Tips for online groups

Set up the online space

  • Configure the online with other leaders and your first members

  • Notification settings can be important for encouraging the pace of engagement you want, while enabling individuals to tune the communication they want from the group.

  • Determine how you’ll manage and moderate conversations

    • One of the biggest mistakes is leaving a group with no moderation.

    • Document the community description and ground-rules

    • Start testing out the engagement experience before inviting more people.

  • Choosing a Platform: See the Tools for Groups section

    • Maybe you can duplicate content to different platforms – you will have two (or more) different groups with the same name, with different audience (because people will choose the most useful platform for them).

      • Example: Such as a «BIM or not 2BIM» group exists both on Facebook and in Telegram, and the audience is different.

  • Admin & Group Manager Roles

    • When your group is not very large, you can manage it by yourself only, but when it it has more than 1000 members - you need more admins and moderators. You can give the admin or moderator role as a reward for most useful answers or for most active members.

  • Pre-populate with some content

    • Your intro & biography

    • Some useful links

    • Actual news etc.

    • A question or survey

Invite members & market

  • Soft launch the online space for a smaller group of leaders and people you may have spoken to in the beginning of your process of getting members.

  • Rally the people who are part of the very beginning discussions and to help execute any larger launch plans & communication plans.

  • Groups can get to memberships of thousands of people

Sparking and moderating conversation

See the page on Community management & engagement.

"Information has an amazing property. When you share it, you don't lose it. And others still get it." - Aleksandr Lapygin, ROSECO, ГИП ГИПу друг (GIP2GIP friends)

  • Encourage new people to introduce themselves, post something on their minds, and ask questions.

    • Encourage other members to engage with new members, seek to make specific introductions

  • Positive reinforcement can go a long way

  • Conversations can be rapid and engaging. The pace and tone of the group can be set by moderators.

  • You might encourage certain people to engage or introduce people

  • Moderation + Admin

    • Clear rules help you moderate and keep conversations productive.

    • Remove SPAM immediately or people will leave the group

    • Large groups might end up having 3-7 moderators, with at least one of them online constantly

  • Surveys are a good tactic to spur engagement (e.g. «What is your opinion about…», «What software do you use for this purpose», «How long have you been in this position»

  • Some things that kill online community: too many marketing posts, only job listings/ recruiters, lack of moderation and community norms that enables toxic people & conversations to take root.

Knowledge and member management

  • The online platform should have tools and automation that help you see, organize, and manage the members who are part of the group - and the content that is shared within the group over time.

    • All the links and files are collected automatically, and everybody can find and use all the information later.

  • Content/ knowledge management: As the group engages, you may develop and identify especially helpful resources.

    • Pin or aggregate those resources for easy access.

    • Link back to key resources or conversations as you engage and moderate.

    • Example: Facebook groups include tabs for:

      • Files that are shared + allows you to create files

      • Media (photos and videos) + allows you to create albums

  • Member management:

    • Give active members more moderation privileges

    • Publish/highlight the list of members in some way as a community tool

    • Reach out to people who haven’t been active in a while

Evolve and learn

  • Don't be afraid to switch platforms if it's not working for you & your members.

Story from the Autodesk Group Network. There was a case when Anton Ilichev’s «IntC3D» Civil3D chat was launched in WhatsApp firstly. As I remember, it’d existed for about a year, until it was bombarded with spam. There was more than 100 members, when Anton decided to move to Telegram. Not everyone had Telegram accounts, but as I remember everybody installed Telegram to be able to communicate with colleagues without spam, and now he has more than 700 members in his group. The migration took about a week, not more.

Engage to improve

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