What an awesome welcome to my new digs. It was great to meet everyone and I hope that you'll find me everywhere I exist online so that we can all stay connected. I'm going to try to make these notes fun and tell a story as opposed to the usual bullet point style. Let me know if that works for you guys!
Segmenting your Community
Should I do it? This past week we tackled the ever difficult subject of segmenting your community. Despite our experience with very different communities, we came to a consensus pretty early on that it's better to have a strategy and segment as early as possible rather than waiting. Segmenting retroactively makes the process much more tedious, especially if you haven't gathered the necessary qualifiers of each subset you want to have. Segmentation needs constant tweaking and if it isn't built into your strategy early on you may never be able to acquire the necessary information to formcommunity subgroups. The value in deciding to segment your community comes from the benefits of better communication. As it was said Tuesday morning, "It's hard to speak to the pond: much easier to talk to buckets." Since each segment will be getting more relevant information there's a much higher chance of meaningful interaction.
What's the best way to do it? All of this wasn't too hard to figure out - segmenting is a smart thing to do. But how do you go about it? Should you segment by platform (ie. users of chat, email, etc)? While there's no easy to these questions, we all seemed to agree that segmenting users by engagement is important, especially if your company specializes in a particular function instead of many. Since your community in these instances is already niche, it's easier to segment by how active each member is as they all share a common interest. For larger companies with several functions or interests, segmentation by platform would be more important (at least initially). No matter the size or number of functions, it's always important to take note of passionate users.
Affecting Tone As Community Managers, it's our job to keep our communities happy by setting the tone of our respective spaces. When we're creating initiatives like ambassador programs, we need to take special consideration of creating an "us and them" problem. This would be especially true of segmented communities that interact (like with Henry's Meez.com community). While it's definitely true that most segmentedcommunities don't even know that they're segmented, special considerations need to be taken when your segments are public. For ambassador groups in particular, rewards that distinguish these members from everyone else could create an unhealthy elitism. A good compromise here would be to reward ambassadors with new betas or product features as opposed to something like sweatshirts. Since these are your most passionate users, product rewards should be enough of an incentive to keep them engaged.
Once our segments are created there are several steps that we can take to help the tone. Three helpful tips we agreed on were:
• Talking to a community member one-on-one to help understand them
• Define clear rule sets for your community (especially true for socialcommunities)
• Releasing public statements (ie. "We're resolving this issue" or "We've hit a new milestone!")
In conclusion, great breakfast all! I definitely think this discussion will continue for a very long time. To help facilitate I've included a little contact list of everyone who said that they were coming on MeetUp as a GoogleDoc. Can't wait for next month!
Carter Gibson, Associate Community Manager