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When was the last time that you walked by a restaurant with no one in it and decided to walk in?
chairs
Empty seats, how inviting is that?

As I have stated many times, Moderation and Management services have transformed over the last year or so. In the past, Moderation services were strictly thought of in a reactive nature – removal of content and the associated member accounts.

Now, the roles and responsibilities of Community Moderators have expanded to include a more proactive nature. Communities that are just beginning need to be jump-started. Content needs to be posted and interactions need to be portrayed within the community, so when potential members “stumble-upon” the area, they are aware of what is acceptable and allowed; what the community is geared towards. Not only that, members need to be aware of all of the features and functionality that is available to them.

Moderation services can assist with the seeding of content and active facilitation of interactions within a community to get it on track and moving forward. While some communities may need more than others, these services can be tailored to meet any companies needs.

After all, when you visit a restaurant or an online community it is nice to know what you are getting into.
restuarant

The next time that you think of an online community and how to manage and moderate it, please think of what your needs and goals are, and how you expect to accomplish them – while at the same time, taking a look from the Outside.

Moderation and Management (whether internally or externally driven) of any online community is not something that should be an after-thought, because if it is, you are already setting yourself up to sink.

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As I have outlined in the Introduction to Moderation webinar’s and blog posts that I have hosted/posted over the last 2 months, there are many forms of Online Moderation – Seeding, participating, scanning, removing, managing (member accounts and content)… Here I would like to describe the service that will assist in your initial launch – Seeding content – and could be the most important thing that you do.

When you are building and developing your online community area, you will have the tools and the outline/framework of what your community is going to look like, but you do not have any content. Supplying content within your community before it launches is an extremely important first step. The content that you, or a 3rd party, supply is the key to your launch and starting off on the right foot. When members come and review the content and they see an area that is vibrant, robust and informative, odds are that they will stop and stay a while, maybe even register and post, interacting within your community. When they see an area that is empty, they will simply look, leave, and likely never return.

If you picture this in every day terms, it is just like when you are visiting a town, walking down their streets and all of a sudden, you feel hungry. You walk by the first restaurant, notice that there is no one in it except for their staff, waiting to work, so you walk right by. Granted there would not be a wait to sit down and eat, because the restaurant is empty, but you are not willing to invest your time and money. Not to mention, no one else is even there, how good could it be?

Now the second restaurant that you walk by (located right next door) is full of people, laughing, eating, drinking, and the wait is 15 minutes. The food and atmosphere is very inviting, so you go in, grab one of their “buzzers” and take a seat in the bar. While you are there waiting for your table, you listen to conversation, maybe watch the TV, and observe the behaviors that are happening all around you. This may even be a place that you revisit over time, and may even become a regular.

*Note – I do realize that I make a lot of restaurant references

The success of your community depends on the investments that you make. The tools that you are going to offer are only 1 aspect of having and launching a successful community. Proper Management techniques and Moderation services are extremely important. This of course does not mean that you have to work with a third party to support your causes, but more often than not, it is better to work with a team of professionals that have established credibility, rather than trying to wing it.

As always, thanks for reading.

Mike

Employment

I am currently employed at Autodesk as a Senior Manager of Online Community and Social Engagement. My team is responsible for the Customer Support initiatives across all of our Social channels.

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