Archive for March, 2007
- Digital Influence Mapping Project: Social Media and the World Bank
The World Bank Blog: It is the Private Sector Development Blog which is gaining popularity. And there are real people behind it who readers can get to know and trust. This small effort is a giant step in the right direction. The direction? As he put it, we need to move away from the Big Bang theory of communications – where we are trying to get that colossal clip (we here that all the time – “get us on The Today Show, Oprah, WSJ”). And we should move towards lots of little bangs like the ones created by this blog.
Tags: None assigned
- Global Neighbourhoods: Scrapblog goes live with Blogger Preview editions
Scrapblog has almost gone live. We are offering, as of now, a Blogger Preview Edition.
- Canuckflack / It’s about time the Anarchists got their shit together
A leaflet on a telephone pole. On many telephone poles downtown.
“Building the Anarchist Movement”
building a sustainable anarchist movement in Ottawa.
About time that the Anarchists get organized.
- Seth’s Blog: Misogyny and anonymity
Anonymity hasn’t made the web a better place. Instead, it has allowed some of the worst ideas ever to get published.
- Ketcheson.net :: “So Said the Organization”
Colin McKay has started up a worthy project with the “So Said the Organization” blog.
- KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog: It couldn’t happen to a nicer company
With its usual great reporting style, the New Yorker’s Jeffery Goldberg does a beautiful job of explaining just how Wal-Mart uses Edelman and PR in general to achieve its ends. What is really hypocritical is the extent to which Edelman portrays itself as a leader in social media — an environment that prides itself on honesty and transparency — and yet practices the worst forms of deception.
- Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging « Lorelle on WordPress
Have you been the target of mean spirited bloggers? What did you do about it? What can you do? How should you respond?
- prblogger.com » Blog Archive » 7 ways to improve a blog’s SEO
7 ways to improve your blog’s SEO
- a shel of my former self
live blogging has become a core component of many conferences and events, especially those dealing with technology and social media.
- Where My Mind has Wandered : A Solid Corporate Blog Case Study (Finally)
a fantastic case study on the Southwest Airlines corporate blog, replete with the kind of statistics and anecdotal information that is of value to communications professionals.
- gapingvoid: "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards": edelman talk
Hugh Macleod’s presentation notes to Edelman London about blogs and post-Cluetrain reality for one of their clients
- NLC Internet Marketing Blog » Review: Joost and What it Means for Marketers
If content is really King, then Joost may be the dais.
Every time I give a talk, someone always asks, “That’s all good and nice that helping users learn is the key to creating passionate users… but who’s going to do all that extra work? Who’s going to make the extra tutorials and better docs?” Answer: your user community. Think about all the things a strong user community can do for you: tech support, user training, marketing (evangelism, word of mouth), third-party add-ons, even new product ideas. And that’s not including any extra sales you might make on community/tribe items like t-shirts, stickers, and other gear.
Yes, there’s still a budget… but we’ve all seen third-party fan/user groups that got no support at all from “the mother ship” and yet thrived and gave users a level of support and training the company didn’t provide. But there’s still that little of issue of getting users involved, and for that–the single biggest factor is getting users involved at a much earlier path on their learning journey than typically happens.
This picture is from an earlier post:
In Building a User Community Part 1 we talked about the importance of not only a strict “There Are No Dumb Questions” policy, but also an even more dedicated “There Are No Dumb Answers” message.
Today, this post will offer a few more tips on how to use your marketing budget (tiny as it may be) to build, support, and grow a user community from the beginning.
* Host some kind of discussion forum (can include chat, wikis, and blogs as well), and do whatever it takes to get people there as soon as possible, ideally while the thing is still in beta (but it’s never too late to start!)
* Look on other third-party forums where users are discussing (which usually means struggling) your product, and find the most active people. Reach out to your earliest adopters or strongest new users and offer them non-paid incentives for becoming active. Chances are, if you have any users at all and your product is even the least bit complicated, people are discussing it somewhere. This could be anywhere from Amazon product reviews to technical discussion boards and even comments on related blogs.
* Make these folks life-time “charter members” with special privileges and recognition as ‘founders’ that nobody else will ever get.
* Have levels and rewards for participating (but again, not money–that totally changes the motivation, or at least the perceived motivation). The rewards can simply be status, early access to betas, and especially restricted access to the developers where they can discuss their ideas or at least listen to the engineers and designers describe why they made the choices they did, etc. [Don't reward people for post quantity alone... if post-count is the only criteria, you end up with a zillion useless posts]. Study successful user group communities for examples (like, say, javaranch.com–3/4 million unique visitors a month).
* Teach users how to help other members by creating documents (or getting other users to write them) on how to ask and answer questions in the most productive way.
* Include some just-for-fun activities in your community, like one (usually ONLY one) totally off-topic forum.
* Make sure there are interesting, easy-access ways for users to get to know more about one another. Be SURE to have user profile pages that include gender, photos, and some other personal info in addition to the specifics related to this particular community. Which leads to…
* Encourage members to meet offline! Hold a dirt-cheap User’s Conference, ideally in more than one city, to get things started. Start a forum from the people who sign-up for the conference, and offer user group or forum leaders free entry to the event (and be sure to have a private user group or forum leader cocktail reception). Tips for that are in this recent post on face-to-face). Create a document on How To Start A User Group, and make sure users know how to get it. There is a great series of posts on how to start a user group written by the guys behind the Edmonton .NET User Group. (Thanks guys)
* Encourage forum moderators or other community leaders to have their own private discussion space.
* Don’t tolerate abuse of the beginners, but don’t force the experts to have to put up with newbie issues. As any community matures, you must provide separate areas for newbies and experts… if the community culture is one of generosity and motivation, there will still be enough experts who want to spend time helping newbies.
* Why not help your top community leaders get a book deal? You never know… if it’s a tech topic, direct them (or yourself) over to Wiley publisher Joe Wikert for some excellent and candid advice (search his archives, and you’ll find everything from how to write a proposal, whether you need an agent, etc.)
* Consider starting a monthly “official” user group membership subscription, with something that comes in the real mail each month. Think about it. Think about how you feel when Fedex or UPS pulls up with that little Amazon box with the smile on the side. Each month, send them a newsletter or DVD. Where’s the budget for that content? Get your users involved! Have them submit things, and use the small monthly membership fee to cover the cost of materials and mailing, etc. Maybe you can partner with a sponsor on this, to include other things in the monthly “kit.”
* Create limited-edition, not-for-sale t-shirts, stickers, and other gear JUST for the founding community members (if you’re just getting started in building a community). For ongoing communities, do the same thing and distribute them randomly, for free. Use the principle of “intermittent variable reward” that works so well to make slot machines and twitter so addicting ; )
* Make your community leaders or even just active participants HEROES. Create “superhero” Moo cards for them. Plaster their photos everywhere. (Cute story I heard from a reader here — she met her husband online while they were both moderators for an Autodesk CAD forum.)
* Host an offline retreat just for the key community leaders. Can’t afford to do what Microsoft does with its Search Champs? Can’t afford to put people up at the “W”? Have a campout. Supply the marshmallows.
* Above all, keep teaching members to teach other members. Give everyone a crash course in learning theory. The better they become at helping others–the more skills they develop in mentoring/tutoring others–the more meaningful and motivating it is for them to keep on doing it..
These are just a few tips for now. Stay tuned for more. And of course, please add your own… while I have quite a lot of user group/community experience having launched several groups from scratch, they were all technology-related, and many of you are from very different domains.
If your app was an employee, what kind of employee would it be? When it’s employee performance review time, how would you rate it? These are just a few of the apps I’ve worked with recently…
What other app/product employee-types are there? Know any apps that need an employee appraisal?
Some Tuesday links:
We love Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror, and thanks to Ryan Fox for pointing out this post on friendlier 404 pages. Ryan was kind enough to refer to our 404 page here as “not great” as opposed to what he was actually thinking. [We've added that to the list of things to fix.]
Jacqueline Nagel translated one of our posts into German. You’ll have to guess which post this was from. Thanks Jacky!
There’s a very short video clip the SXSW folks put together, edited from my opening remarks there. It’s not exactly the way it happened in the talk — they cut things and rearranged things — but it does show a couple of the slides about The Suck Threshold.
My good friends at Stikkit wrote to say they have integrated a version of the WTF button into an upcoming beta. (You’ll see a WTF button in the video clip from SXSW). I’m sure Asha Dornfest will let us know when we can actually see it in action.
Marty Baker has some good stuff on creativity at Creativity Central
Richard Sauerman started a new blog, Wake Up Tiger with a tagline and premise that sounds disturbingly a bit too self-helpish for me, but it isn’t. It’s funny, it’s creative and sassy (manages to stay above the “cheesy/sappy” threshold), and it’s really making me smile!
(Warning: it is only 98% safe for work).
Longtime reader here Thierry Koehrien has a new publishing project, and the English version is here.
Alright, Nathan and Max have a passion for… ink. Yes, ink. Like the kind you put in your printer and pay too much for. They even have a show, and against my will, I find myself enjoying this. If these guys can make a passion-site out of ink, you can do it with frickin’ anything.
If you’re interested in humanizing the user’s experience (and I know you are), don’t forget to check out Humanized.
Those of you at my SXSW opening know why The Daily Puppy is important. As for the mystery behind the not-always-subliminal gratuitous puppy photos in my talk, I’m leaving that for an exercise for the reader, although those of you who’ve been to my older “Creating Passionate Users” talk have a pretty good idea. The fun/silly thing was that throughout the week, a few other panelists threw random puppy photos into their slides, regardless of the topic. I loved it.