Month: November 2016
Salesforce has sponsored each of you with access to our Strategic Community Management templates.
This means you can now download our full set of strategic community management templates for free.
You can work on these solo or share these with your team. The goal of the templates is to force you to think strategically about the work you do.
To download the template, click here.
Thanks to Salesforce Community Cloud for making this possible.
p.s. You can get a $207 discount to our SCM program if you sign up by Friday 18th November.
We never did find out.
At any point did anyone ask for 6-second videos featuring your brand presented in a comical way?
They probably wanted a better site navigation structure, or quicker answers to their questions, or to feel better connected with people who can solve their problems etc…etc….
I can’t think of a time when what’s trendy and what matters have diverged so far apart. Skip all the cool social tools (Instagram, Twitter etc…) and focus on the fundamentals.
Popularity is never a good enough excuse to divide your time and the audience’s attention into smaller and smaller chunks.
Focus on doing the things that matter really well.
Understand the people ‘in the scene’ most want to be seen.
They show up to most events, they participate in every discussion, they proactively go out and do things that might raise their profiles. Their goal is to get the maximum amount of attention from others in the scene.
But don’t confuse the scene with the space.
The space is everyone interested or working in that sector. They care far less about their reputation and far more about immediate improvement. That improvement might be immediate ideas they can use to save time, money, or effort. They care about the immediate, tangible, support right now.
Often the scene is it’s own disconnected island within the space (or sector). It sucks up far more attention than it will ever deserve. Don’t confuse scene popularity with talent (or even being a good person). There is no correlation between the two. Think of the scene as high-school for adults (even the most famous adults). Lots of egos, lots of jealousy, lots of hot air.
Given the choice, it’s nearly always better to cater to the immediate needs of the space than the whims of the scene. The space is far bigger and more important.
Today we are opening enrollment for our Strategic Community Management program.
Our goal is to help you and your team apply strategic thinking to every activity you undertake and achieve phenomenal growth.
This is a guided training program taking place over six weeks.
This will cover:
- How to select a clear strategy based on specific psychological principles (learn which emotions drive what kind of behavior and how to amplify that emotion to drive outcomes).
- How to identify activities which drive phenomenal growth (use data-driven methods to identify what drives success, wind down the tasks which don’t matter, and shift your resources to achieve incredible results).
- How to segment your different audiences and cater to each of their needs at scale (follow our audience matrix to identify your unique audiences and satisfy each of their needs decisively).
- How to source and prioritize community tactics (learn where good ideas come from, how to spot a bad idea, and how to rank ideas by their reach, depth, and length).
- How and what to measure within a community (rethink why you measure a community and focus on building improvement-loops instead).
- How to build a community dashboard completely customized to your community and your team’s goals (stop using Google analytics and build your own dashboard using Google Sheets or Excel).
- How to grow and manage a growing team of community professionals (learn who to hire, what to pay them, how to manage their workload, and how to keep them motivated).
This is a hands-on guided program requiring a few hours a week over 6 weeks.
Our focus is on application, not information. We don’t want you to soak up information, we want you to use it. Ourselves and our coaches are going to ensure you can apply every principle to your community.
Registration opens today. You can get a 25% early-bird discount if you sign up by Friday 18th November.
I hope we see some of you on the inside.
p.s. We know you’re busy over Christmas. The guided program will begin in January. Once you sign up you get immediate access to all course material.
To do a few things extremely well you would need to stop doing most of the things you’re doing today.
This is the entire purpose of strategy. Strategy should force through really difficult decisions about what you’re not going to do, which battles you’re not going to fight, just to focus on the things that really do matter.
Most people avoid this. They create strategies to help them do what they’re doing even better. This isn’t strategy, it’s wishful thinking.
A strategy should make you feel uncomfortable. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not a strategy.
A strategy takes bravery and courage to execute. It’s really hard to say “these things are working…but not well enough to justify us to keep doing them”.
Some members will be upset, some colleagues might be upset, but you need to push through that to stick to a strategy that you know will have the best possible impact on the largest number of people.
Believe me, I know how hard it is to embrace that discomfort and kill programs that are popular with a vocal minority but taking up too many resources. But this is exactly what separates the amateurs from the professionals.
Those managing communities as a hobby can afford to do the work they most enjoy. This might mean delighting members at a micro one to one level and resolving each problem as it arises. But you’re not paid to only do the work you enjoy. You’re paid to look at the community in its entirety and figure out how to deliver the maximum possible value.
Get ready to embrace that discomfort, the personal attacks, and the criticism from members who complain about you personally.
…and get ready to enjoy success in the form of graphics steadily ticking up and to the right.
Most community strategies are a collection of tactics bundled together from books, blogs and conferences. They try to help you do what you’re doing better.
But a strategy isn’t about optimizing what you do. A strategy decides what’s worth doing in the first place and allocates your resources to do these things unbelievably well.
You can spend your entire year doing routine tasks like welcoming every new member, writing content to fill your calendar, hosting AMAs, interviewing experts, writing your newsletter, organizing meetups, initiating new discussions, replying to discussions etc…
But have any of these ever moved the needle for you? Have any of these driven double-digit growth in any metric that matters to you?
You want to allocate your time, money, and your energy to the 3 to 5 things that are worth doing and give these things everything you’ve got.
The biggest communities today didn’t try to do everything really well. They identified which were the critical things worth doing in the first place.
Great Things Happen When You Allocate Your Resources Well
Let’s take a simple example. You might interview experts on a weekly basis to help members learn more about the products and increase customer retention.
There are two ways of doing this.
1) A Weekly Webinar. Create a weekly slot to interview an expert, reach out and see who’s available, ask them to present their idea in an interview format, record the webinar and publish the video on YouTube.
2) An Expert Video Series. Take a week to interview 10 members to find out what they are struggling with and what kind of help they need. Research who has the best solution to that problem. Fly them to a professional recording studio to give a hands-on demonstration. Hire an editor to make the footage look incredible. Give top members a sneak preview and ask them to promote it when it’s live. Host the video on Vimeo or Wistia for easy-sharing/tracking tools. Have the expert answer any follow-up questions for a period of two weeks.
You can easily see the difference in impact of the two. The former will get a few attendees, the latter might be shared across the web. The latter has the potential to move the needle.
Even if you cannot afford to fly the experts in, you can still hire a professional editor to cut an hour-long tedious webinar into a terrific-looking 15-minute clip that gets sent to every new member with native sharing features enabled.
These are the kinds of things we’re talking about when we talk about moving the needle.
Building The Definitive Database
Or imagine if instead of replying to every single discussion, you use every answer and your own research to build the definitive database of members, products, companies, reviews, tools, locations, or whatever else might matter to your members.
Every good answer to every question gets added to the database. A resource like this will attract far more people. You could reward the people who get the most additions to the database. Once you free yourself from doing the little things you can focus on the really big things like this. You’re still using the same amount of resources, but you’re allocating them differently.
What Would You Do With Unlimited Resources?
You can do this for almost any tactic you do today.
Take a second to imagine what would happen if you had to spend all your time, money, and resources on just one tactic.
It’s this kind of thinking that sets you on the path to achieving phenomenal results. You might be amazed by just how much you can achieve once you learn to stop doing the things which don’t have a big impact.
p.s. Registration for our Strategy Community Management program opens this week. We’re going to take a group of passionate community managers through the process of applying strategic thinking to every single action you take to achieve phenomenal growth.
The challenges are quite predictable:
1) Rising levels of spam and abuse.
As an online community grows, you will encounter more incidents of spam and abuse. This is partially mathematical. 0.1% of the population being trolls sounds fine until you have 1m members and 1000 trolls to deal with every day. (more…)
It’s easy to get confused.
Here’s a simple cheat-sheet.
|Goals||This is the direct value your organization gets from the community.
e.g. Increased customer satisfaction scores
|Objectives||This is what you need your members to do to get this value.
e.g. Experts answering questions in the community faster.
|Strategy||This is the emotion you will amplify to get them to perform this behavior.
e.g. Build a superior group of top experts
|Tactics||These are the exact things you will do to amplify this emotion.
e.g. Fly top experts to your HQ to meet the CEO, give them inside information on the product roadmap, and solicit their feedback.
|Action Plan||This is who will do these things and when they will do them.
e.g. Mark will identify and invite the top experts for Jan 3rd, Jenn will introduce them to the product roadmap on Jan 11th.
|Improvement||This is how you learn to do things better.
e.g. Did the meeting with the CEO, the inside information, or having their opinions have the biggest impact? Let’s do more of what worked best.
This is a community strategic plan broken down to its most simplest form. You can use it to build a huge number of simple strategic plans for your work if you like.
The art of developing community strategy is to figure out the best things to do to achieve your goals.
Think Strategically About Everything You Do
I want you to think strategically about everything you plan to do in your community today.
Are you doing these things because they are clearly directly connected to the layer above and have been shown to drive results?
Or have you just gotten into the habit of doing them?
The biggest way to improve today is to do far fewer things really, really, well.
That means you need to stop doing all those things which might drive engagement but aren’t strategic. Be really ruthless with your time and devote your time to your biggest wins instead.
What We Learned From 1k Community Professionals
We’ve worked with over 1k+ community professionals in our academy and we’ve found almost every single person can deliver more results simply by cutting out the tasks that don’t drive results.
If you’re not sure, try working upwards from the table above. Begin at the actions you’re taking today and identify the tactics, strategy, objectives, and goals. You might be surprised to see your own mismatch.
p.s. Registration for our Strategic Community Management program will open next week. If you’re tired of chasing metrics and want to work on the things that matter, I hope you will consider joining us.
“We’re hoping members will refer others”
Sentences like these come up often.
Hope doesn’t make for a good strategy.
Far better to provide a mechanism for that to happen.
If you want referrals, provide an exclusive invite members can share with 1 friend only. Release some secret news that no-one else knows about and tell people not to tell others (trust me). Solicit contributions from members on a joint project they would love to talk about. Profile members in a way that lets them show off to their friends.
Don’t hope for something to happen. Do something that’s going to make it happen.
It sounds really obvious, but we never cease to be surprised
For most organizations today, this is the best of all three worlds.
The forum is for responses to new and unique questions.
The knowledge area for documenting the new responses and tackling the most common questions before people call the call center.
The ideas area for product complaints and suggestions (because isn’t every complaint also a very precise suggestion?)
Once you realize what each area is for you can begin to optimize each.
The goal of the forum is to answer the question in the quickest possible time and with a satisfactory answer. That means immediate access to experts who are eager to help and know what they are doing. This, in turn, means growing a base of experts who are motivated to answer questions.
The goal of the knowledge base is to hit the search traffic for the most relevant terms. This means keeping it frequently updated and ensuring it’s technically suited for search. This means finding processes to highlight the best material and the people who enjoy documenting this knowledge.
The goal of the ideas (or complaints/customer service) zone is to respond to criticisms or complaints where people feel listened to and that they had an impact. You might want to use a Reddit-style ranking feature for this so people can vote up the ones most relevant to you and surface useful insights from the community.
I want to spend the next few weeks talking about strategy.
We often have the entirely wrong idea about what strategy is and how we pull one together.
Over the next few weeks, I want to challenge some of our biggest assumptions about strategy.
Today I’m going to share one of the most useful community building resources we use. It’s based on an old business framework called Ansoff’s Matrix.
Understanding FeverBee’s Audience Matrix
You should never try to target your entire community with any activity. The needs of each group vary considerably.
You should instead target the group that is most likely to drive the kind of behavior you need (check the 3rd column of this table to understand what behavior is valuable).
Once you know the behavior, you can decide which audience can most increase the quantity of that behavior in your community.
This feeds into some natural strategies as you see below.
This means every strategy should be based on these specific questions.
1) Is it easier to get existing members to perform more of the behavior (easy unless they are participating as much as they can)?
2) Is it easier to get existing members who don’t perform their behavior to do it (ideal if they are easy to persuade)?
3) Is it easier to get new people who perform the behavior elsewhere to do it in your community? (often easier than persuasion).
4) If these don’t seem especially easy, you need to reconceptualize your entire community.
Your answers to these questions will play a critical role in your strategy.
Imagine you want to increase the quantity of useful knowledge shared about your sector.
You could target top members who already share knowledge to do more of it (perhaps via a reward program or habit-building process).
You could target regular members to improve the quality of knowledge they share (perhaps with training, newsletters, and other content).
You could target people who already share great knowledge to join your community and do it there (perhaps via a growth strategy).
There are three very different audiences and three very different strategies.
Determine Your Target Audience
Before you do anything else today, decide which of the four quadrants you’re working on.
Do you want existing members to do more of what they’re doing? Do something new? Or do you want new members?
The strategy for each of these will be very different.
Once you have your answer, it becomes a lot easier to identify the kind of tactics you need.
p.s. This material is taken from our upcoming Strategic Community Management program. We’re going to train a group of passionate community managers to rethink their work and take a strategic approach to everything they do. Registration will open in two weeks.