Let’s get this party started

Yesterday was the first LGA Online Facilitators meet up.  Hopefully the first of many sessions which will include some virtual element that will involve the rest of the Online Facilitators Community.

Party food for a PINK partyAs this was a kick start meet up, we went through a huge amount to help us plan for the next sessions and as we are getting the party started it reminded me of an interview I did recently with Mellisa Whittle who used the anologue of a party host.  Current Melissa Geoplace Group is the most popular group on the knowledge hub so it’s worth while reading what Mellisa has said.

This links quiet nicely to the objectives of the Online Facilitators Community which is to increase the skills and capacity of online facilitators, but to also show the importance of Community Facilitation and its role in making a successful community.


web-browsers.jpgOur first topic was to do with the different web browsers you can use. The three most popular across the knowledge hub are Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.  If you’re working at the LGA you can request these via IT.  If not please ask your IT department if you can have access to them.  Members of your group will be accessing the Knowledge Hub via different browsers and there are subtle differences on how the Knowledge Hub will display on each browser.  If you need the stats check out Are we finally seeing the demise of IE6.


Google Analytics HacksWe had a quick discussion about using Google Analytics and the way you can use this to get a feel for how your community is getting on.  It will never give you a full picture but can be useful to understand a little bit about how your members use the group.

If you need to know more we have a guide to Setting up Google Analytics in your Group and Cheat Sheet on the terms that are used.  There is also a quick 1 pager that helps unlocking some of these secrets.

In the Ideas area you can also vote if you are interested in us hosting a webinar to show you how to add Gooogle Analytics to your Group and some hints and tips on how to use it.


Social MediaEmbedding Multimedia is a bit of a hot topic.  It can range from adding Twitter Streams or curated content to your group, all the way through to Polls and Surveys

We have a guide on how to use Blasta casta to embed Twitter and RSS feeds and again via the Idea tab please vote if you are interested in a webinar to show you how to use different multimedia site in your group


I blog...Writing Blogs can take time and sometimes you do not get as many comments or as views as you would like.  So what can you do to make them have more impact?

We have a one pager document that highlights six possible styles of blogging that you could use and shows the effort and buzz you can get from them.  If you would like to see the full list of 25 check out this blog



smiley face stickersHow do we know members are happy? Well this is a great question.  And is something that we all probablty need to ask.  One of the thing that came out of our Survey on How much time do we spend faciltiating a group?  Was that compared to professional community mangers we spend a lot less time building relationships with our members.  Having those good relationships and contacts means that we can get a feel from our members on how happy they are and what they need for the future.  So maybe something around this area of work will need to be done soon.  There are other ways to find out how happy your members are and these can be via a range of different survey tools such as Member Satisfaction Surveys, Social Network Analysis and Sense of community


Tour de France 2012Hopefully when you’re facilitating a group you’re not on your own.  I’m hoping that you have Co-facilitators.  But how do you Co-facilitate?  We have a handy guide that gives you some tips on how to do it.  But there are also some great examples out there such as the Project and Programme Management Community who has three lead facilitators and nine theme leads.  Who have monthly telephone conferences to discuss the group and the actions to take place?  I’ll be interested in hearing stories of how other groups are co-facilitating across different organisations.


Apple manager 2003The big topic of Management Buy In.  And how do you get your manager to allow you time to actively facilitate your group.

There’s is a tool called Net Promote Score which could be used to start the process. It asks

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is the highest) How likely is it that you would recommend your community to a colleague?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is the highest) How likely is it that your manager would recommend your community to other colleagues?


But for me getting management buy in is about showing them the benefits that can be gained from this way of working.  I put together an example template with benefits for different levels of people based on the work of Erica Hurley that maybe a starting point to getting your manager more engaged.



4. Functional BenchmarkingBenchmarking is also a popular topic.  At the moment any metric type benchmarking is very difficult to do, but there is a benchmarking technique that we could use that would allow us to see the learning opportunities that we have first via the different community but also as facilitators.  Performance improvement Benchmarking was developed by Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell while at BP and is great technique to use.  Here is a little one page document that explains a lintel bit more about PI benchmarking and if you’re interested in taking part, please vote and comment on the Idea area


post itHow do we create more Activity in the group?  Well it’s starting to happen already.

Since the release of the updated Group Messaging system which allows facilitators to send a direct message to all of its member’s inbox, we are starting to see a steady increase in the use of the Knowledge Hub.  Check out Jamie’s guide on Group Messaging.  Also check out Diane le Moult's 10 actions items to create a successful Community.

Last year I spoke to an organisation in Texas that moved platforms.  They moved from Sharepoint 2003 to Sharepoint 2007.  Which is quiet a change even with it being the same platform.  They migrated under 100 communities and hand held each one in the migration.  The result for the first six months was that visits went down by 60% with members taking time to get used to the new system and not liking the idea of change.  No one likes change, do they? 

But here’s the good news we are starting to get close to the same participation levels that where at the peak on the CoP Platform.

With over 22,000 unique visitors a month, 50,000 visits over 315,000 page views.  72% of members returning and 28% of them being new.  And average visit duration of 6 minutes, 41 and the bounce rate is 28.02

Just in case you want to know what a good bounce rate is Blast Advanced Media say 40-60% is normal for Content websites

Getting member’s to set up alerts is another hot topic.  For all new members to a group they will be asked if they wish to receive and email alert on a daily of weekly basis summarising activity in your group.  For all older users they will need to set them up.  So don’t forget to send out a reminder.  You can do this via the Group Messaging or you can even add it to your Group Announcements with a hyper link to the web address for Notification that is within Edit profile.

NeXT t-shirtSo lots of lot’s of stuff from the session.  But What Next?

Some great ideas and thanks to Hilary and Vicki.  Hilary suggestion was to learn from other Facilitators and Vicki’s was to capture and share some of those great stories that we are seeing in our group.

So let’s make it happen and this is a proposal for the next session.  And we might be able to run some of this online as well.


  • Complete Performance Improvement Benchmarking Self Assessment on being an online community facilitator
  • Peer Assist I’m looking for some volunteers.
  • Share your stories. 
  • Performance Improvement Benchmarking Results and Action Plan


Let me know what you think.


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Rebecca Cox 8 Years Ago
Hi Michael, Thanks for a great session. This is a really handy round-up of resources. For some reason the links to the documents take me to a blank page - not even an error message! Is this a known bug? I'm using Chrome. Cheers, Rebecca
Michael Norton 8 Years Ago
Hi Rebecca, I think it's something to do with your account. The one that your using if not a member of the facilitators community. So that's why it might not work. I'll pop along and see what happens. Plus I've just check the Idea's link and that not working correctly and I'll sort that one out
Rebecca Cox 8 Years Ago
Ah that would make sense. Maybe they could add an error message to that effect in a later round of the updates? R
Michael Norton 8 Years Ago
It should direct you to the join page of the group, so have raised that as an issue with the developers.