Dominic uses the great example of Ravelry (a great community).

Ravelry has 4m+ members. Most members don’t complete their profile pages. That’s millions of empty pages.

Yet, each profile page has automatically generated subpages for projects, friends, posts, events, etc…This soon becomes 50m+ empty pages (far more than the total number of discussions in the community).

In addition, many discussions are very short and don’t yield a satisfactory answer. Therefore we need to:

  • Hide automatically generated pages from search results. You can do this in the robots.txt file (ask your technology friend).
  • Remove the bad discussions and weak content. Remove discussions and pages which receive little traffic.
  • Ensure discussions get a satisfactory conclusion. It’s not enough to initiate a discussion and have a debate, you also need a satisfactory conclusion to each discussion. This means manually recruiting the right people to give great answers to each discussion.

I suspect we’re at the beginning of a very seismic shift in our work.

This is a shift with far less emphasis on creating more noise and far more on creating signal. The winners will be the community professionals who get extremely good at generating more signal.

Best to get started now.

P.S. join me for a pure engagement webinar with Salesforce at 1.30pm EDT tomorrow.

NEW Resource: 3 Tactical Psychology Videos

April 25, 2016Comments Off on NEW Resource: 3 Tactical Psychology Videos

On June 6, you’re invited to our Tactical Psychology Workshop in New York.

If you’re not getting the engagement metrics your boss needs, it’s usually not a problem with your website. It’s usually that it’s a headache to pinpoint exactly what motivates your members.

At the workshop you will get to use the top tools and techniques from social sciences in every single activity, communication, or strategy you develop for your community. You will learn to uncover your members’ motivation and align everything you do to match these motivations.

To give you a head-start, I want to share 3 videos that you can use right now to improve your community efforts.

These videos might help you to:

  • Create an inventory of every touchpoint.
  • Understand where to place messages to trigger the right behavior.
  • Select encouragement messages based upon your audience’s values, attitudes, and motivations.

I hope you enjoy them.

Tactical PsychologyUnderstand Your Inventory.


Tactical PsychologyThe Interruption Point.


Tactical PsychologyThe Encouragement Point.


If you want to get this training, sign up for our Tactical Psychology Workshop in New York.

Prices rise in 5 days.

How Do You Get A Message To 10,000 People?

April 22, 2016Comments Off on How Do You Get A Message To 10,000 People?

You probably send them an email.

Which works well if every member religiously reads every word of your emails.

But they don’t. Some skim through and quickly forget. Others delete your email in bulk with many others.

I’ve long lost track of the number of organisations who are shocked (and offended) to learn their target audience (employees/customers) didn’t read their big announcement!

Imagine you spend weeks, perhaps months creating a new community website and members don’t open the announcement email.

That’s frustrating.

If you want to get a message to as many community members as possible, you need to make a significant change to the platform that members can’t miss.

Whether that’s a pop-up box, a banner, or a message they have to click to remove. It has to be big, bold, and unique from other messages you’ve sent out.

Every year Wikipedia hosts a fundraising drive.

They ask you to make a small donation to keep the site going. You can’t miss it.

There’s a splash overlay on the first day of the appeal and a donation box at the top for the entire month.

Every visitor knows Wikipedia is raising money. You might not donate, but you know you could.

Free Tactical Engagement Webinar

You’re invited to join Salesforce and I this Tuesday for a webinar on increasing levels of engagement. I’ll be sharing some of the top tactics our clients use to get more people regularly participating in their communities.

The webinar takes place at 10.30am Pacific, 1.30pm EDT, and 6.30pm BST (UK)

Click here to sign up.

Discussion Topics Should Be Specific

April 19, 2016Comments Off on Discussion Topics Should Be Specific

Take a typical discussion topic in our community.

How do I get more traffic?”

This is a really broad question. It’s hard to answer questions like these. They’re just too broad.

Instead we want to be much more specific in our questions.

I’ve just launched my community, how do I get my first 100 members?”

“What are cost-effective ways to get traffic from Google?”

“My traffic is declining, can someone diagnose why?”

It’s easier to recall examples of each of these. It’s easier to think of people that might know the answer. It’s just much easier for us to answer too.

It’s one thing to teach yourself to do this, it’s another to teach the community to do it. It’s worth it though. Consider adding it in your next newsletter or blog post.

Better Reward Systems

Two beliefs about rewards…

1. Giving people rewards reinforces behavior. When someone does something you like you should reward them with praise, prizes, and badges.

2. Giving people rewards undermines their intrinsic motivation. It turns intrinsic motivation into extrinsic and reduces the behavior.

Which is right?

Rewards (praise/gamification etc…) derives from a branch of psychology known as behaviorism. Behaviorists believe people are programmable robots. You can teach people what to do through classical conditioning (create a stimulant to trigger a behavior) or operant conditioning (rewarding them for the behavior).

This worked better on rats and pigeons than it did on humans. Outside of the lab, it’s hard to replicate the results. There are too many stimulants and possible rewards. It also turns out people aren’t born tabula rasa.

Worse yet, rewards often (not always) undermine behavior.

But this isn’t the entire truth. One discover of behaviorism, variable rewards, is especially important. If people can’t predict what precise behavior will trigger the reward, they become more likely to engage in that behavior.

Don’t give badges based upon a set criteria. Anticipated rewards don’t help drive behavior.

Give unique badges that reflect the unique, special, contribution members have made to the group.

Give badges based upon – 

If someone shows a unique expertise in a niche topic, give them a special expert badge for that unique topic. {topic} expert.

If someone becomes known for a specific role in a group, give them a badge to reflect it (helpfulness, humour etc…)

If someone creates what you consider a landmark article, give them a landmark article badge.

If you want to get badges right, make them variable.


NEW: FeverBee ‘Tactical Psychology’ Workshop in New York City (June 6)

On June 6, we’re hosting our Tactical Psychology workshop in the heart of New York City.

Our goal is to equip each of you working in communities today with a deep understanding of the advanced social sciences that underpin our work.

These workshops identify the key elements in social science that you can apply to increase the level of engagement in your community and achieve the outcomes you need.

The goal is to help those of you working with B2C, B2B, non-profit and internal or knowledge management communities to perform your role as effectively as possible.

Each session is focused on a unique psychological principal. These are persuasion, motivation, decision-design, and effective communication. This workshop will cover:

  • The key elements from psychology to persuade members to make positive contributions.
  • Why most people don’t participate and how to flip the lurker ratio.
  • How to prevent negative behaviors in your community.
  • Identifying your members current behavioral dispositions (values, attitudes, and opinions).
  • Using behavioral disposition clusters to shape your messages and activities.
  • Developing motivational profiles of your audience.
  • Which motivational type to use for which types of behavior.
  • How to deploy motivational CTAs throughout your community.
  • How to nudge people to make decisions that benefit the community.
  • Crafting more effective motivational messages.
  • The communication techniques used by top experts.
  • Increasing your perceived credibility when you’re not a known expert.

This workshop will be helpful for those working at B2C, B2B, Non-profit, and internal/KM communities. Our past 2 workshops in London/San Francisco sold out a month in advance and received an incredible 92% approval rating (avg. 4.6/5).

workshop2       workshoppic1

You can purchase your tickets at:

Early-bird tickets cost $625

We have 30 places available.

Become A Consultant @ FeverBee (£35k – £40k GBP)

We’re looking for someone with several years’ of experience in knowledge management, innovation, non-profit/B2B/B2C communities to join our team.

Our goal is to help those of you with incredible potential to reach the top of this field.

We try to provide the level of exposure, responsibility, and mixture of projects in a few years that are impossible to gain working on a single community project.

Our clients are a diverse mix. Some are big brands you use every day, but most are in the $50m – $500m revenue range you probably haven’t heard of.

Your projects are likely to range from designing and implementing full-engagement systems for an organisation’s employees/customers (from onboarding to the end-benefit) to taking training/workshops for our clients, or speaking at events across Europe and the USA.

We’ll provide full coaching to help you do this. We use a methodical approach, supported by social science, case studies, and provable theory to solve our clients’ toughest challenges. You can expect to spend the first few weeks learning the ropes of consultancy and getting equipped with all the tools you need

Working with FeverBee you can expect to travel frequently (we have clients in 4 continents), take responsibility for developing and implementing your solutions, and you get to work with many of the top community brands around the world.

If you’re looking to accelerate your career, this position might be for you.

Perks also include:

  • Unlimited vacation time.
  • Unlimited training budget.
  • Unlimited book budget.
  • Work from anywhere you like.
  • Work at anytime you like.
  • Full access to our community training both on our ondemand course ($2500) and our Advanced Engagement Methods program ($3420).
  • Advanced level consultancy training.
  • Building your reputation (opportunities to publish to a large audience, speak at our events, work with the top organisations in our sector).

Our ideal consultant would have:

  • 2 to 5 years experience in the digital engagement space (B2B, B2C, or KM is useful).
  • A strong need for achievement.
  • A passion for taking ownership of a project and delivering results.
  • A maniacal focus to hitting targets and deadlines.
  • An eagerness to travel frequently.
  • A natural ability to build relationships with clients.

Applications can be sent to [email protected].

Deadline is April 23:59 23rd BST.

($1k referral fee if you recommend someone we hire for a minimum of 90 days)

(p.s. We’re looking to train someone up. If you’re already at the Director of Community level this role might not be for you).

Why We Start Small

You start small so you can be the most valuable, most relevant, and most useful to a small group.

You start small so you can give the most attention to each individual person.

You start small so you can wow a small group instead of bore a larger group.

You start small so no-one can compete with you, not even the big fish.

You start small to build powerful early sense of community.

You start small to establish social norms and setup the right traditions.

You start small to keep expectations reasonable.

You start small so future newcomers will see a friendly, thriving, group they join.

You start small so you can run tests, make mistakes, and find out what works for you.

You start small because it’s more reliable than starting big.

You start small because you grow faster.

You start small so you can get the concept right before wasting your first impression.

You start small so you can get some great stories to tell future members (and core stakeholders)

You start small to showcase results as quickly as possible.

If you’re in doubt, start small. If you’re not in doubt, start small anyway.

You Can’t Go Wrong Asking Lots Of Questions

A while ago we posted a sales job with us. Good pay, unlimited commission, great benefits, incredible freedom.

I set just one challenge, imagine we were a prospective client.

Everyone that applied made the same mistake, they pitched themselves (really hard).

This is the opposite approach we take with any prospect. It’s never about our services, it’s always about their problem.

None of the candidates asked any questions. No-one tried to clarify the challenges we faced, identify our current skills and knowledge gaps, highlight other ways they could solve our challenges, or look for additional value-adding opportunities.

We wildly over-estimate our ability to empathize with our audience.

This is usually because we skip a very simple step.

We don’t spend enough time talking to our audience and asking questions. How does this message make you feel? What do you feel is the best option here? What does this remind you of? What can we do to help? What do you really need? What aren’t you telling us?

It’s easy to identify the right questions to ask, it’s sadly much harder to summon up the willpower and courage to ask them.

©2021 FeverBee Limited, 1314 New Providence Wharf, London, United Kingdom E14 9PJ FEVERBEE