Episode 46 – Top 3 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.

Brought to you by:

    • The Social Pack: Get on the inside to stay on the topside. Join today!
    • Telligent by Verint: A leader in community software for digital marketing and support communities. Its social software solutions help bring together modern collaboration technologies into a single integrated suite that includes social applications and social services that enable organizations to create communities of interest for their customers. Telligent by Verint’s solutions include both external customer and internal employee communities.A customer service community enables you to answer a question once and scale it to an unlimited number of customers.


“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

Book of the Day: Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed – Alexis Ohanian

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?

Sponsored by: Telligent

  • Why Community? Why Telligent?
    • An Absolute ROI: Customer support communities create a compelling return on invested capital and gives your customers the support options they want.
    • Decrease support costs: By moving common support cases online, resolutions to cases can be used again and again. Plus you can quickly see which topics cause the most issues.
    • Plan support staffing: Telligent’s largest customers use their community to plan the staffing of their support centers – communities provide an early warning of incidents that are occurring with products. This type of optimization ensure that they maximize the investment in support.
    • Self-Service support: Support doesn’t start at your website, but at your customer’s favorite search engine. Every page is page one and the Telligent Community is optimized for SEO. And, people would rather self-service (and help each other) than work through a traditional support team.


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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