Episode 166 – Rewind – Community Forum Best Practices with Sarah Grace McCandless

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A Thoughtful Thursday Episode. On Thoughtful Thursday we discuss deep thoughts including overarching strategy and organizational structure.

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“Don’t be afraid to show your users that you give a damn. It should shine in everything you do, from the design of your website to the way you respond to feedback e-mails.” – Alexis Ohanian, co-founder and executive chairman of the social news website Reddit

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Top 3 Community Forum Best Practices

Today’s Guest

Sarah Grace carries over a decade of experience in consumer marketing, with extensive work in digital and social media strategy, including community management and customer care support. As Director of Global Product Management, Digital Solutions for SYKES, Sarah Grace manages SM|Edge, the strategic SYKES solution providing comprehensive, cost-effective, global social media customer care. Current programs include support across multiple industries, such as telecommunications, technology, financial services, consumer retail, membership organizations, and more.

Prior to joining SYKES, Sarah Grace developed programs for a number global and national companies, including Nike, Starbucks, Nestlé, HTC, Microsoft, Animal Planet, Discovery Communications, the USO, NBC Universal, Bravo, FX, Dodge, Audi, Dark Horse Comics, and more. She has served as an instructor for Mediabistro and panelist at a number of social media thought leadership events, and is also the author of two novels.

Previous Episodes: Episode 11 – Top 4 Reasons to Leverage Social Messaging Apps for Customer Care 

Top 3 Community Forum Best Practices

  • Why Forums?
    • Still core to digital ecosystem
  1. Make it Easy to Get to , and Easy to Navigate
    1. Offer attractive destination for customers
    2. End up there as result of internet search
    3. Consumers should be actively promoted
      1. Packaging of products
      2. warranty information
      3.  On-air marketing
    4. (searchable, streamlined, SEO friendly)
      1. if consumer is googling, results should come up in search
      2. let them know to search first to see if answer is there
  2. Make it Right
    1. (accurate content / answers, with moderator oversight and assistance)
    2. Moderators
      1. Monitor posts, comments, questions
      2. Assist
        1. correct inaccurate information
        2. solve within channel
    3. Consider overall digital forum ecosystem
      1. Be the guide
      2. Direct to right channel
  3. Make it Count
    1. Primarily community is helping each other
    2. Reward participation
      1. Gamification
        1. Ranks
        2. Badges
      2. Beta testing groups
      3. Invites to special events
      4. Recruit super users from
        1. frequent buyer program
        2. other social platform
    3. (encourage/foster/reward participation)
    4. Pulse check on online community
      1. how useful is the interaction
      2. are some boards easier to understand than others?

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    • Ticket Liquidator:  Concerts, Sports Theater tickets. Buy or sell!
    • GoldMedalWineClub.comWine of the Month Club Award-winning wines delivered to your doorstep every month. They never feature bulk wines, private labels, or close outs. Each selection is a genuine, small-production wine crafted by a winery with their family’s reputation on the line in each and every bottle.
    • CraftBeerClub.comGood People Drink Good Beer. Get the finest craft beers from America’s best microbreweries delivered to your door! They search out exceptional craft beers from around the country and then deliver the monthly beer club selections direct-to-you or your gift recipient’s door. You can choose an ongoing beer club membership or Craft Beer Club gifts to ship monthly, every-other-month or even quarterly. This is a fantastic gift for the Craft Beer enthusiast in your life. Give 1 to 12 shipments and receive up to 3 bonus gifts and an additional $25 bonus with your order.
    • OneTravel: Search and compare flights from over 450 airlines.

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Who’s Doing it Well?

About the author, Frankie Saucier

Frankie Saucier created the Socially Supportive podcast because believes that in order to advance digital and social customer care, leaders must come together in a community where colleagues can collaborate on the latest strategies and discuss the best technology. The Socially Supportive podcast creates a space for that community to thrive. She is also the Founder and CEO of Socially Supportive, a digital consultancy that helps brands communicate effectively with customers online. Frankie is a member of several consortiums, including the Social Care Leaders Group, an international group of leaders in the digital and social care space. She has over 20 years' experience in customer experience, including 7 years creating and running the digital customer support team at the 3rd largest cable company in the U.S. She also holds a bachelors in Mass Communications.

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