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Online Communities Handbook: Building Your Business and Brand on the Web

Book Description

Successful online communities don’t just happen by themselves. They’re the result of a carefully executed strategy, solid design, and patient nurturing. Though they may seem like a lot of work, the benefits an online community can bring to your brand make the efforts worthwhile. This book will provide you with the essential tools to build online communities. You’ll learn how to:

• identify the business objectives for your online community
• develop a community strategy to recruit and retain members
• create brand loyalty, bring in new business, and offer value to customers that your competitors cannot imitate
• take advantage of free advertising opportunities
• use communities to gain market insights and establish a direct line to your customer base

In addition, you’ll discover the risks and costs of an online community project, how it can end up saving your company money, and even how it can become an important new revenue source of its own.

You’ll also be inspired by exclusive interviews, where the people who manage thriving online communities share the lessons they’ve learned and the secrets of their success.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Foreword
  3. About the Authors
  4. Introduction
    1. Is This Book for You?
      1. Are you
      2. What you get
    2. Chapter Guide
      1. Part One: Online Communities
        1. One: What’s an Online Community?
        2. Two: What Can an Online Community Do for Your Company?
        3. Three: How to Set Up Your Community
        4. Four: Member Recruitment
        5. Five: Motivating Your Members
        6. Six: Care and Feeding of Your Members
        7. Seven: Monetizing Your Community
        8. Eight: Growing Your Online Community
        9. Nine: Social Networks as a Platform for Your Brand
      2. Part Two: Real World Lessons
        1. Ten: Ciao.com
        2. Eleven: 11870.com
        3. Twelve: M Power World
        4. Thirteen: Pro-Age Netzwerk
        5. Fourteen: Xing
        6. Fifteen: Ecademy
        7. Sixteen: Minube.com
        8. Seventeen: Toprural.com
        9. Eighteen: Interview with Leesa Barnes
  5. One. Online Communities
    1. One. What’s an Online Community?
      1. What’s an Online Community?
        1. Web 2.0
        2. Online Communities Versus Wikis
        3. Online Communities Versus Blogs
        4. Online communities versus message boards or bulletin boards
      2. Features of an Online Community
        1. Community websites offer a common activity
        2. Community websites offer online identities for their members
        3. Community websites give their members homepages or profile pages
        4. Community websites give members a way to communicate one-on-one
      3. Types of Online Communities
        1. Open versus closed communities
        2. Themed communities
        3. Social networks
      4. The Power of Online Communities
      5. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. What’s an Online Community?
          1. Common Features Of Community Websites Include
          2. Some Different Types Of Online Communities Are
    2. Two. What Can an Online Community Do for Your Company?
      1. Business Benefits of an Online Community
        1. 1. Add value
        2. 2. Create loyalty
        3. 3. Get your message across
        4. 4. Get your message out
        5. 5. Control your message
        6. 6. Customer testimonials
        7. 7. Customer help desk
        8. 8. Viral marketing
        9. 9. Increase website traffic
        10. 10. Generate content
        11. 11. Optimize for search engines
        12. 12. Product development
        13. 13. Product testing
        14. 14. Data mining
        15. 15. Press opportunities
        16. 16. Save money
        17. 17. Make money
      2. What’s the Downside?
        1. 1. Development costs
        2. 2. Staffing costs
        3. 3. Public criticism
        4. 4. Undesirable content
          1. Keys to Dealing With Undesirable Content
        5. 5. Legal exposure
        6. 6. Information leaks
        7. 7. Customer sense of entitlement
        8. 8. Conflicts with your communication policy
      3. Preparing for Success
      4. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. What can an online community do for your company?
          1. Business Benefits Of An Online Community
          2. The Risks That Come With an Online Community, and How to Deal With Them
    3. Three. How to Set Up Your Community
      1. Define Your Community Strategy
        1. Begin with what you have
        2. Where are you headed?
      2. Get Started
        1. Three steps to defining your themes
        2. Popular online community activities
        3. Principles of activity design
      3. Analyze Your Competition
      4. Define the Role of Your Brand
        1. Ideas for integrating brand and community
      5. Plan Your Website
        1. Community website checklist
        2. Your homepage
          1. Show them where they are
          2. Show them where to go
        3. Registration page
        4. Login link
        5. Member profile pages
        6. Common things members do on their profile pages
        7. Terms of use
        8. Why you need a terms of use contract
        9. Help page
        10. Company information
        11. Features
        12. Notes for the website developer
      6. Plan Your Infrastructure
      7. A User-Centered Approach
      8. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. How to set up your community
    4. Four. Member Recruitment
      1. Recruitment Strategies
        1. Recruit from your mailing list
          1. Ground Rules for Direct Email Campaigns
        2. Recruit from rented email lists
        3. Recruit from your corporate websites
        4. Recruit with advertising
          1. Typical Online Advertising Arrangements
        5. Recruit with Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
        6. Recruit with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
        7. Viral and buzz marketing
          1. Tools for Viral Marketing
          2. Ways to Start a Buzz
      2. Registration
        1. The registration page
          1. Registration Form Checklist
      3. Launch Strategy
        1. Internal launch
        2. Soft launch
        3. Achieving critical mass
      4. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. Member Recruitment
          1. Recruitment Sources
          2. Rules For Registration Forms
          3. Launch Strategy
    5. Five. Motivating Your Members
      1. Get the Most Out of Your Members
        1. Grab them when they’re fresh
        2. Create stickiness
        3. Virtual rewards
          1. Loyalty programs
          2. Symbolic rewards
          3. Social hierarchy
            1. Uses of hierarchy in a community
            2. Ideas for virtual rewards
        4. Product-related rewards
        5. Monetary rewards and gifts
        6. Charging your members
      2. Managing the Membership Lifecycle
        1. Integrating new members
        2. Activating passive members
          1. Ideas for engaging passive members
        3. Maintaining active members
        4. Reactivating fading members
      3. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. Motivating Your Members
          1. Get the most out of your members
          2. Motivate members to keep participating
          3. Manage the member lifecycle
    6. Six. Care and Feeding of Your Members
      1. Community Management
      2. Who Can be a Community Manager
        1. Qualities of a Successful Community Manager
      3. What a Community Manager Does
        1. Member support
        2. Facilitating Activity
        3. Liaising Between Members and the Company
        4. Censoring Content
          1. Common Types of Abusive Content
        5. Policing the Website
      4. What a Community Manager Needs
        1. Clear Objectives
        2. Authority to Make Decisions
        3. Necessary Tools
          1. Key Points for a Community Management Email/CRM Solution
        4. A Network in Your Company
      5. Efficient Community Management
      6. Peer Management
        1. Roles Members can Play
        2. Roles Members must not Play
      7. A Well-Managed Community
      8. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. Care and Feeding of Your Members
          1. What a Community Manager Does
          2. What a Community Manager Needs
          3. Efficient Community Management
          4. Peer Management
    7. Seven. Monetizing Your Community
      1. Profiting from Your Community
      2. Saving Money with Your Community
      3. Earning Money with Paid Subscriptions
      4. Earning Money with E-Commerce
      5. Earning Money with Advertising
        1. Advertising arrangements
        2. Incentivized advertising
        3. Display advertising
        4. Coregistration
        5. Email advertising
      6. A Project that Pays for Itself
      7. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. Monetizing your community
          1. Ways to Monetize Your Community
    8. Eight. Growing Your Online Community
      1. Measuring Success
        1. Community success metrics
      2. Keeping Your Website Fresh
      3. Keeping Community Management Fresh
        1. Hazards of long-term community management
      4. Adapting Your Infrastructure
        1. Signs that you need to improve technology or processes
        2. Signs that you need to hire more human resources
      5. Recruiting More Members
      6. Internationalizing
        1. Adding languages to your community
          1. Key points on translation
          2. Foreign-language support
        2. Internationalization checklist
      7. An Asset for Your Company
      8. The Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. Growing Your Online Community
          1. Metrics For Tracking Success
          2. Keeping your community fresh
          3. Adapting Your Infrastructure
          4. Internationalizing
    9. Nine. Social Networks as a Platform for Your Brand
      1. What’s a Social Network?
      2. Why Market on Social Networks?
        1. Get past banner blindness
        2. Reach Generation Y
        3. Other advantages
      3. What Can Your Brand Do on a Social Network?
        1. Create a profile
        2. Get involved
        3. Give something back
        4. Offer emotional brand experiences
          1. Four Options For Combining Offline And Online Activities
      4. Are Social Networks Right for Your Brand?
        1. Success story: Puma v1.08 The Speed Boot
      5. Chapter in a Nutshell
        1. Social Networks as a platform for your brand
  6. Two. Real World Lessons
    1. Ten. Ciao.com
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    2. Eleven. 11870.com
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    3. Twelve. M Power World
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    4. Thirteen. Pro-Age Netzwerk
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    5. Fourteen. Xing
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    6. Fifteen. Ecademy
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    7. Sixteen. Minube.com
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    8. Seventeen. Toprural.com
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    9. Eighteen. Interview with Leesa Barnes
      1. Interview
      2. Lessons Learned
    10. Web 2.0 Glossary