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I have some very exciting news to share: Leverage Software has been acquired by Telligent!

Here's what this means for our customers: 
 
As we become part of Telligent through this acquisition, our commitment to our customers will not change: we're going to continue to support you just as we always have. However, we'll now have a much deeper set of resources behind us, which means that we'll be able to innovate like never before. In addition, each Leverage customer will also be able to tap into Telligent's rich network of resources, which includes its customer community of social leaders, expansive service offerings, and an ecosystem of partners, developers and system integrators.

What's particularly exciting is that, as leading social software vendors, the fit between the two companies is such a natural one. Both companies are early pioneers in the social software space, have a long history of supporting the social innovators, are change-makers at great organizations around the world, and are made up of an amazingly talented group of employees who live and breathe enterprise social software. 

Among the things I have been most proud of at Leverage Software are the great individuals who make up the company. Over the years I've been fortunate to be able to work with the most creative, passionate and hard-working individuals in the industry — and I can already tell that Telligent is also made up of people with those same amazing qualities. As every Leverage employee transitions to joining the Telligent team, I am excited to see what innovations these two groups will create together, and I especially can't wait to share those innovations with our customers.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years, and keep an eye on us as we move forward. This is definitely going to be the enterprise social software company to watch!

Read more about the acquisition in our recent press release.

Our latest release (8.0 -- see the notes here) has a big new feature that may look small at first glance. It's a "More" link at the bottom of the news feed.

That's right, members can now browse older posts with just one click. And there's no limit to how far back they can go. Every post ever made in your community, including the very first post, is now available -- if you click back that far.









The page doesn't reload when you click the More link. The link changes to "Loading more..." with a spinner for just a second as older posts are retrieved, and the page stays in place as the posts are loaded quickly and smoothly below the fold. There's no disorienting "wait, what just happened?" moment, because members don't lose their place in the feed.






The same link is also available on profiles. We really think this feature will make all of the great activity and content on your site even more accessible to your members. Let us know what you think!

Our latest release (7.9 -- see the release notes here) includes a new feature that allows you, as the community administrator, to auto-assign members to groups based on profile attributes. 

That may not sound too glamorous, but it can have a huge impact on community involvement and participation. You'll find this feature extremely helpful whether you're starting a new community, working to ramp up contributions, or simply looking to the spread the wealth in a vibrant community.

It works for new members, current members, and even members who don't sign in very often. In fact, we've found that communities that increase group membership get a 2x or 3x bump in discussion threads and posts.

For example, in one community, a 50% increase in group membership led to a 160% increase in discussion activity!

Here's how it works: let's say your company offers a product called Instant Tropical Paradise, and members' profiles specify whether they use it or are interested in it. (And who wouldn't be interested in a product like that?) You've also set up a group in the community for Instant Tropical Paradise.

You can use the Attribute-Guided Recommendation Engine to recommend the group to the right members -- but if you don't want to leave it up to members to join the group, you can actually go ahead and add them. New signups who use Instant Tropical Paradise will also be added automatically to the group, and so will members who update their profiles to say they have Instant Tropical Paradises, too.

That means you can ensure that everyone in your community who has a demonstrated interest in Instant Tropical Paradise -- including members who haven't returned to the community since signing up --  will receive updates about the group's discussions, meetings, and files. This information will jump start new discussions and posts, in many cases from members who haven't participated much before.

Of course, we've made this feature respectful: members can turn off the email notifications by updating their notifications, or they can choose to leave the group if they wish. No doubt some will, but many others will appreciate the updates and the group -- and appreciate the value of their community all the more.

The process is simple:
  • Pick a group
  • Pick a profile (e.g. My Information, My Interests)
  • Pick a property
  • Pick one or more values
  • Get a preview of who will be added
  • Add 'em!


Thank you to those of you who were able to join our webinar. If you were unable to join us or if you'd like to tune in to the recording we'd like to invite you to use the link below to listen in at your convenience. We look forward to continuing our discussion. 

RECORDING: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/243635657

SLIDES: http://www.slideshare.net/leveragesoftwarecommunity/tips-in-20-7-secrets-for-enterprise-social-networking-success-9057492

We'd love to hear from all of you regarding what you have found to work well in your own enterprise social networking deployments. So, weigh in below with your comments or to have me anonymously post thoughts on your behalf, simply email your ideas to ldelong@leverages oftware.com . Thank you and we certainly look forward to having you attend one of our upcoming webinars.

Sure, you might have a mega brand or the coolest niche community, but why are 90% of your online community members lurking and should you care?

So, if 90% of your community members lurk should you care? In my opinion, no you shouldn't care. The good news is that it isn't you. It just naturally happens in online communities just as it does at a cocktail party. Researcher Jakob Nielsen calls this “ Participation Inequality “.

That said, you should understand why and develop a strategy for enticing your lurkers to participate over time. First, get familiar with analytics and understand how your lurkers behave. How often do they log in, how long do they stay, what do they download. After you understand who they are and how they behave you will be able to devise a plan to entice them to participate more over time. Here are some ideas from Jacob Neilson on how to encourage participation.

  • Make it easier to contribute.The lower the overhead, the more people will jump through the hoop. For example, Netflix lets users rate movies by clicking a star rating, which is much easier than writing a natural-language review.
  • Make participation a side effect. Even better, let users participate with zero effort by making their contributions a side effect of something else they're doing. For example, Amazon's "people who bought this book, bought these other books" recommendations are a side effect of people buying books. You don't have to do anything special to have your book preferences entered into the system. Will Hill coined the term read wear for this type of effect: the simple activity of reading (or using) something will "wear" it down and thus leave its marks — just like a cookbook will automatically fall open to the recipe you prepare the most.
  • Edit, don't create. Let users build their contributions by modifying existing templates rather than creating complete entities from scratch. Editing a template is more enticing and has a gentler learning curve than facing the horror of a blank page. In avatar-based systems like Second Life, for example, most users modify standard-issue avatars rather than create their own.
  • Reward — but don't over-reward — participants. Rewarding people for contributing will help motivate users who have lives outside the Internet, and thus will broaden your participant base. Although money is always good, you can also give contributors preferential treatment (such as discounts or advance notice of new stuff), or even just put gold stars on their profiles. But don't give too much to the most active participants, or you'll simply encourage them to dominate the system even more.
  • Promote quality contributors.If you display all contributions equally, then people who post only when they have something important to say will be drowned out by the torrent of material from the hyperactive 1%. Instead, give extra prominence to good contributions and to contributions from people who've proven their value, as indicated by their reputation ranking .
Consistently sending a newsletter is a quick way to make every online community member feel engaged even if they haven't logged in for months. It is a tactful way to re-engage community members without forcing them to log in. We have seen online community traffic soar as much as 100% on the day the newsletter goes out. Gentle touches are critical to keeping a community vibrant over time.

 

Don't create content for a newsletter, simply re-use and highlight what is already going on in your community. Here are some ideas on what you could include in your newsletter.


  • Poll or Question of the Week: encourages engagement
  • Member Spotlight: offers exposure to a member and provides a personal feel
  • Groups or Discussions: promote a group or discussion that some members might not know about
  • Featured Blog Post: offers exposure to a blogger, makes it personal, encourages engagement
  • Community Update: effective way to integrate with other social or traditional marketing channels

Thank you to those of you who were able to join our Tips in 20 webinar because we certainly appreciate that you chose to spend your time with us. We'd like to share with everyone our recording of the webinar below and we look forward to continuing our discussion. 

Webinar Recording Linkhttps://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/122576537 
PowerPoint Slides Link:  http://www.slideshare.net/leveragesoftwarecommunity/tips-in-20-how-to-build-an-online-community-strategic-framework-8756033

We'd love to hear from all of you regarding what you have found to work well in your own communities. So, weigh in below with your comments or to have me anonymously post thoughts on your behalf, simply email your ideas to ldelong@leverages oftware.com . Thank you and we certainly look forward to having you attend one of our upcoming webinars.

Thank you to those of you who were able to join our Tips in 20 webinar because we certainly appreciate that you chose to spend your time with us. We'd like to share with everyone our recording of the webinar below and we look forward to continuing our discussion. http://www.slideshare.net/leveragesoftwarecommunity/tips-in-20-nobrainer-ways-to-fuel-community-engagement-51811

We'd love to hear from all of you regarding what you have found to work well in your own communities. So, weigh in below with your comments or to have me anonymously post thoughts on your behalf, simply email your ideas to ldelong@leveragesoftware.com. Thank you and we certainly look forward to having you attend one of our upcoming webinars.

 

I have just learned about a very creative group of community members who came up with a clever solution to creating their own targeted polls. This team wanted the option to pose questions to a small audience and they wanted to keep the results within the private group that they had already created. The current polling feature did not provide the option of keeping a poll private nor did it allow community members to post new polls on the fly. So how did they make the lemonade?

   

 

Their solution: Team members create a new discussion in which the Topic serves as the poll question and the Message serves as the first poll answer option. To this discussion post they add additional Response posts which act as the other available poll answer options. Members are instructed to simply click on the Thumbs Up for the answer they wish to select for the poll. Click on the image on the right to see this example full size. 

 

I expect that this very simple solution could be helpful for many other communities so why don't you give it a try or reach out to me if you have any questions. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post the team that created this solution currently shares a private group and they have asked that I not disclose their identity in this forum. Of course, should they elect to proudly display their Kapt'n Kludge Award they might just be letting the cat out of the bag...

Has your team come up with some creative ways to work within their community? We would love to hear all about them. Please share those ideas with others in the What Works? group here in Leverage Labs.

Those of you who have visited the administration panel recently may have noticed that the Dashboards option has a new name: Analytics. If you've checked further you will have seen that not only is there a new name there are many new features behind this administrator option. These new features have been designed to broaden the types reporting previously available from your community and from other web analytics tools you may also be using for your community.

The Analytics dashboard header offers 3-tabs for selecting the type of reports you wish to review: Leading Influencers, Engagement History, and Member Activity. Along the left side of the dashboard you will find 8-tabs for selecting the time period for your reporting: Today, This Week, Last 2 Weeks, This Month, Last 3 Months, Last 6 Months, Last Year, and Custom. The chart presented in the center of the dashboard displays the results for the statistics highlighted below. Click on a different set of statistics and the chart data will update accordingly.

 

The team at Leverage Software is regularly adding new features to the platform and we welcome your feedback on all of them. I suggest that you make it a point to check out the Release Notes page on Leverage Labs to stay up to date on the latest enhancements.  Better yet, why not schedule a meeting with your client services account manager and have us demo these new features in action.

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