Best of the Best: 11 Top Community Management Reads of 2014


As 2014 comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on everything that has happened. In the community management field, there was certainly no shortage of great posts, resources, podcasts and speaker keynotes. I’ve rounded up 11 of the best of the best in this annual recap post.

1. Creating customers for life: 50 resources on loyalty, churn and customer retention
If you run a customer community, this resource from Helpscout’s Gregory Ciotti is an absolute must-read. It compiles 50 top-notch posts around customer retention, loyalty and churn.

2. What makes a good community KPI? 
Good’s Community Director Jelena Woehr describes how to create and structure solid community KPIs.
“For my team at GOOD, I’m targeting KPIs that show growth aligned with purpose. I look at the percentage of GOOD‘s most active members who are aligned with the community’s mission: sharing creative actions for a better self and a better world. I also want to see high rates of mutual following, to show that relationships, not just audiences are being built. And, I’m interested in how rapidly my team can respond to community members’ requests for help and guidance.”

3. The complete guide for using social media for customer service 
In my opinion, Buffer may have one of the best corporate blogs out there, along with GrooveHQ. This guide on social customer service tips from Buffer’s Courtney Seiter should be required reading for anyone who interacts with your brand’s social media channels.

4. How to calculate the ROI of customer-service communities
Tracking the ROI of community is no easy task. It’s going to vary based on your distinct community business goals. However, the ROI of your community should either show an increase in sales or reduction in support costs. This fantastic post from Rich Millington outlines a process that community mangers can use to show the ROI of customer support communities.

5. Why you should think twice before removing blog comments
A handful of top-notch bloggers, including Jay Dolan, of The Anti Social Media, and Copyblogger, made the decision to get rid of blog comments this year. It sparked a bit of a debate on whether or not to have blog comments. Read my post on the pros and cons for having blog comments.

6. 5 tips to creating engaging content I Stop pulling content out of your . . .  
In this guest post for This Moment, Jason Falls explains why most branded content falls flat, and then follows it up with five awesome tips for how to create engaging content that stands out for all the right reasons.

7. Community Geek Podcast with Joe Cothrel 
I’m typically not a big podcast listener. However, this podcast episode with Lithium’s Chief Community Officer Joe Cothrel is a must-listen to.  Throughout the episode, Joe shares some great insights about the role of online communities in a brand’s customer experience.

8. The ultimate guide to choosing the right platform for your community 
In this CMXhub guest post, Sidecar’s Maria Ogneva gives a comprehensive overview of the many different online community platforms out there from enterprise-level to open source. She explains what to look for, red flags to be wary of, and how to create a design and experience that encourages specific behaviors’ and actions.

9. What to learn from the man who managed Reddit’s community of millions
With more than 100 million unique visitors in over 186 countries, you would expect Reddit’s community team to be massive. However, that’s far from the case. For the longest time, Reddit’s community was managed by one person: General Manager Erik Martin. In this article on First Round, Erik shares some fascinating insights around community management and his role at Reddit. A must-read.

10. Customer development for startups: What I learned talking to 500 customers in 4 weeks. 
While not specifically related to community management, there’s too many great insights in this blog post not to include it in my yearly recap. GrooveHQ’s CEO Alex Turnbull shares in copious detail why he invested more than 100 hours talking directly to customers over the course of 4 weeks.

11. Community Management Professionals: Don’t sell yourself (or your careers) short 
Whether you are brand new to community management or a seasoned pro, this post from Patrick O’Keefe is a great reminder to keep learning and seeking advancement.

What was your favorite post of 2014? Please share in the comment section below. 


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About the author

Jessica Malnik