After a great first day, a rare full night’s sleep for me and a refreshing walk through the centre of London had me all geared up for a great day at the conference element of FeverBee’s SPRINT Europe event.
Day two saw the more standard conference format kick in, with the first session featuring the “smiliest man in the community world”, Joe Cothrel from Lithium, talking about how we can grow our existing communities, based on a great strategy of Targeting, Attracting, Converting, Engaging and finally Super-engaging members. It didn’t escape me how this had similarities to the popular Hook model that’s been gaining a lot of attention recently and I’ve read quite a lot about. Joe also pointed out that 30% of content is generated by our communities’ superusers and therefore how we all need to be considering how to formalise the superuser process.
Registration was another key issue in Joe’s talk – popping registration could double your abandon rate, whereas on the flip side, if you worded things a bit softer, almost making it voluntary, you could as much as double your success rate: e.g. “Would you like to join our community?”
Next up was the always entertaining Jenn Lopez on how to ensure that SEO is integral to your community’s strategy.
Jenn was very clear throughout that links should be earned and not built, so the quality of your content and indeed how you title it, is of upmost importance. As ever Jenn shared an absolute myriad of tips and tools about how to format your posts and keywords to help people find your content and indeed link back to it when they do.
You can check out her slides from the session here, and I strongly suggest you do, there are so many lightbuld moments – not least about the NASA guy with the cool hair!
Next for me, as the day broke up into two different tracks, was to head over to listen to Tanja Knorr-Sobiech, from Bosch, about how the internal community there is simply growing and growing, with over 20K communities on their IBM based platform. Almost 90% of employees are active on this community – an incredible success rate, and one of many statistics that most people in the room had twinges of the green-eyed monster about. Tanja shared some really great ideas about how they onboard people in to the Community and keep them engaged by encouraging content production and participation through a wide variety of initiatives, from World Cup themed problem solving games via the vast number of selfies that were shared to celebrate the community’s first birthday.
Just before lunch was a lively session with the brilliant Dan Spicer, from Hootsuite, giving some great tips and advice on how to cultivate your community of advocates or super users, sharing the tried and tested tactics used at Hootsuite. These guys really have this nailed on and Dan gave some great advice on how to get your fans and advocates really raving about your brand. Key takeaways were around making sure you engage actual customers and not just influencers; merging your on and offline worlds with meet ups and conferences and, perhaps most importantly, making sure that your advocates know that you’re listening to them, showing that you’re taking onboard their feedback and how you’re applying it to your roadmap. A really great session by one of the industry’s bright young stars.
After lunch I started out back with Caty Kobe as she spoke about putting together your community strategy. There was a strong message throughout about knowing where you were right now in the community lifecycle and having an understanding of where you wanted to go, using what Caty referred to as “The Goldilocks Principle” for knowing how much to do – not too much, not too little, working out what was just enough to push yourself whilst remaining achievable.
After a short break I headed to the venue’s smaller room to listen to Kim England speak about how learning giants Pearson had gone about building a highly engaged community. This session proved to be so popular that an eleventh hour decision was made to with rooms with the other session, so Kim found herself in the main room with a packed house, and what a great story to hear about too. There seems to be a changing tide in the learning community about how communities can really help people learn, more and more people are getting it now and helping their stakeholders to understand, and it’s people like Kim that are helping to spread this message. strategic use of gamification, building use case to drive adoption, truly global initiatives to bring people together and work together and learn from each other. A really great session that provided so much inspiration for people there to observe I’m sure. You can check out the Mini Rough Guide that she spoke about during the session here
The last session in this track was with Matt Doris of Etsy where we learnt how the growth of Etsy teams, driven by members of the community who were also Etsy customers and sellers, were helping each other online AND offline, working together in their local regions to put offline activities such as pop-up shops and Christmas markets on. There were examples of how community members were teaching others the skills they would need to be successful on the site in classroom based sessions, sponsored by Etsy and local councils. What were Matt’s key points in how this comes to be in this endearing story? Being a supportive friend. Being a gracious host. Being an involved citizen. Great lessons to take away.
The day, and indeed the event, was completed with a fun and frank Ask Me Anything session with Justine Roberts, founder of parenting and community behemoth Mumsnet. Some great stories around the history of the site, ethics, freedom of speech and how making small changes often can help you to remain agile and relevant in what can at times be crowded marketplace for information.
More drinks and networking before heading back up north rounded out my first experience of a Community Managers event. I met some great people. I heard some great stories, both on the stage and off. I learned a ton of great information that I know, when I’ve been able to reflect and digest everything, is really going to help me and subsequently our community, be successful. FeverBee put on an incredibly well organised two days with an awesome group of speakers. I learned that Community Managers are a great bunch of genuine, lovely people, and I’m happy to be a part of the crowd and look forward to following some of those stories and meeting everyone again and continuing to learn with you all.