Today I participated in the third session of WOMMA’s Community Manager Specialist Training and was able to take notes to share with my readers again.
If you missed session one, you can see my Community Manager Training Session 1 notes.
These notes from session 3, Tools, are specifically written vaguely so as to not deplete the value of the class or negate the need for participation; they are only meant as a guide and as general notes.
This class’s speaker was Dawn Lacallade from ComBlu.
Goals of Session 3: Tools – Selecting the right tools to create the types of communities you want to foster for your brand.
Types of tools
- Activity Streaming & Microsharing
- Ideation Platforms
- User generated content (UGC) platforms
- Ratings & review
- Social networks
Forum: online discussion board that allows users to interact with each other.
- One of the few platforms for real-time dialogue
- Highly successful for uses in support as well as presales questions and answer
- Successful forums can be a great source of SEO juice, traffic, crisis management & idea generation
- Direct relationship can be labor intensive until an MVP responder group can be grown
- Can be expensive to set up with full-functioning platforms
- It is critical to show brand engagement to drive participation.
- Unanswered questions can pose a PR risk
Blog: Online version of a journal or diary that allows an individual or a brand to have an ongoing venue for sharing information and opinions. Written in a chronological format
- Low cost and realtively easy to set up.
- Share large blocks of conten with ease.
- Successful blogs can deliever high seo value, can have high readerships, can be a valueable tool in crisis management and can be used to give a voice and personality to a brand.
- Difficult way to foster interaction via comments
- Requires frequent content to maintain freshness
- Difficult to access older conten one it’s archived
- Doesn’t resonate with all audiences (ie: low tech)
- Can be hard to make a new blog stand out in a crowded field of blogs
*It may be more difficult to grow interaction with a blog, allowing social log-in in content may help with this.*
Wikis: A web-based application that allows multiple experts to contribute and collaborate to form document for information sharing.
- Allows for collaboration on large quantities of content by man authors/experts.
- High participation medium for the most dedicated participants.
- Taps into the wisdom of the crowd to come to the best content
- Can be very successful as an internal knowledge sharing tools.
- Successful wikis can be great traffic and SEO tools and can also generate high quality content.
- Takes an extraordinary amount of cultivation to maintain and grow an active wiki
- Only the highest participants will contribute
- Dedicated platform is required and can be costly
- Fairly limited document and content presentation types
Activity Streams/Microsharing: a short-text medium that is a fast way to pass snippets of information publically. Users can follow individuals or brands to keep up real time. (Example: Twitter).
- Low cost & easy to set up.
- Real-time dialogue with customer.
- Real-time listening can deliver early PR warning system
- Successful Twitter handles can have high readership and can be a valuable tool in crisis management. Can also be used to give a voice and personality to a brand.
- Short format can be challenging.
- Takes a lot of attention to create a dialogue.
- Important to create a persona for ongoing dialogue.
- Difficult to access older content once it is archived.
- Doesn’t resonate with lower tech audiences. – make sure you are needing the demographic that can be found on Twitter.
Ideation Platforms: Various online platforms that encourage individuals (customers) to collaborate to solve a business, product or social challenge. Often these platforms use voting to identify the best ideas. (Startbucks Ideas)
- Receive and organize mass amounts of feedback for the brand that can help:
- Improve products
- Improve services and processes
- Use cases/insights
- Drives loyalty and repeat customers because the brand is listening.
- Some platforms can have a high cost.
- Very high internal resource requirements to get full value.
- High business risk:
- Implied expectation that highly voted ideas will be implemented regardless of business value.
- Enough ideas are not implemented.
User Generated Content (UGC) platforms: Open Web platforms that allow users to contribute, store, and share content they have created. This content can be in the format of pictures, slides, videos, and code. (Slideshare, YouTube)
- Little to no cost to participate.
- Has millions of participants within the platforms.
- Surfing for new content is common.
- Crosslinking increases SEO.
- Low cost hosting platforms.
- Very hard to get users to create and share video and photo mediums due to the high time investment involved and the technology barriers.
- Might not appeal to lower technology audience
- East to set up, harder to differentiate
- Requires consistent content generation to maintain audience.
Ratings & Review: Web-based tools that allow consumers to rate (usually via star levels) or author-written reviews about products. Potential customers use this content as they consider purchases.
- Customers are a more credible resource for product information that the brand in the eyes of the consumer.
- Offers both low-barrier participation with simple rating systems and deeper participation with reviews.
- Source of great marketing quotes and use case stories
- Tool platform should integrate into commerce site.
- Off property ratings and review sites compete with brand sites
- Negative ratings and reviews will exist and should be addressed not removed.
- Can be challenging to populate.
Social Networks: Online representation of existing relationships either personal or professional. Platforms allow interaction, the sharing of content, uploading of files, following, commenting, and more engagement.
- Low cost and relatively easy to set up.
- Delievers content to your audience where they are spending time, requiring little effort on their own part.
- Direct dialogue with the consumer
- Social sharing makes for low barrier word-of-mouth (WOM)
- Requires customers to invite you to their party.
- Can be buried among many brands all speaking at your audience.
- Platform changes can be challenging to maintain.
- Customized pages will cost more.
- Difficult to draw out a discussion.
Did you attend the Tools session? What did you think?
Learn more about WOMMA’s Community Manager Training program.