I was in Denver last Wednesday night to moderate a panel session on building and managing online communities, at the monthly meetup of the Mile High Social Media Club
Community managers Tiffany Childs
, from Yelp Denver
, and Tim Poindexter
, from Disaboom
, sat on the panel. They fielded a series of questions from both me and the 30-plus participants who had crowded into the basement of the Whiskey Bar
. The result, I thought, was a solid hour's worth of informative and engaging discussion on community best practices.
Below are some of highlights from the panel discussion:
Tim said his Disaboom community "empowers people to be who they are and connect with people like them;" it provides a place for members to build "genuine and meaningful relationships."
Tiffany noted that her members can meet and communicate can meet with people they know -- or don't
Role of the community manager
Tiffany is charged with raising the awareness of Yelp Denver and growing the membership ranks of her 7-month-old community (other Yelp communities have been around for longer). She supports and connects members to each other by jumping into relevant online community discussions and hosting regular offline events around town. She also writes and publishes a weekly newsletter that highlights members and businesses.
Tim helps keep the online discussions on Disaboom
informative, engaging, and civil (more on this third point later in the post). He's also recruited outside disability experts to contribute content to the community, and more recently, he's been charged with managing the site's analytics.
Metrics of success and advertising dollars
Disaboom, a site and community which connects individuals touched by disability, is free to members but is supported by contextually-relevant advertising. Tim said that unique visitors
and page views
are the key drivers of ad revenue revenue.
For Yelp Denver, according to Tiffany, advertising won't kick in until the community has reached "critical mass."
Managing community conflict
and don't heed the warning to change their behavior will be suspended or barred from the community.
Good community managers reward their key contributors, and Disaboom and Yelp Denver are no exception. Tiffany organizes special events for members of the Yelp Elite Squad
, while Disaboom sends an occasional gift of thanks through the mail.
Following the community managers
Here's where to keep up with Tim and Tiffany on a daily basis:
Tim Poindexter: Disaboom Blog
| @6oclockvintage on Twitter
Tiffany Childs: Yelp profile
| Yelp Blog