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Managing online communities isn't always all it's cracked up to be.  Sometimes, things go a little sideways. That's just what happened to me.
 
I have always been impressed with Rachel Happe's deep subject-matter expertise in the area of online community management. 
 
She has invested a great deal of time and energy thinking about and helping others figure out how to actively manage online communities, even in some of the toughest, most delicate situations. 
 
Having recently had some challenges of my own participating in a Linkedin Group set up by Kim Albee of Genoo and managed by her intern, I decided to share my situation with Rachel, get some guidance and see what I could learn. 
 
And learn I did. So will you, if you listen to this epsiode.
 
Not many organizations are brave enough to leverage communities to market themselves. Content marketing is still a safer, and easier to grasp approach. But for the organizations that can pull it off, generating leads, building awareness and making a market -- particularly for considered purchases with longer sales cycles -- via social networks makes a lot of sense, because it’s a way for the market to come up to speed and self-educate, which is less expensive then direct sales and has the added credibility of learning through a peer, rather than through a sales person, where it typically takes longer to establish trust.

In this episode Rachel Happe (@rhappe), principal and co-founder of the Community Roundtable, an online resource for community practitioners, discusses:
  1. Why B2B communities are more sustainable.
  2. Peers are more trusted than authority figures.
  3. Strategy for participating in someone else’s community versus your own.
  4. Value of differentiating service offerings through social networks.
  5. Using online social communities to prequalify prospects.
  6. B2B Online Marketing Linkedin Group managed by Kim Albee, president of Genoo
  7. What makes a good community manager.
  8. Community for information sharing versus engagement.
  9. Eric’s guest post on Scott Monty’s blog.
  10. Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are important for  awareness and consideration, but late stage buying decisions are more likely occur on niche networks.
  11. Should community managers be held to the same standards as community members?
  12. Is posting relevant links to a community a good way to stimulate conversation, or is requiring members to post only questions a better way to germinate discussion?
  13. Do communities with user ratings make it easier to assess the community without having to invest the time and learn first hand?


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About the Podcaster:

Eric Schwartzman (@EricSchwartzman) provides social marketing services, social marketing research and social media training to businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. He over 15 years experience integrating emerging information technologies into organizational communications programs.  He has served Boeing, BYU, City National Bank, Environmental Defense Fund, Government of Singapore, Johnson & Johnson, NORAD Northcomm, Southern California Edison, Toyota, UCLA, US Dept. of State, United States Army, US Embassy of Athens, US Embassy to Rome, United States Marine Corps and many other small to medium-sized companies and agencies.  Eric is also the instructor behind top-rated social media training seminars and the Social Media Boot Campwhich are offered monthly in the US and abroad. Visit the social media training calendar for upcoming dates.
 



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