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online community metrics framework

In our latest research study, “The Business Impact of Online Communities,” we found that almost half (49%) of communities report revenue gains from their online community. This is an exciting proof-point, but it warranted further investigation. What enables some communities to be financially productive while others remain a cost center?

 

To answer this question, we analyzed the data to identify the winning conditions that bring in the green. It became clear that mature online communities tend to report greater revenue gains:

  • 55% of communities five years or older generate or influence more than $1M
  • 43% of communities that have existed for two years or less generate or influence less than $10,000

 

At first glance, it seems that it takes at least five years for a community to stabilize, build critical mass, break even, and generate revenue.  But then we started to peel back the onion to better understand the drivers behind this hunch.  Based on in-depth conversations with our clients, backed by additional research, we’ve found that “ramp up” issues don’t stand between communities and revenue – measurement and reporting issues do.

 

In fact, it does not typically take five years for an online community to realize revenue.  It takes five years for community leaders to develop processes and metrics to measure and report revenue gains.  It does not have to take so long!

 

Here are three steps marketing and community leaders can follow to recognize revenue faster:

 

  1. Build a business case

Too often, organizations build online communities based on a single use case – such as customer support or employee advocacy – not a full-blown business case that articulates a clear path to an ROI.  As a result, community managers put their time and attention into the tactical aspects of managing their communities instead of focusing on the business impact that the community is making.

The catalyst for change usually occurs when the community graduates from being a social experiment and becomes aligned with a line of business.  That’s when an executive steps in and wants to know how the community is advancing his or her business goals.  And that, in turn, forces the community manager to articulate KPIs and success measures.

 

It’s time to put the horse before the cart!  By building a solid business case – including a revenue model – at the outset of the process, community managers can measure what matters from the get-go.

 

We spoke with Leo Daley, Director of Services Marketing & Community at Kronos who discussed the importance of planning business impact from the start. He says “We just went live in October, and our community is first and foremost a support destination, so we’re focused on providing a great customer experience in finding answers to support questions and managing support cases. Doing that well drives customer success and loyalty. Also, our sales reps are telling me the community is a unique differentiator with prospects. And since the Kronos community is on the same platform as our CRM and support, we’ll be able to measure the impact.”

 

  1. Get your financial house in order

You won’t know if you’re achieving the benefits of your business case if you’re not tracking basic financial data.  Yet, in our research study, 25% of marketing and community leaders – one in four – report that they don’t know or don’t track their community expenses. And almost 40% do not know whether their community saves their organization money or not.

 

The mandate for community managers is crystal clear:  know what you’re spending and know what you’re saving.  Even if your community is generating revenue, without a clear picture of spend and yield, it’s impossible to calculate ROI.

 

  1. Connect the dots

In our study, we found that 36% of online communities influence revenue via customer retention and satisfaction – which is how the majority of marketing and community leaders define competitive advantage.If your community platform is not integrated with your other customer-focused platforms, how can you measure the influence on revenue?  You must connect your member data to customer data.

 

Michelle Groff Burling Director of Content Management, Communities, and Collaboration at Hitachi Data Systems had more to add.   “One of our key initiatives is to redefine what and how we measure to gauge the business value derived from our community,” Michelle explained.  “As a start, we mapped the community’s purpose to our organization’s business strategy – associating all the work that takes place in community back to our goals. This provided the foundation for measurement areas that will offer key ROI insights. Some examples include identifying sales inquiries attributed to community, the number of resolved issues, and support call deflection.”

 

So what’s the bottom line?  Revenue is not dependent on community maturity.  Communities that generate or influence more revenue do so because they have developed a financial model for tracking revenue.  With a solid business plan, sound financial metrics, and integrated customer data, you can cut to the chase – measuring and reporting revenue sooner, rather than later.

 

You can download the study here (free) and I will be sharing more about the research at my session at JiveWorld on Tuesday @ 4:15. I am getting so excited about the event!!  And, if you have any questions or want to chat about the Community Impact framework please reach out - we can meet in Vegas

 

Thank you again to our presenters Sterling Bailey and Billy Volpone for a great webinar on Tuesday. For those of you who were unable to attend "Unified Customer Experience with Jive-x Salesforce Integrations" live, we've provided a recording of the presentation and demo. Feel free to post any and all comments and questions for Sterling or Billy below.

 

You can also download the deck here: Webinar Slides: Unified Customer Experience with Jive-x Salesforce Integrations

 

 

Question

Answer

Webinar: Unfiied Customer Experience with Jive-x Salesforce Integrations

Are these connectors available for the on-premise instance of JIve-x, what version does this connector work on?Currently, the Salesforce Case Management Connector is built and supported for Jive-x cloud deployments only.
Is it possible to restrict users of a Jive community from creating a case? i.e., not all of our Jive customers can create a caseYes – it depends on a few factors. The first is if they exist as a contact in Salesforce to begin with. The tile is going to compare their community email against the CRM system to confirm they are in both, if so, it will allow them to create a case. So if they are not a contact, they cannot create a case. Another option, since this connector exists in the form of a custom Jive tile, would be to only place the tile inside of a group in which a specific set of users could access it. If you control who sees the group, you can control who sees the case tile and therefor who can create a case.
As a manager, can i see all cases from my account/company that are created by my staff as cases, and not just the cases i have logged?Not currently. The tile will only show the cases of the user you're logged into the community as. In the future, we're thinking about iterating on this tile to allow for users with the same company email domain to be able to share case views.
Your story around T-Mobile's support strategy sounds amazing. Do you have another customer example you could share?Absolutely. We have dozens of stories of customers leveraging Jive-x for best-in-class support. Companies such as Tableau, EMC, McAfee and National Instruments are a few examples. Visit our Resource Library to learn more.
Does Jive-X have similar integrations like this one with other ticketing systems like Service Now?Yes. Although more lightweight than what we have today for Salesforce, we have connectors for ServiceNow and Zendesk. With that said, we're also eager to hear from organizations that would like to see this same level of Salesforce integration with other CRMs. If so, our services team can scope out a build for that.
Is the integration free as part of the cloud deployment, or is it a chargeable component?I'm not sure I entirely understand the question specific to the fee, but I will try to address based on what I believe is being asked. The Salesforce Case Management tile is an add-on module for any cloud deployment and you should always reach out to your current account manager to get an official price quote. Along with the annual module cost for licensing and support, we do have a one-time services cost for our team to connect these two systems and do initial education.
For the Salesforce Case Management connector, When you posted the "this is now resolved" message, is it a private discussion on Jive?Yes, any messages that the support rep sends to the custom case tile will only be visible by the user that created them via the community. On the CRM side though, any support reps with access to the case will be able to view those case comments.
Is there any app for Salesforce that will allow a two way sync? i.e., in case a comment is added in Salesforce, will a reply be added to?Not sure I entirely understand the question, but happy to clarify with a bit more context. Specific to the comments and how they work today, when creating a comment via the Case Comments section in Salesforce, you can choose for that comment to be "public" (which will post out to the case creator in Jive) or leave that box unchecked and only have it show to other internal reps. When the end user does reply to a rep though, via the Jive tile, it will show in Salesforce. So in that sense, it is two-way.
For the Salesforce connector, is trending content limited to a single space or group, or configurable between multiple spaces?It'ss not currently configurable but we're thinking of that for the roadmap. It's set up today similar to many of our top/trending content tiles or streams. It will pull for any public information that'ss in document or forum question format which has a large amount of influence or social traffic.
Do you have similar integration for Knowledge base and entitlements from Salesforce?In most cases for our clients, Jive is the knowledge base, which helps with organization and search. In some cases, clients will continue to host their KB in another system (such as Salesforce) and there are two options for syncing this data. Either we can create a federated search into the CRM or we can, via services, create a "sync to Jive" button that would push/copy any KB article from Salesforce into Jive as if it were in fact published there. We would recommend the latter since it allows the user to stay centralized while your team can continue producing content inside of Salesforce.
How do we calculate case deflection?There is not currently an out of the box metric that shows how many users click away from the case creation menu, but this is very high on our list related to roadmap and if we hear that most are desiring this very view, we can highly prioritize it for an upcoming release.
Does each user require a Salesforce license?None of the Jive side users need a Salesforce license at all. This is simply tapping into their contact information and showing cases on the Jive side without them every having to directly access or login into Salesforce directly.
Is there any way to automatically convert a stale question to case in Salesforce?Yes! This is what we call our Salesforce Question-to-Case Connector. It's a separate add-on from our case creation tile but it's going to be included out of the box for Jive-x Advanced tier clients. Functionally it will allow admins to set timers as a threshold for questions in chosen groups/spaces. Once a question sits for too long without a comment being marked as "correct answer", it will auto-escalate to a Salesforce case.
What happens when a customer has more than one contact record in Salesforce?From the customer's perspective, nothing is different. The connector will pull any cases from Salesforce that match their email address, even if they have more than one contact. On the Salesforce side, the default attachment is normally based on the CRM ordering set or create date. We can confirm on this to make sure.
What kind of setup and access is required on Salesforce?Jive will take care of the initial setup and integration for this connector to work as part of the services package attached when initially purchased.
Is the connector available on AppExchange?No, this is a custom connector provided by Jive directly.
Can you create knowledge base content based off of cases?Not currently. We feel the knowledge base use case is a separate (even though adjacent) and unique one. Also, as mentioned, most clients use the Jive-x community as their knowledge base and not a separate one. With that said, we can very easily scope out ways for your team to take a knowledge base article in Salesforce and immediately sync it to the Jive community for easy end user access.
The customer journey concept is very interesting. How would a company that's brand-new to Jive get started with this?From a Jive technology and change management perspective, typically we recommend that customers start with one or two use cases that speak to particular points in the customer journey and build from there. Meanwhile, executive leadership should always have the entire journey in mind when developing a customer community strategy.

 

We've had huge success using Jive's Ideation Module to involve customers in our Product Development Process. It's helped us apply the experiences and creativity of our users to improve our offerings. It's given our Product Team a better understanding of what are customers are looking for, and it's given our customers a deeper sense of engagement in our product efforts and our future. The result is stronger innovation and stronger customer relationships.

 

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WHY DID WE DO IT?

 

Spredfast helps huge brands and company's worldwide connect to the people that they care about on Social Media and through our platform. We also pride ourselves on being the most OPEN platform in the Social Space. With that, we want out Product and Development Teams to have an OPEN relationship with our Customer base and therefore have our customers play a significant role in how we innovate moving forward.

 

In the past we had no real effective way of making that happen. Like many Tech company's, we received enhancements requests from individual customers and we did our very best to accommodate them. However, the process that we had could have been more efficient and sometimes meant that we had many enhancements untouched. There was no systematic way to gather and aggregate inputs from across the customer base in this way and respond to them in a timely manner.

 

 

 

WHAT DID WE DO?

 

Back in June 2016 we re-launched our Jive-Powered Customer Community, we we re-branded as Spredfast Connect. It provides one place where customers can learn about our products, technology, market and to connect with the best minds in social to share their expertise and experiences. This is their Social Success Hub.

 

One major objective of the re-vamped community was to provide a better way for customers to contribute Product Ideas. Before implementing a solution, I spoke with many different Community Managers. Their feedback was:

 

"Many Community's have a Product Idea's section. The issue is that when people enter an idea there, it drops into a Black Hole. Company's only offer this to make you think that you have a say on innovation, when by in large you do not"

 

We planned diligently to avoid that scenario. Instead, we designed an internal process that ensure that customers are heard and that every single idea that is left in Connect is responded to by a Product Manager and considered for future release. We always make sure that this communication loop is either closed or continued at all times.

 

 

 

HOW DID WE DO IT?

 

Using Jive's Ideation Module, customers can easily submit ideas for new features or functionality that they'd like to see implemented. They can also vote on each other's ideas, helping us identify the most popular and promising concepts.

 

Once idea's are captured, they're sent to our JIRA based Internal Enhancements system, which is also includes a comprehensive labelling strategy indicating their popularity. Each submission is then symbolically linked to each idea which is assigned to a Product Manager.

 

Once this has been opened, the Product Manager will then reach out to the customer, have a discussion around the use case and detail what the next steps are. Has this been placed on the roadmap? Will it be? Or gather more detail about your Business case and why this feature is so important to your day to day to get a better understanding. The important thing here is that every single time a Product Idea is submitted, it gets the attention of the Community and Product Manager and the customer gets a response.

 

 

 

WHAT SUCCESS HAVE WE SEEN?

 

We have had fantastic success since implementing this new initiative:

 

- We've seen a huge reduction in our response backlog. The % of feature requests unanswerd has dropped from 85% to 8%

 

- 42% of ideas submitted in Spredfast Connect have either been released into our products or placed on our Product Roadmap (Plan to be released). This is up from 7% since the launch.

 

More generally, the ability to harness the brainpower and inspiration of our customer base is helping us deliver more and more. It is also demonstrating our commitment to listen and to respond to feedback from our customers. This offers us great differentiation in our market.

 

The feedback from our customers has also been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing how refreshing it is to have their voices and feedback delivered in physical implementations.

Many people travel over the summer – checking off the destinations on their bucket lists.  Here at Leader Networks, summer is the time to focus on a different sort of list:  our biennial Online Customer Community Big List. And Fall brings the exciting opportunity to share our research with you.

 

The Big List of B2B Online Customer Communities is the most comprehensive list of online B2B customer communities in the world.

 

It includes big companies, small companies, foundations, and non-profits. We first created The Big List in 2011, featuring 94 communities …and the findings went viral. In 2014, we initiated the process again and the list grew to 126. For the 2016 edition, we are pleased to note that identifying new communities is no longer a challenge! In fact, online communities are now a mainstay of competitive advantage for many B2B firms. So, rather than create a database this year, we analyzed the list of 126 to see how they have changed over time.

 

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What key trends did our 2016 Big List research uncover?

 

1) Communities are driving competitive advantage for many B2B firms.

More than 40% of the communities that made the Big List 2016 are now active and thriving.  This supports our long-held observation that online communities can deliver a richly rewarding experience for the organizations that create them and for the members who participate in them.

In Active and Thriving communities, content is updated regularly and the members in the directory (when present) often share bios and photos.  Members seem to be familiar with each other and offer peer-to-peer support.

 

As the market moves closer to maturity, we continue to see that with proper planning and business alignment, online communities offer firms new insights, relationships, and revenue streams while meeting and exceeding their members’ needs.

 

2) Successful communities spawn more communities.

In the past two years, 11% of communities from The Big List have proliferated into multiple communities under the same brand. What was once a single, stand-alone community has become a portfolio of multiple, connected communities that are featured on the organization’s web site. This suggests that the company’s initial foray into communities was so successful they were inspired to create more – and to differentiate them.

Federated communities were mainly found in large enterprises. Many are operated under a single online community Center Of Excellence with shared success measured, consistent content, and professional facilitation teams. These communities from The Big List experienced meaningful growth over time because they possess the scale and efficiencies to fuel best practices.

 

3) Content is king – but not just any content.

Notably, our findings indicate that the communities with member-generated content have greater engagement than those who use the community as a marketing channel.  As a result, we’re seeing many of the less successful communities shifting to focus on member-driven content creation and publication.

 

4) A new B2B community business model is emerging.

Among the independently run communities (not branded by a single organization) many include corporate sponsors for specific forums. This is a great way for independent communities to maintain their neutrality, serve member interests, and generate revenue.

 

5) Inconsistent care makes for an incomplete customer journey.

Our research shows that 35% of communities are supported, but unevenly.  While the right elements are in place – content, information, and discussions  – there is evidence that they are not being nurtured properly.  The result? They run the risk of member abandonment and reputational harm for the organization.

However, these communities are not without hope! With some care and feeding, they are likely to turn around and become an asset to the members and the company that launched them.

 

6) Abandoned communities are a big liability.

Nearly 10% of the online communities from the Big List are no longer carefully managed or visibly updated. Many of the communities in this category have numerous unanswered questions, spam in the forums, aged content and, in some cases, members voicing concern about their lack of support.

Unfortunately, abandoned communities are a significant liability for the brand and reputation of the organizations they are a part of. As customer communities are a front-line experience for prospective and current customers, we strongly recommended that brands invest in reinvigorating these communities or developing a strategic takedown plan.

 

7) Gating may promote customer intimacy.

5% of the B2B communities on The Big List have changed their community model from open to the public to private – creating members’ only communities that require approval to join.  Many of these communities have created splash pages that actively market the business value of joining and provide information about the membership but keep the discussions and interactions behind the firewall.

This shift suggests a small but growing trend for B2B firms to seek greater customer intimacy by creating gated spaces for deeper knowledge exchange on a peer-to-peer and peer-to-company level.

 

Here is the report for the details:


The Big List gives community professionals a snapshot of the diverse online B2B community ecosystem and the great work being done by their B2B peers.  It provides inspiration, generates conversations, and gives companies insight into what’s working – and what isn’t – in the online B2B community space. Most importantly, by providing a benchmark for this category of communities, The Big List shows companies what success looks like so they can raise their bar and get more from their community initiatives.

 

Does your community belong in the Active and Thriving category of The Big List?  Or could you be getting more value?  Our Online Community Scorecard is a research-based, 70-point diagnostic that evaluates your online community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In just three weeks, we benchmark where you are today – and uncover opportunities to strengthen your community, ratchet up engagement, and complement your critical operational processes.  partners@leadernetworks.com

In January 2016, when oil prices hit a crazy low of $26, leaders converged on the World Economic Forum at the prestigious Davos, Switzerland.  They discussed and debated the important topics of our industry and in those few days, 22 CEOs decided they'd craft a declaration to end the gender gap in energy.

 

(Can you say unheard of?)  Jaws dropped globally. images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTxxEJN5FrecY9ukEnwK6fGU4jBsmcagm69u2Hu_Ua057sVv0Mfxg

 

And so the 22 CEOs with the help of the World Economic Forum, they published the "Call to Action" document and thus a bigger movement for Pink Petro began.

 

A few days later my phone rang.  "Have you seen this document?  What are we going to do?"

 

Well what would you have done?  We decided to respond.  But in typical old-school fashion, we thought we'd have a closed door meeting of 80 leaders to discuss "what if anything" we'd do.

 

It didn't work. 

 

Word spread fast and every device I owned went buzzing.  My community didn't want a closed door meeting.  They wanted an online crowdsourced response and they wanted a voice.  I scrambled.  And in 3 days we put together an "event" with the help of GE Oil and Gas and several other companies.  We put on a workshop to shape a response.

 

That response?  It's in Jive.  Yep.  It's sitting in Pink Petro member site for commenting. 

 

In 2 weeks the World Economic Forum team is flying to Houston to meet with us to talk about the response and how we will carry the work forward.  Will I get to travel to Davos and talk with world leaders about ending the gender gap?  Maybe. (Fingers and toes crossed...now that would be a moment for the grandkids whom I hope don't have barriers or gaps in their work and life.)

 

But...when you think about the power of social and how collaboration is busting silos and creating opportunities to solve problems, it's pretty remarkable.

 

137062And since our launch, Pink Petro is more than a community. 

 

  • We're building a streaming channel of content to help educate our members and the public at large about what we do.
  • We've launched the HERWorld Forum where (using Jive) we can host an experience for people to participate in from their desks across the world.  We garnered 2200 eyeballs in March and another 1100 since.  In March 2017 on International Women's Day, we're aiming for 5000+ in over 20 countries worldwide.
  • And since inception, we've got several "curious" people (20k or so).  The opportunity for Pink Petro and Jive to succeed is there.

 

We're onto something crazy big.  We're kicking the pants off of the gender gap in energy.  And it all started on a little cloud in the sky called JiveX.

 

My thanks to all the Jivers, Elisa Steele and her leadership and the partners who have helped us get this far.  I cannot wait to create what happens next.

As use of our product grows internationally we are beginning to see participation our our community by users whose first language is not always English and who may not even speak English proficiently.  Catering to them in a way that balances their needs with a goal to driven engagement in one global community is turning out to be a big challenge.

 

For now we have created user groups within our community that focus on the needs of Spanish speaking users, Norwegian speakers, etc.  As we expand southward in the Americas we anticipate that Spanish will be our second most prevalent primary language of our users.  We're just starting to get people posting in forums, etc around the community in Spanish and have so far just responded in kind wherever they post.  In the system settings under Locale, we enabled multi-language search and set "en" and "es" as allowed language codes.

 

We currently have a hidden sub-space español for that we'd like turn on eventually that we would then move the current Español group into.  Challenges that we are currently thinking about include:

  • UI - can we set navigation links, etc to a specific localization per sub-space?
  • Search - we'd a way for Spanish and English language search results not to invade each other's search results.  We can use a custom html search widget to search only one sub-space or the other but is there a way to control global search by sub-space.  Also, we'd rather get away from widgets if possible.
  • We use a program called Screensteps, made by Blue Mango, to manage our product documentation.  Our product changes in production every three weeks so keeping all the guides and release notes up to date is really important.  Currently we have an integration that pushes updates in the English Screensteps site into a sub-account as Jive documents.  Español documentation lives in a separate ScreenSteps site.  We don't think pushing from one ScreenSteps site into a Jive sub-space while pushing from a second ScreenSteps site into a second sub-account will be a problem but it hasn't actually been tested yet.

 

As our company continues to localize we are acquiring people from across our Client Success division who speak Spanish fluently (support, account reps, integration specialists).  As we think about internationalizing community I'm curious to learn more about how others have proceeded with this?

As a Jiver and strategist, I'm always pleased when we have a chance to bring some of the insights and knowledge that are shared openly at JiveWorld to our customers and partners virtually and throughout the year.  Please join us for an insightful webinar with longtime Jive-x customer Tableau on May 19, 2016 at 10 a.m. PDT. 

 

Whether you manage a primarily peer-to-peer support community or a marketing-driven engagement and thought leadership community - or a blend of both - all external communities have a vested interest in deepening and increasing customer engagement, loyalty and advocacy. 

 

Tracy Rodgers, Tableau's community manager and strategist, and Gili Guri-Mill, Jive's director of product marketing for Jive-x, will take you through Tableau's journey from a primarily peer-to-peer support community to a thriving ecosystem that helps nurture and convert prospects, improve Tableau's products and solidify customer retention and loyalty.  You can take a look at their community here: Welcome |Tableau Support Community.  Tracy will review some of their key success metrics and business outcomes across both support and marketing KPIs, as well as the best practices she has applied to achieve strong and sustained results.

 

Register here: Tableau: From Support to Brand Affinity. (No worries if you can't make it live, the recording will be available on-demand afterward.)

In March, Scott Dennis shared the foundation of our ideation revamp (using Jive) in Ideas for Instructure.  He continued the series with Ideation Process at Instructure, where he shared some of our primary challenges and an innovative wish list!  We're now continuing this series by sharing a blog post that we used to recap our refreshed [and still evolving] year of ideation with our Community!

 

Thank you to all of you that continue to learn with us!

 

 

Ideas: State of the Union

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The approaching presidential elections are consuming the media, and setting aside political differences, we all pay attention in our own way.  Why? Because whether we're pessimists or optimists, we all share a hope that our voices will help bring about positive change. Does our one voice and individual vote really matter?  When we step back and look to the national level to see the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, we recognize that our vote is one small piece of a multi-faceted system of Democracy.  But one voice still matters.  Why am I lecturing you on representative democracy and the branches of government?  Because the Canvas Feature Idea voting process sometimes receives harsh criticism around the 'democracy' of it all.  I want to show you that your vote does matter - it matters a lot- and explain the other forces that impact the multi-faceted system of Canvas product development!

 

Where are we Now?

I hope you were all here for the launch of our new community in April of 2015.  If you weren’t; welcome!  Our first year of the revamped feature idea process has brought a lot of learning and a lot of fun!  As of noon on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 we had a total of 3776 community ideas; that's an average of 10 new ideas per day.  Of those ideas, our product team is gathering more information on 54, considering roadmap slots for 62, developing 23, and they have delivered 107.  They have also read, gathered information on, and archived (with rationale) 150 others.  (Do keep in mind, these numbers are just a snapshot in time; they change daily, as we plan and develop at a rapid 3 week release cycle!)

 

All of your ideas have captured the attention of our product and engineering team, and they've even designed a couple fun activities around your work!  Some of you may remember Tis the Season in Community?  The product and engineering teams dedicated an entire sprint to providing features suggested by the Community!  (Read the results in Tis the Season in Community: Act 2)  There is another activity that most of you have probably never heard of; hack week.  Hack week encourages our engineers to set aside what they are working on and build something else (of their choosing) once a quarter.  This quarter, many of our engineers looked to the community!  They saw your ideas, your use cases, and your thorough discussions, while they worked on other projects, and wanted to to give back in the best way they know how - coding!  They picked up projects like Autosave "additional comments" in SpeedGrader, Submit an assignment on behalf of a student, Option to omit selected assignments from Total Grade, and others.  Of course, some of these projects take longer than a week, which is why each of those ideas (and others) are still in a variety of stages.  Why share this information?  Because we appreciate you, and we want you to know that we are always considering your perspectives and needs; even when we archive ideas that we won’t have the resources available to work on for some time.

 

There is another way that we like to give thanks that aims to add an element of fun; points and badges!  Every idea is authored by one of you, and along the way it collects valuable discussions and votes from many more community members! We pay close attention to these discussions and they tremendously help us to understand how people use Canvas. We award the author and commenters of completed ideas with an ROI badge (which comes with a nice chunk of points) as a return on your investment!  To date, we have awarded 214 individuals with the ROI badge; 34 of those individuals have accrued repeat ROIs!  Wonder how long until we see an Idea Tycoon? (What, Tycoon, is she hinting toward a next level badge?)

 

How did we get there?

As I mentioned above, in the current ideation process, one of you submit a feature idea, it is opened for discussion and vote, and some ideas advance while others are set aside.  (Yes, this is an oversimplified explanation)  All ideas that reach the voting threshold of 100 votes are not guaranteed to be developed, but we do agree that we will explore possibilities and scope (how many engineer and product manager hours would it take to build) and communicate back why we will, or will not, be moving forward with the idea.  I could be wrong, but this seems to be working well most of the time, even with slight confusion around where individual votes fit in the big picture of Canvas development. I think the confusion comes in understanding the other [democratic] forces (ex. above: House, Senate, Supreme Court, etc) that impact Canvas product development.

 

Our product team puts a lot of time, energy, and emphasis in reading and understanding your ideas; and they put all of your excellent explanations and use cases together with the feedback of CSMs (admin perspective), Support (end user perspective), Sales (new client perspective), Engineers (development perspective), their own visits and interviews (mixed perspective), and Instructure Leadership (big goals and budget perspective) to fully evaluate priority, need, and available resources.  They then take all of those perspectives, priorities, needs, and resources, and set the product roadmap!  All of this is a long winded way to explain why there are sometimes ideas that did not reach the 100 vote threshold that are developed before those that did.  Simply put; there are multiple inputs driving roadmap prioritization (although our product managers have enthusiastically said that the Community is an accurate representation of the needs and priorities they hear on site-visits and in interviews - Yeah to you for representing!)

 

Where are we going next?

So where are we headed in the future, and how can you ensure your vote matters?

 

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First, get involved in   Utilize the new The specified item was not found.Sorting Hat to find ideas that matter to you!  Add your vote, and more importantly, add descriptions of the hurdles you are facing and the use-cases that you foresee the idea impacting!

 

 

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Second, track current projects in the The specified item was not found..  We post project descriptions so that you know what we're working on.  Share these projects with others, link related feature ideas in the comments, add your barriers and use-cases to the comments, and make sure to follow the document so that you receive all the updates!

 

 

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Third, join in Focus Groups!  Focus groups provide a space where our product team can ask questions, present challenges, host discussions, and provide support for early adopters.  They also provide a space where early adopters can work together to support one-another.  These groups do have a lifespan, so they only last as long as they are needed!

 

 

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Fourth, stay connected through The specified item was not found..  Wow, you want to talk about a growing area of the Community, check out the personal and professional growth opportunities provided through chats, webinars, courses, and more!  They are a breeding ground for brilliant minds and fresh ideas!

 

 

We Couldn't do it without you!

The heart of this Ideas: State of the Union for 2016 is that we think of our Community as our family!  We read what you write; we listen to your successes, concerns, and challenges; we communicate with honesty and transparency; we always strive for success; and we fix our mistakes (to tell you we didn't make mistakes would be dishonest, now wouldn't it!).  Your votes matter, but more importantly, your presence in this community matters!  We look forward to our shared goals, growth, and evolution in this second year of ideation!

For all you Jive-x customers, just wanted to remind you we have a webcast tomorrow featuring Sr. SEO Strategist Anne Bluntschli.  (It will also be recorded and I'll do a blog post with some of the highlights.)

 

Customers can sign up here: Webinar: Talking with Product: SEO

About a month ago, I wrote Ideas for Instructure, which described our process at a high level.  After speaking with deepti.patibandla about our process and some of our specific challenges I thought I'd share a more step-by-step description of our process now and some the things we'd like to do in the future.

 

We provide Canvas LMS as software as a service.  Canvas is cloud based, agile, and changes in production every three weeks.  Anyone in the world with a Canvas login (including free users) can come to our community and suggest an idea for improving Canvas.  Once a month, all the ideas that are not duplicates or something that hasn't already been voted on and responded to by our product team, opens for vote.  Any idea that gets a net 100 votes moves into a stage where our Product Managers will formally respond to it.  Sometimes they say, yes, this thing is already in development.  Sometimes they say, no, we won't build it and here is why.  Most often they say, that they like the idea and will file it away for when we refactor that area of the product.   Any idea that is open for vote for three months without getting 100 net positive votes is archived.  People can resubmit ideas that get archived for lack of votes but their vote count starts fresh for the next voting round.  Some times an idea's popularity will increase over time.  You can learn more about our process, if you are interested, at:

  1. What is the feature development process for Canvas?
  2. How does the voting process work for feature ideas?
  3. https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-2109How do I create a new feature idea?

 

Some of our challenges:

  1. Its complicated for us -
    1. we do a lot of manual opening and closing of idea voting, tagging by user role, new vs modify and product area. 
    2. Many newly submitted ideas are not complete or are duplicates
    3. Irrelevant ideas create clutter and noise

  2. Its complicated for users who, if they want to stay current, must read 100s of ideas each month and search across more than 3700 ideas

 

Ideation Features we would love to have:

  1. Ability to affect (open/close) cohorts of ideas all together
  2. Idea brackets or voting rounds - everyone gets one vote on all ideas and then in round two, gets to vote again on only the top however many ideas
  3. Vote allowance - one user can only vote so many times in a month for example
  4. Point system - each idea gets a point value and a given user can 'spend' a given allowance of points
  5. Topic related discussions and ideas - for instance we could say that we are getting ready to refactor a certain area of the product and anyone can submit discussions or ideas related to that area.  There could be a description of the area with the top ideas and discussions related to it that could auto sort by vote count or comment totals scrolling down below the description.
  6. Non-global idea stages - let us use ideas differently in different spaces.

deannab Cisco's Social Media Program Manager, and Keith Conley, Bunchball's Director of Analytics & Insight gave a fantastic presentation at JiveWorld16: "Advanced Gamification to Drive Engagement and Business Outcomes"

If you missed the session, or would like a refresher, be sure to join our upcoming webinar on April 14. Deanna and Keith will share their first-hand account of how Cisco's development community has evolved since it's migration to Jive 2 years ago — and learn which engagement strategies worked and what insights they have today, including:

  • Best practices for motivating initial adoption and ongoing community engagement
  • Leveraging data and analytics to understand community program health and drive engagement and measure business impact
  • Recommendations for correlating the business value of community performance

Register here.

Good afternoon all,

I have seen lots of discussion lately about growing a community and wanted to share a post I wrote after a #Hootchat tweetchat - I hope you find it helpful.  #Hootchat happens every Thursday 3pm EST by the way - hope to see you there. 

 

Q1: What are the first steps to building a new online community

  • Know why you are building the community: customer service, engagement, marketing
  • Determine the best platform: Paid: @JiveSoftware or @LithiumTech Free: LinkedIn or G+

 

Q2: What are some strong brands with online communities

 

Q3: What are common mistakes when trying to grow your online community?

  • Trying to grow too big too fast & prioritizing member numbers over engagement
  • Not having a clear definition of success
  • Putting up a community without a Community Manager

 

Q4: What are ways you can engage your online community offline?

  • Engage via: private chat, email, or my old school method… the phone & have an actual conversation
  • WebEx conferences with community members – Google Hangouts or Skype work too
  • Some platforms allow private groups – create one and invite your MVP / power users

 

Q5: How does growing your online community help build brand credibility?

  • The more conversations you have, the more loyal your customer, the more loyal – the more they talk about you
  • Along with credibility, you have a great customer service and solutions place as peers trust each other
  • Support communities are AWESOME customer service centers: trusted, fast, and low-cost

 

Q6: How do you identify potential advocates and ambassadors from your online community?

  • Analytics: How often they come, how many answers they provide, answers marked correct by others
  • What is the “tone” of their conversations? How do they engage other members?
  • Get into your community and participate

 

Q7: What are some non-traditional ways to grow your online community?

  • Start with a tweetchat, build a list, slowly invite people from the list into the community
  • No matter how you find and invite – DO IT SLOWLY – set up the space, be ready for volume, have content
  • NEVER invite ppl to an empty room – have a team to greet & respond as well as content for them to consume

 

Q8: What is one thing you can do right now to start growing your online community?

  • Know WHY you are building it
  • Have customer-centric content
  • Participate & respond to questions

 

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Best,

Toby

 

Good day everyone,

Not sure if you have encountered this, but I see confusion about the relation between these two and the misunderstanding that communities are not social media.  Not so.  Social Media is a form of electronic communication that consists of different platforms; communities are one of those platforms.  How do you want to engage?

Social Media defined by  Merriam Webster:

Forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.

Online Communities defined by  CommonCraft.com:

An online community is a group of people with common interests who use the Internet (web sites, email, instant messaging, etc) to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time.

Social networks like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook are fun and sexy: they are used for social listening, brand promotion, and limited customer engagement.  Communities are electronic Town Halls that enable conversations and deeper engagement: customers provide feedback, comments, and questions; brands have obligation to respond.

No matter brand promotion, customer service, or customer engagement, you must understand your audience: what networks are they using, and where you are comfortable engaging.  As with anything: you need the right tool for the right job.  For social media, you need the right network to reach customers and have the right conversations. Communities are social media.

Where do your conversations happen?

Cheers,

Toby

If you haven't already found this treasure trove, the Jive events team has posted the track session videos, presentations and blog links here: JiveWorld16 Video, Presentation, and Blog index.  (And if it helps to cross-reference those sessions that are generally more targeted to Jive-x and external communities, for reference see my earlier blog post External Community and Jive-x sessions at JiveWorld16 (we'll keep you busy!))

 

Thanks to all of you who attended, spoke, reached out to peers, provided input and feedback and helped make this a vibrant and valuable event.  I so enjoyed meeting and/or getting to know more of you better and only wish there had been more time!  Thanks again to Mark Hanna for coordinating external community lead meet ups and networking ahead of time (Do you support an external support forum and are coming to JiveWorld16?) - I hope those connections continue virtually and locally throughout the year.

 

As always, please share any highlights, follow ups or ideas for next time too!

 

Emilie Kopp Libby Taylor Wim Stoop Claire Flanagan Matt Laurenceau Deirdre Walsh gordon_sorensen Frank Field Jarita Sirois Judi Cardinal Christina Zurcher songbin Rachel Happe Scott K Wilder Liz (Courter) Oseguera David Kastendick Jessica Sebold harold.gross Michael Torok madisonmurph Jeff Maaks Vinita Ananth Denise Brittin Matt Curry Olivia Garvelink Leah Fisher Chris Mandel Iustin Mitrica Melyssa Nelson julia quil Kay Rummel Deb VanGessel lwilli11 cflahaux External Communities Shaun Slattery Christy Schoon Iain Goodridge Scott Dennis rcarney annmonroe Sam Creek deannab datajunky savageau Angella Liu deepti.patibandla Anne Bluntschli

It is important to find the relevance sweet-spot: a message that highlights you or your brand AND peaks the interest of your target audience.  Too often time is wasted on catchy visuals, perfect language and grammar, and over-sharing on social networks rather than what is most important: understanding your audience’s needs and what they value.

Ensure you understand:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What is important to them?
  3. How do they want to be reached?
  4. Is this for brand promotion or something my audience will value?

No matter a marketing piece, blog post, or knowledge base article, your goals should be:

  1. Quality over quantity
  2. Helping my audience

If you are writing with an internal focus or intent, you have not only wasted your time and resources, but your customers’ too.  Think before you content.

Thank you for your comments.

Best,

Toby

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