Buzzing Communities: How to Build, Better, and More Active Online Communities
by Richard Millington
Pulbished by: FeverBee
Review by Bonnie Zink
$9.99 (CDN) ISBN: 278-0-9333599-0-1
The time has come for community management to become a professional discipline,” writes Richard Millington, London-based community management authority and founder of FeverBee.com
, home to the Pillar Summit – an exclusive community management training course – and the leading online resource blog about communities
. Millington is known for advocating for change in the way we build and manage communities and for providing thoughtful, concise, and useful information on how to manage communities successfully.
Millington’s latest book, Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities
(Amazon.ca), holds true to this well-established reputation. It is an easy-to-follow “how-to” manual about the management of online communities. Each chapter provides a well-organized list of actionable items and encourages community managers to rethink the “why,” the “what,” and the “how” of our daily activities. A thorough read of this book not only encouraged me to ponder the mechanics of what I do as a community manager, but also to consider this:
- Isn’t it time we consider ourselves as professionals by working towards showing and proving the success of our efforts?
In today’s increasingly networked and digitized world professionals seek out quality and valuable experiences. They come together over ideas and causes. They share these experiences with and learn from other colleagues around the world. They find that they are part of a community that not only helps them meet their professional goals, but also encourages them to step a little further down the learning path, appreciate acquiring new knowledge a little more, and to use the knowledge and experiences of professionals around the world to improve their daily practice. Ultimately, this is why we join communities, but why do we stay involved?
It is well known, and generally agreed upon, that communities are no longer bound by geography. Through the magic of technology professionals collaborate, connect, and create with anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. They do this by joining online communities that grow up around place, interests, causes, and shared practices. Have you ever wondered who keeps these communities running smoothly? Who keeps the content fresh? Who encourages new membership and facilitates continued connectivity among existing members?
The answer is the behind-the-scenes community manager. We have toiled in the darkness of the hive since the concept of community began. We are the worker bees behind the community. We organize. We create. We encourage. The time has come for us to step out of the shadows of the hive and show the value of what we do. Many of us have questioned the “how” of showing value and Millington provides us with not only the answers, but how to turn our efforts to the activities that result in success for ourselves, our profession, and our communities.
Millington shows us in each well-organized chapter how to measure success. He provides a list of actionable information that show community managers the value of what they do, how to measure that value, and how to use those measures to improve their community. Showing value is about planning where you want to go, setting goals or benchmarks that show where you are, and implementing the activities that help you to reach your goals. It is about measuring the right activities at the right time. It is about putting effort into those activities that lead to success. It is also about demonstrating value through cold, hard facts.
Millington relies on scholarly research to support eight concepts that every community manager ought to consider: Strategy, Growth, Content, Moderation, Events & Activities, Relationships and Influence, Business Integration, and User Experience. After explaining what these concepts are and why they are important, Millington provides tips on how to implement them to improve your community, and then follows up with specifics on how to measure your success. Millington then shows these concepts in action by exploring how a number of thriving online communities use these concepts to both provide increased value to the community as well as to show the value (or return on investment) of belonging to the community and the community manager’s activities.
Millington describes online communities as those that “allow for the detailed development of relationships that form the basis of connections.” Although social media opens the door to new relationships, allows access to new ideas, and even helps facilitate collaboration between colleagues, social media does not allow for the time and effort necessary for the formation of strong relationships or connections. Recognizing this, Millington stresses that communities need a healthy dose of real time interaction. Events “play an essential role in the growth and development of communities,” says Millington. They allow for fun and bonding and make the connections stronger.
Buzzing Communities finishes with a review of the importance of situating your community within the proper ecosystem, considering a community’s competition (existing online communities), considering the audience (or members), and closes with a wrap-up of what community management success looks like. This book will help community managers improve their practice, become more proactive and less reactive, prove the value of their activities. Buzzing Communities will help you to develop better communities and show clients and organizations how valuable you really are!
- Keep the conversation going and connect with Richard Millington on Twitter: @RichMillington