Meet Rich Millington, online community master and founder of FeverBee.

FeverBee uses proven social science to develop successful online and offline communities for B2B organisations around the world. Over the past 13 years, Richard has helped to develop over 270+ successful communities for clients including Apple, Facebook, Google, The World Bank, SAP, Oracle, Amazon, Autodesk, Lego and The United Nations.

Rich’s books, Buzzing Communities and The Indispensable Community are community management bibles and this marks his third time at Swarm – back by popular demand!

This year Rich is diving deep into the engagement myth, and how community managers are getting some critical things very, very wrong.

What role have social networks played in driving the obsession with “engagement” in communities?

Social networks have a business model based upon advertising. The metrics they report to investors, the tools they make available to advertisers, and their measures of success are based upon selling your attention to companies willing to pay for it.

The things that matter to them (number of visitors, members, posts per month etc.) are important to advertisers but are meaningless to us.

When we use tools designed to measure advertising (like Google Analytics/FB Insights etc..) we’re going to focus on what they can measure through tracking clicks and not valuable changes in long-term behavior.

It’s almost like Olympic athletes measuring themselves by how many people are watching instead of whether they win the race.

What’s your favourite community right now and why?

It’s hard to pick just one, many do really awesome things. In terms of a typical customer community, I really like Alteryx and Atlassian at the moment. Both do really great work in developing a community which serves multiple business goals, has widespread support and fairly good design.

What do you consider the most exciting thing about the community management space today?

The incredible opportunity that’s before every one of us to develop a game-changing community for our members and our organisations.

There are more people connected to the internet than ever, internet speeds are faster than ever, the number of people participating in some form of online community has never been higher.

More organisations are understanding the power of communities than ever before.

Most communities today have barely scraped the potential of what they’re capable of. It’s our job to change that…fast.

What do community managers most need to unlearn?

Community managers need to get over their obsession with serving drinks in cabin and step up to pilot the plane.

Most communities don’t have a strategy. The community manager has little idea what they’re trying to achieve, how the community will be next year (or next month) or the resources/journey it will take to get there.

Instead they try too hard to keep members happy by copying whatever everyone else is doing. It’s time to focus on the strategy that will really take a community to a much higher level.

What are you reading/watching/listening to right now that all community professionals should read/watch/listen to?

I’m really enjoying a book called Difficult Conversations.

Its principles aren’t just relevant for having tough conversations (which are game-changing), but about understanding that people participate in communities at multiple levels (i.e. an immediate need, an emotional driver, and as part of an identity) and the best way to deliver the most value to members is to satisfy all three.

Why should community peeps come to Swarm?

Because I’m going to be there! (just kidding…!)

(It’s ok, we agree!)

This is lonely work and you shouldn’t be doing it alone. You need peers you can connect with (in your time zone!) to bounce ideas off, get support, and learn/support.

We’re not robots, we need a peer group to reply on. Swarm connects you with peers just like you.

You heard the man. Don’t miss out on learning from Rich in person at Swarm 2019. Limited tickets are available – book yours now.

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