Month: May 2016

Collaboration Is Never Really About Collaboration

We’re revamping our consultancy page copy, I ask for the opinions of my consultancy team. I want their support and buy-in to the new page.

We’re hiring a new recruit, we each schedule an interview with him or her. I want the feedback of the entire team. Have I found someone good?

In the morning we each try to check in on Slack. We like to give encouragement, demonstrate progress, and probably prove we’re each working hard.

Every 2 weeks we have a Skype team call, we want to coordinate our efforts so we don’t miss anything important.

We post questions on Slack and in our community. We need to find a missing piece of information.

We’re thinking about a sales process problem, we discuss it on our team call where we can share new ideas.

We collaborate for many different reasons, getting buy-in, feedback, encouragement, coordinating, finding missing information, gathering new ideas, are just 6.

If you want people to collaborate more, it helps to be very clear what kind of motivation underpins that collaboration.

(It also turns out the tools that excel in one category fail miserably in another).

The Last 5 Discussions

May 9, 2016Comments Off on The Last 5 Discussions

A simple task.

Go back to the last 5 discussions. Ask if the creator (original poster) resolved their problem.

If the answer is yes, ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing in that discussion that it solved their problem. If the answer is no, ask specifically where they got stuck.

This achieves 4 things:

1. It shows to future readers whether proposed solutions helped, how well it helped, and in what context it helped.

2. It lets those that replied know they resolved their problem. They feel better about responding. Or it lets them know that their information works in specific contexts in case they reply on a similar topic in the future

3. You can bring back people who didn’t get a satisfactory response (and tag in other experts who might be able to help).

4. You also get a sense of the task completion (or problem resolution) rate. Are most people not returning because they got the answer they were looking for or didn’t get the answer they were looking for.

The number of discussions is very much arbitrary. The more time and volunteers you have, the more frequently you can check in to ask if the responses resolved their problem.

How To Persuade People To Participate When Facts Let You Down

May 8, 2016Comments Off on How To Persuade People To Participate When Facts Let You Down

This article is mind-blowing.

In the 2007 local elections here in the UK, the author’s side lost 500 seats, while the other side gained 900 seats.

…and they’re spinning it as a disaster for the other side!

The other side thought they would win Bury and didn’t. Bury is a small town with a population of 60k, but that’s the story that spread the next day.

Stories trump facts by a long way. Stories are how we organize and prioritize information.

The winner isn’t the person who presents the best facts, it’s the person who spins the most seductive stories. We need to know this now more than ever.

Years ago we worked with an internal community manager who had spent the last 6 months trying to get her colleagues to participate more in her community instead of sending emails.

She had stated and restated the benefits (the facts). She had held dozens of private lunches. Everyone was convinced by her argument, they just weren’t persuaded.

At our first lunch, she was clearly distressed, frustrated, lonely, and feeling ineffective. Her boss was piling on the pressure with weekly “status update” requests.

We’ve all been there, it’s not a nice feeling.

Tell An Emotive Story

Our approach was to find and spread emotive stories instead.

There was the story about the employee who someone mentioned was selfish because they didn’t help others.

There was the story about a rival department that had just moved everyone to a more modern engagement platform and referred to her group as the ‘Dinos’ (short for dinosaurs, I presume).

There was the story about a director of the organization mentioning an idea he had stolen from the community and was later confronted by the employee for not giving him credit…the director apologised.

All of these stories were true of course, we’re just helping them to spread.

All of these stories are very emotive. Fear, jealousy, and pride are very powerful and very persuasive emotions.

All of these stories promote the community too.

Better yet, stories spread far quicker than facts. Few people share facts, everyone shares stories. Stories are persuasive and entertaining, facts aren’t.

And, of course, it began driving up participation too. People began seeing the community in a different light.

That fear, loneliness, and stress our community manager felt melted away. People enjoyed speaking to her again and hearing the latest stories (we made the latter ones funnier). They began to respond more favourably to her ideas. Most of all, she got a contract extension as the level of participation went up.

We want to help you hunt out the emotive stories that will drive your audience.

If you come to our Tactical Psychology workshop in New York on June 6 ($750), we’re going to help you develop some terrific, emotive, stories for your audience.

We’re going to unlock an arsenal of tactics from the world of psychology that you can deploy within your engagement efforts.

You can learn more below:

We have 10 seats remaining (and 1 group ticket if you want to attend with your team).

I really hope you will join us.


Ask, Discuss, Or Share?

Most communities implicitly or explicitly decide the behavior of members.

  • Is this a place where people come, ask questions, and leave?
  • Is this a place where you discuss a topic you’re interested in?
  • Is this a place where you share the latest ideas you’ve seen and go to find the latest ideas from others?

There are tradeoffs to each of these.

If it’s about questions, people only come when they have a question. That might be once a day, once a week, or never. That’s a specific behavior and mindset.

If it’s about discussions, people visit if they really want to spend their spare time talking about the topic.

If it’s about sharing content, people visit to learn something new. This usually means they visit more frequently (variable reward mechanism), but it’s hard to filter for quality (LinkedIn).

Most community platforms only allow you to pick one option. At you don’t. You click on Add News and then the type of activity you’re going to perform.

Screenshot 2016-05-04 08.48.35

If you have the capacity to do something similar, you might want to try it.

The Core Target Member

May 4, 2016Comments Off on The Core Target Member

Who is the core target member of the community?

Think about it for a second.

I’m betting it’s “people who buy our products/services!”

Can you equally help and support each of these people?

Do you have experts who can answer questions no-one else can?

Do you have many people in similar situations who can quickly respond to their most common questions?

Do you have a culture that’s set to welcome this group of people? Will they already know some people in the group ?

We’re often so terrified of turning anyone away that we would rather accept all comers and disappoint the great majority instead.

That’s nuts.

Nothing makes us want to join a group more than being turned away.

It’s always better to target a specific type of member, and tell the rest to come back later.

Focus on the people you can help the most. Who would get the most value from the group? What kind of genuine experts do you have? What sector are most of your members in? What clusters of people are among your audience?

Build a profile. Who is the ideal member? How many years of experience do they have? Where do they live? What work do they do? What are their hopes and aspirations. What are their biggest problems? What are they afraid of?

Now build an entire journey around that. Measure their satisfaction with the community. Check their levels of activity.

Now…and only now…should you move on to your second target member.

If You Run A Small Business Today, Start A Facebook Group

Skip Facebook pages, blogs, and every hosted community platform.

Skip mailing lists and newsgroups too.

Create a Facebook group about the topic and invite your customers to join.

Or just invite your clients. Or maybe even just your work colleagues.

For all but the very largest organisations, groups are a better choice than a fan page today. You get more reach and greater depth. You can send a message to every member. You benefit from the long-established habit of visiting Facebook.

If you’ve ever tried to build a community on a hosted platform, you know how hard this is.

You can initiate events and invite every member. You can take advantage of a well established habit to visit the community. You can livestream webinars and other footage directly to the group.

The results are far more impressive too.

Most importantly, you benefit from the natural network effects. If a percentage of my close friends are in the group (as happens in most industries), Facebook recommends I join it too. Groups can grow incredibly fast.

As your audience grows, you can begin to build assets around it. You can create a blog and share the links in the group. You might create another community and begin posting discussions in the group. You might organise events and invite every group member.

Groups aren’t perfect by any means. You can’t get email addresses. You can’t onboard people the way you like. You can’t capture (ethically) email addresses. The technology might change at any moment (e.g. paid reach). You don’t get the SEO benefit. You can’t easily capture knowledge for the long-term.

However, in a world of shifting technology use and an ever-greater war for attention, they’re probably the single best tool any small business can use to get a community started today.

Members Did {X} More Than Non-Members

Of course they did, your members are your best customers.

If you tell your customers to join a community, those that know and like you best will dominate membership.

If you then compare the spending of community members against non-members you shouldn’t be surprised to discover that members spend more than non-members.

That’s not the ROI of the community, that’s a comparison of your best customers against the rest.

This mistaken formula handily guarantees every community shows a positive ROI, but it’s damaging when exposed.

It’s not whether members do {x} more than non-members that matters. It’s whether that metric’s increased more than non-members since joining the community.

If the average spending of members increased by $50 and non-members by $20 since joining the community, that’s $30 per member which might be attributable to the community.

Multiply this by the number of active members and you might have something.

Not a bullet-proof formula but far more defensible than comparing your best customers with the rest.

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