Community members despise corporate lies or “marketing language” that paints a rosy picture even though they are being stomped on by a policy change or benefit reduction. Use transparent communication when breaking bad news to your online community. It is bad enough that you must deliver a Debby-downer to your passionate membership, but do not make matters worse by lying or using smoke and mirrors to distract them. They know exactly what is going on and their anger and disapproval will only increase if you choose to treat them like idiots.
You have a brilliant idea for an online community and you need members in droves fast. You hatch your Social Media strategy, launch various Search Engine Marketing campaigns and implement the best SEO possible. However, there are so many communities available you want to distinguish yourself and you have chosen the incentive route to encourage massive registrations. Your first inclination is to offer the very best incentives and to tackle international fulfillment. This might be the worst decision you can possibly make.
Managing an online community can grind to a halt or can be very painful if you do not create good database rules for your registration form fields. Whether you have a brilliant new idea and you are working out of your garage or if you are an established community with dozens to hundreds of employees you must ensure your are collecting clean data. In the long run this will help your IT load, reporting and will prevent affiliate fraud to some degree.
Last week Facebook announced Skype integration allowing for video chat. This new feature will now bring far away friends or old friends together in a new medium through the Facebook community platform. This is a great new feature and one that probably had enormous scale issues to overcome given Facebook’s 700 million user base.
If you are managing an online consumer community it is paramount that you track why a valued community member closes their account. For me every active community member or member account that was acquired by monetary means is a valued member. As a community manager responsible for tracking the ROI of an individual community member and for controlling community member acquisition costs you must be able to understand your membership. You must also be able to track, predict and correct the community’s behavior. Understanding why a member account was closed is part of that equation.
You have decided to build an online community, and you have the recruitment campaign materials (Part 1 of this series) to start growing your community membership. Most importantly, you have secured funding to use an affiliate program to help increase your community membership levels. So it is time to turn on the spigot and spend some cash, right? Yes, but you better have great affiliate tracking and monitoring measures in-place so you actually get active members with your spend and not bot created accounts. Nothing is worse than determining your cost per acquisition is quadruple the standard market rate and that high cost is a result of affiliate fraud.
An online community is a wonderful way to engage your core customers, potential customers and raving fans. Companies today can make these important people feel more like a family member than a stranger with purchasing power. This is not the old days folks. In the past a company would internally develop a product or service and bring it to market. Of course most would utilize focus groups and market research, but a company could never truly get customer sentiment like they can today.