Learning On The Job and Community Tips From Social Sciences
If you have gotten value from this free blog over the years,
imagine the value you would get from a structured
Professional Community Management course.
Some community professionals are against training. If they
learnt on the job, why can’t you?
Learning on the job takes a long time, you make a lot of
mistakes, and you don’t know what you’re missing. You might get by without
training, and many do, but we can agree you would be MUCH better with training.
During our course,
we show how you can use social sciences (something most community professionals
know little about) to immediately improve communities. Here are a few basic
Tip 1 –
Self-Disclosure discussions within the first interactions
You want members to participate in a self-disclosure
discussion within a matter of minutes of joining the community.
This means ensuring the post-confirmation e-mail, the first
visit, and any personal welcomes guide members to participate in these
discussions. If members participate in a self-disclosure discussion, they’re
far more likely to return and participate in further responses.
Yet, still most communities tell people to complete their
profiles first. This is a huge mistake. There is no causation from completing a
profile to becoming a regular participation in the community. There is from
self-disclosure discussions to regular participant.
By applying this, you can significantly increase the
newcomer conversion rates in communities. This is a simple piece of advice
that, once you know, you can apply to every community you ever work on. This
tip alone is incredibly valuable.
Tip 2 – Appeal to
Members are rarely motivated by noble goals to share knowledge or improve the field. They’re motivated by appeals to selfish and
Persuading members they’re experts (see labeling theory) and
their specific contributions are needed immediately increases your level of
participation. If you prime members when they join to highlight the skills,
knowledge, and resources, they have that will be useful to the community –
they’re far more likely to use them. This is known as ABCD – Asset-Based
Priming questions are useful for increasing activity. In any
interactions with members, you can refer to their answers to these questions.
Again, once you know this, you can use this to improve every
community you work on. You can also take this further. You can create a social
status ladder within the community by giving attention (through content,
discussions, and mentions of their names) to encourage further contributions
from those members and solicit it from other members.
Tip 3 – Embracing
Symbols Within Communities
Strong, authentic, communities share the same symbols. These
symbols are the words, ideas, images, expressions which have a unique meaning
to participants. By identifying and applying these symbols throughout your
community, you avoid the trap of the community feeling corporate/branded.
Better yet, you can increase conversion rate and levels of
activity in the community by using these symbols. Use these symbols frequently
in your content, in your copy, and name areas of the community after these
Tip 4 – Using social
value to increase activity
The quality and quantity of knowledge shared in a community
significantly increases when participants feel a strong sense of community.
Sense of community is something you can build and manipulate. Creating a strong
shared history, regular series of events, using community symbology (see
above), pushing for more ‘hardcore’ discussions and all the other specific
here can create strong sense of community.
The community where members feel a strong sense of community
are also those which last the longest, are the most active, have the highest
levels of knowledge sharing, and have the greatest return on investment.
The Incredible Value
These are four tips from hundreds you can learn from
specific community training underpinned by social sciences. Without this
training, you might not have known one or even any of the above.
Training is a lifetime investment that both increases the
current value of your community and the future value of your community. Training
makes your existing community manager far more valuable.
There are four broad criticisms of community training. It’s
too expensive, it’s not accredited, online courses are a scam, and you learn on the job. Training is
always, ALWAYS, a bargain.
Yet training isn’t cheap. Training shouldn’t be cheap. Our
course limits the number of participants so we can focus on improving both
every participant and the specific communities they’re working on right now.
Training is for organizations that take their communities (and staff)
If you’re community isn’t where you want it to be, you need
a highly trained community professional. The spending on most communities ($40k
to $100k for staff, $5k to $500k for a platform, and plenty more in time,
opportunity, and reputational costs deserves it.
At the moment, most branded
communities fail. They ignore the basic principles of building communities and
fail. A highly trained community professional is the solution to these
A highly trained community
professional can guide you through the entire process of building a successful
We will teach you or your
team everything they need to know to be very, very, good at building successful
communities for organizations. You can see the taster videos we did on the
community membership lifecycle, measuring
different roles within a community team, and the
community management framework.
If this is what you need,
sign up for the Professional Community
Management training course.
You have one week
remaining. We offer a full refund guarantee if you’re not happy (only one
participant in the course’s entire history has asked for this). You also get a
framed certificate upon completion: