10 Of My Favourite Online Communities (and 10 from our students!)
In this e-mail, I want to tell you about a few of my favourite communities.
Then I want to tell you what our previous students have been up to.
Then I'm going to try and sell you on the course (you can skip this final part).
My favourite communities
1) The Student Room (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk)
The Student Room has 1m+ members and over 36m posts.
It's a well designed, VBulletin-based, community which thrives on connecting students around topics in which they share an interest.
It uses sub-categories extremely well to maintain a good level of social density.
Look at the front page of this community. They're applying a lot of basic community building principles here.
- They have plenty of content about the community.
- They have regular events & activities to engage participations.
- They feature live discussions (even discussions of the week).
- They use campaigns to bring their audience together.
- They educate and train their audience.
- They sell products to their audience (guides, education etc...)
- They are the community for parents in the UK.
3) Backyard Chickens (www.backyardchickens.com)
For years this was my favourite example of how an ugly community can thrive.
Recently the platform has been redesigned. It features the latest activity highly on the page, handles the amazing levels of activity really well, it's monetized without being offensive to members.
Spend some time looking at this community to see which types of discussions are most popular and then borrow these discussions.
4) FetLife (www.fetlife.com - NSFW!)
FetLife is a thriving online communities for people into alternative lifestyles.
This is a competitive field. FetLife launched into a crowded field, with a superior platform, a unique positioning, and focused upon creating a friendly environment for people.
The platform reeks of personality. It's also brilliantly designed and functional.
5) Reddit (www.reddit.com)
Reddit is a monster. They've interviewed Obama.
Reddit is another good example that you don't need the best designed platform for your community to succeed, you simply need something that's interaction-focused and develop a unique culture.
6) StackExchange (www.stackexchange.com)
StackExchange excels at creating the infrastructure for members to develop their own communities.
They use an extremely strict moderation policy to ensure only the best advice is shared on the platform. It's a powerful positioning statement.
If you want to bond, go elsewhere. If you want to create a community that features the best advice and and get your question answered, go here.
7) Kotex - GirlSpace (http://girlspace.kotex.com)
This is a rare example of a branded online community for a commodity product.
They facilitate discussions that bring members together, not just talk about the product.
Girls can talk about boys, being on their period, life as young adults, and bond with others like themselves.
The community doesn't have to be about what you sell, it's about your audience.
8) WarriorCats (http://forums.warriorcats.com)
Many entertainment brands have it easy. They can build a community purely because of their huge reach.
They have a die-hard audience of fans eager to talk to each other.
WarriorsCats is proof that even communities at younger audiences can thrive without the fears that shutdown many similar communities.
9) BaristaExchange (http://www.baristaexchange.com)
If you're looking for a good example from a community of practice, BaristaExchange is terrific.
Look to see what specific topics are being discussed, how they're being discussed, and then borrow these for your own communities.
10) Autodesk (it's a long link, just click here)
Few organizations do communities as well as Autodesk.
Autodesk hire many community managers to develop communities around a wide number of topics related to their products and services.
If you're looking at how to effectively grow and scale a community for an organization, Autodesk is a great place to visit.
Disclosure: Community managers from Autodesk have also taken FeverBee's Professional Community Management course.
What Our Students Have Done So Far
BYU Idaho (http://onlineinstruction.ning.com/)
Leah Davis is a terrific community manager.
She came to us in the process of launching an online community for teachers at BYU Idaho.
She went through what was then known as The Pillar Summit (now FeverBee's Professional Community Management course). She learnt the step-by-step process for launching the community and how to grow and manage a community.
The assignment for the course meant she created a plan that specifically applied the material to her community. And it worked.
Today the community is thriving. Teachers are sharing and exchanging information. It’s a huge advantage for the organization.
Jared Adler used the course to help structure his actions and activities for AVID.
The community now has over 150,000 members across several platforms whom have contributed over 1m posts.
Cancer Connection (http://cancerconnection.ca/)
Heather Sinardo, by far one of my favorite participants ever. She soaked up every piece of information, asked about 3 billion questions (which we love her for), turned up to every activity (and took the course twice!). She did a terrific job on the assignments, and used it to turn CancerConnection into a thriving online community.
The community is highly active and providing an invaluable support group for those affected by cancer in Canada.
Early this year, TeachForAll was a networking that had been launched but was struggling for activity. Ruchi took the course, learnt the framework for managing the community.
Identified how to analyze the audience, figure out how to start and sustain discussions.
Now the community is on the cusp of reaching critical mass and moving to the establishment phase.
These are just a few of many examples.
Our previous participants includes people from EMC, AutoDesk, PatientsLikeMe, Greenpeace, Johnson Controls, Royal Dutch Touring Club, CommunityofSweden, and many more.
We tell you these stories because we want to prove how truly effective this course is.
This brings us to our short sales pitch (sorry, feel free to turn away in disgust!)
If you master the technology and social sciences behind communities, you can create and manage any number of communities
If you really understand what makes people interact with each other, what social triggers cause people to participate, what facilitates strong bonds, and how to really get into the heads of your target audience, then you can build any number of successful communities.
This is a skill you can use for the rest of your life.
It’s worth investing time and money to become insanely good at this. It saves you a LOT of time (you develop communities quicker) and it earns you a LOT more money (having a bigger and more active community).
Do you want to develop your community to its full potential?
A Few Questions
Over the past few weeks, we’ve provided you with as many resources as we can draft up over the last few weeks.
We hope they help. But now it’s time for you to make a real decision.
Do you want to invest the time and, yes, money it takes to become a world-class community manager?
Do you want to increase the level of growth, activity, and ROI from your community?
Do you want to do this without any financial risk (we give a full refund if you're not happy!)
We have decided to offer the best value, proven results, and no risk.
Now it’s your decision.