Community Professionals Should Own Retention

Evan HamiltonEvan Hamilton believes that community professionals should own retention. I’m a believer. If you read the description of the show in the sidebar, you’ll find this: “Marketing brings new customers. Community helps you keep them.”

This is a great way to communicate the business value of community. Rather than saying it’s about engagement or having a conversation, it’s about keeping our customers and increasing their lifetime value. Plus:

  • How commitment curves help plot a course for user contributions
  • Why free speech can be problematic for online communities
  • The legality of online community volunteers

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If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Emoderation.


Big Quotes

“If you have the choice between a company with a ton of money, that maybe doesn’t quite believe in what you’re doing, and a tiny struggling company that really does, you’re going to have more success at the tiny company because community really requires investment. It requires belief, and a large company is going to be waiting to see those returns. If they don’t see them quickly, you may not be around.” -@evanhamilton

“When I run across people who talk about allowing free speech on their community, I go: ‘Stop. Think about that for a second. Don’t just say that. Don’t just say that you’re going to allow free speech because it means something.” Free speech isn’t just what you want, it’s what you don’t.” -@patrickokeefe

“If you were a kid, and you’re out in your backyard, playing with fire everyday for a year and then, all of a sudden, your dad came out and said, ‘What are you doing playing with fire? I’m taking your lighter away.’ You’d be like, ‘What? I’ve been doing this, where were you?’ It’s a little bit of bad parenting, where the parent should say something enough that you, at the very least, don’t do it in public. reddit was never that parent and just said, ‘No, go ahead and do it until we say stop.'” -@evanhamilton

“Community is fantastic for retention. If you’re a member of a really fantastic, rewarding community that a company is running, you’re going to think more than twice before you leave. You’re not going to say, ‘Oh, you know what? This other guy has a better price.’ Because you’re going to feel this emotional connection to the company.” -@evanhamilton

About Evan Hamilton

Evan Hamilton has been in community building for nearly 10 years. He’s worked at a variety of companies – B2C, B2B, ecommerce, etc – and on a variety of community initiatives, from meetups to conferences to volunteer programs to online forums and beyond. Evan has also been the host of the San Francisco-based Community Manager Breakfast for 5 years. In his free time, Evan plays music as Kicking Tuesday and reads comic books.

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    Loved this episode! Especially enjoyed hearing about Evan’s personal experiences with his clients around common challenges and rookie mistakes (e.g. Reddit).

    Community professionals owning retention is a great first step, so I’m sure we’ll see an evolution in this area around measuring (metrics-wise). Definitely makes sense in my opinion.

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