How Your Forum Structure Can Help You Recruit and Keep New Members

Posted by Patrick on July 30th, 2012 in Community Cultivation, Developing Your Community, Managing Staff
Creative Commons License photo credit: smplstc

This is a guest post from Benjamin Plass, a reader, who is the Head of Community Management for Goodgame Studios.

Every community manager has goals. Everyone wants their community to grow. The forum structure influences this growth. It is therefore very important to understand and adjust it to your needs and overall goals.

To make your community grow, you have to engage your first time visitors and new members. The conversion from reader to a posting member is a big step and as Patrick has discussed, the majority of your users will just be reading.

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The (Limited) Wisdom of Unsolicited Advice

Posted by Patrick on July 26th, 2012 in Thinking
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikecogh

I was recently watching a video released by an actor and popular YouTuber. He had announced plans to start a Kickstarter project to fund an idea that he had and that was the subject of the video.

Now, this video was on YouTube and with that comes YouTube comments, generally regarded as poor quality. You can add a healthy amount of self entitlement into the mix, too. But, what really struck me was the people who were offering him unsolicited advice. I want to highlight advice that fits into two particular categories.

The first category is people telling him how he should make money online. Don’t use Kickstarter, we don’t want to give you money (always love the “we,” forgetting that within an hour or two, the campaign already passed a thousand dollars). You should monetize your videos on YouTube, you’ll make way more money, you should do X, Y and Z.

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Study: Twitter, Forums and Blogs Lead Online Mentions of Fortune Global 100 Brands

Posted by Patrick on July 23rd, 2012 in Research

Burson-Marsteller and Visible have released their third annual Global Social Media Check-Up report, detailing how the Fortune Global 100 participates on the social web.

Much of it is focused on how many accounts they have on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, how many people follow them through those accounts and how active they are.

One of the metrics that I found most interesting is their reporting of the average number of mentions per Fortune 100 company on various segments of the social web. These segments were video/photo sites, Twitter, reviews/shopping sites, news, forums, Facebook and blogs. The data was collected in February of this year.

Here is how these segments ranked:

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90-9-1 Principle Wasn’t Meant to Be Exact

Posted by Patrick on July 19th, 2012 in Research, Thinking

The 90-9-1 rule, popularized by Jacob Nielsen, based on research by Will Hall, says that 90% of users in an online community are lurkers who don’t contribute, while 9% contribute sometimes and 1% contribute frequently.

Last year, Paul Schneider attempted to update this principle by looking at a relatively small data set of 15 clients and suggested that the the rule should now be 70-20-10.

Once in a while, I see someone comment or write a post about how 90-9-1 is dead or no longer relevant or something similar. Sooner or later, if it reaches enough people, someone will come along and suggest the 70-20-10 rule needs to be updated, too.

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Should Paying Members Have to Follow Your Community Guidelines?

Posted by Patrick on July 16th, 2012 in Generating Revenue, Interacting with Members

In response to my request for reader suggestions, Kal was kind enough to outline the following scenario:

“I run a very small online games community that has around 500 [daily active users]. … The community and games are free but there is also the possibility to subscribe which gives access to additional features such as new games to play and being able to change colours and styles of the website – things like that.”

Some subscribers still break the more extreme site policies such as consistently verbally abusing each other or spamming the chat,” he continues. “What courses of action would you recommend for such community members, considering that they are also subscribers – should they still be banned without refund, for example? Thank you very much!”

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What Would You Like Me to Write About?

Posted by Patrick on July 12th, 2012 in

I love when I can write a post that directly addresses an issue that a reader is curious about. It has been about a year since I last asked directly, so I figured it was time to do so again: how can I help you?

What online community or forums related topic can I help you with? What would you like my take on? What would you like to ask me about? Of course, you can always contact me and I’m happy to chat, but I am looking for some ideas for things I should cover here. If you need to remain anonymous, please email me.

Beyond that, throw out as many ideas as you would like. Thank you for taking the time and for reading

We Are All Human: Why Non-Members of My Community Receive the Same Respect as Members

Posted by Patrick on July 9th, 2012 in Managing the Community, Thinking
Creative Commons License photo credit: kidsire

I watched the Home Run Derby this evening. For non-baseball fans, it is part of the yearly All-Star Game festivities, where a selection of players try to hit as many home runs as they can.

Robinson Cano, the second baseman for the New York Yankees, was the captain of the American League team this year, having won the competition last year. He put on a great show, with his dad pitching to him.

The All-Star Game is being held in Kansas City this year and, leading up to the Home Run Derby, Cano had said that he would like to see a Kansas City Royals player make the 4 man American League team. The Yankees and the Royals, are both in the American League. Not that he would pick a Royal, just that he would like to.

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“GOODBYE I HATE YOU ALL” Post Generator Helps Overdramatic Members Leave Your Community in Style

Posted by Patrick on July 5th, 2012 in Humor
Creative Commons License photo credit: OC Always

You may have run into a member of an online community, either as the manager or as a fellow member, that made, or attempted to make, a dramatic exit from the community by posting a colorful goodbye message. According to Urban Dictionary, this is sometimes referred to as a “flounce.”

If you manage a community for a while, there is a good chance that you will have a member attempt to do this. It may be harmless or it may violate your guidelines – especially if they are condescending or disrespectful, as is sometimes the case.

Earlier today, Lydia shared a link with me on Twitter that was originally shared by Jen Kramer. It was the “GOODBYE I HATE YOU ALL” post generator.

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“Monetizing Online Forums,” a Guide to Monetization Done Right, is Available Now (Free Download)

Posted by Patrick on July 2nd, 2012 in Generating Revenue,

9 months of work culminates today with the release of my new ebook, “Monetizing Online Forums,” published by Skimlinks. You can download it for free right now.

The goal of this project was to create a detailed guide to monetizing online forums the right way – in a manner that respects the community and balances out the need for a positive member experience with the need to generate revenue.

We cover all meaningful methods and discuss how to implement them and get the most out of them. This includes display advertising, in-text monetization, classified and thread based advertising, sponsored brand placement, affiliate programs and CPA networks, product sales, premium memberships, mobile and monetizing your outposts.

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