18 Useful Tips for Doing Business with a Welcome Platform

April 12th, 2012 by bruno boutot

It’s an Open Game

Proximity tells us that, even if users are far away from us, whenever they decide to visit we are only one click away from them. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others may seem overwhelming for any business entering the fray but they are not closer our users than we are and never will be. Any site is but a click away from our users. #

It drives me crazy to see major brands using expensive television time to drive consumers to a Facebook program that lives exclusively inside Facebook.
If that same program lives out on the Independent web – your own site, on your own domain, with your own platform – then you own all the data and insights.
My advice: put your taproot into soil that you control, soil that is shared by the millions of other independent voices on the web.
John Battelle
Put Your Taproot Into the Independent Web #

It’s an Open Field

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the Web is almost empty. When memory space expands faster than we can fill it (as we can see for example with YouTube), the available space is nearly infinite. So there is no “real estate” with its “location , location, location” imperative on the Web. #

It’s a Stillness Game

Not a pun: Origin is the starting point. Only the readers move. We don’t. For being able to exploit this parameter, we have to get it, internalize it, grok it: we sit down, we stand still, we close our eyes if need be but we don’t move. We don’t send a package. We don’t send anything away. Our website is stuck in a server. #

It’s a One-to-One Game

The best use of Equality and Proximity is one-to-one communication. By definition, this is the strangest game changer for mass media and marketing people. But don’t worry: it can be done. You don’t have to exchange personally with all your members. It’s just a place where there are only people: nobody is hiding behind a news media, a brand, a company name, an anonymous title. All that’s needed are people exchanging on a one-to-one basis, like in a forum or a community. #

It’s a Community Game

The word “community” is used for all kinds of social groups. It’s not different on the Web, where “community” can have many different meanings. Here,  in a Welcome platform, it describes a specific social mechanism with its very own gears and wheels:
– in a Welcome community, members create something together, with at least one main place for common activities;
– a “member” is a registered user whose identity is stable and whose every contribution to the site is recorded and easily accessible to all;
– there are clear guidelines of participation and a system to alert moderators (flags);
– moderators are members of the community. #

It’s a One-at-a-Time Game

In a one-to-one context, new members arrive one at a time. It’s not about registering; it’s about participating and becoming a contributing member in a community. #

Successful communities put the effort in after the registration process. They fight for every member. They introduce members to others. They ensure members make a contribution on their first visit. They initiate and support interesting events/activities for members. They start discussions and prompt people to respond to them. They create content about what members are doing. They take the time to build genuine relationships with members.
Rich Millington
Focus On The Post-Registration Effort #

One at a time is a little anticlimactic and difficult to get in a froth over, but one at a time is how we win and how we lose.
Seth Godin
Preparing for the breakthrough/calamity #

It’s a Members Game

A “user” is a person who happens to pass through any page on our site. A “member” is a registered user who has a stable identity, and whose contributions are recorded and accessible on their personal page on our site. Only members can contribute in a community. #

Turn your readers into members. Not visitors, not subscribers; you want members. And then don’t just consult them, but give them tools to consult amongst themselves.
Paul Ford
The Web Is a Customer Service Medium #

It’s a Participation Game

Communities don’t care about page views: it’s a place where members do something together. It’s more of a workshop than a theater: there are no spectators, only people working toward a common goal. A Welcome community is about doing and making (active), not about viewing or consuming (passive). #

It’s a Non-Media Media Game

If we are creating a private community, it has its own end. The process of becoming a community in the Welcome system is about doing something together. There is no need for another process. #

It’s a Slow Game

A community is made of interpersonal exchanges around a common objective. So it can only grow one person at a time, one new member at a time.
Look at the biggest (non community) social networks like Facebook or Twitter: they took two years just to appear on the radar.
If we try to rush the process, members won’t build an identity, won’t establish relationships, won’t build a reputation and won’t build their home in our home: they won’t come back. #

We need a long-term perspective. We need to focus on the lifetime value of members. If you demand short-term results, you build a short-term community. You build a community based upon clicks.
Relationships aren’t built upon clicks. Relationships are built upon meaningful interactions. Relationships are built upon increasing levels of self-disclosure, gradual (gradual!) development of trust and familiarity.
Rich Millington
Member Lifetime Value #

It’s an Ever Growing Investment

Every contribution to a community makes it grow: a vote, a comment, a choice in a poll, a piece of  information, a picture, a review, a video, a news story, a compliment, a flag, a question, an answer, anything. Each contribution adds a little to the identity of the member, to their sense of belonging to the community, to the exchanges with other members, to the content of the community and to its governance. There is no loss. Ever. Even mistakes are lessons for the member, for the community, for the moderators.
A Welcome community is an ever growing capital. #

It’s an Identity Game

In real life, we don’t have to know the legal identity of someone to have a casual information exchange or a commercial exchange with them. Most or the time, if we come to know better the people with whom we have regular casual or commercial exchanges, it is because we remember them. #

It’s a Trust Game

In the gears and wheels of a Welcome machine, trust is the best lubricant to facilitate any kind of exchange: exchanges of information, news, services, or money.
Trust is made of positive memories of past exchanges.
The more positive exchanges our members have with other members, the more they develop trust between each other.
The more positive exchanges our members have within our community, the more they develop trust toward the community.
To have the best content exchanges, we have to be a trust-generating machine.
To have the best commercial exchanges, we have to be the best trust-generating machine. #

It’s a Transaction Game

The Welcome system has a single operating mechanism: exchanges between members. #

The Urban Metaphor isn’t…

Proximity, Origin and Equality define “A space that doesn’t move where people have one-to-one exchanges”. This definition has a lot in common with what happens in real life in any store. So if we want to understand how a Welcome platform works, we have much more to learn from store builders and managers than from media and marketing people (who operate in the Distance System). #

It’s a Relationship Game

Equality tells us that users feel equal to whatever is on their screen. So they are in an equal relationship not only with any other user but also with any website. #

It’s a Memory Game

Memory allows the building of identity.
Memory allows the building of relationships.
Memory allows the building of trust. #

It’s a Welcoming Game

In the end, in a Welcome community, we want people to like our place, to feel secure in it and to settle among us to have exchanges with other people. #

Filling up #

Image: Filling upmathowieSome rights reserved

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