Olivia Hook, NASCIO Research and Digital Communications Coordinator
I spent the first half of my week at the Higher Logic Super Forum in the D.C. area, and even though I’ve had a few days to decompress everything I learned, my head is still spinning. I attended the HLSF last year with only a few weeks of association management under my belt, so to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Still, I took copious notes, hoping I would glean a clearer understanding about “What is a community, anyway?”
Higher Logic; a community of community managers
Let me start by saying that Higher Logic is a fun organization. Their huge team is incredibly friendly, high energy and all about the orange. I’m talking orange pants, orange suit jackets, orange pumps… I had never seen an organization embrace their color scheme like Higher Logic does. This group of community professionals is the epitome of what community is and how it functions.
Preparation for the conference
This year, with over a year of community management experience, I could not wait to get back to the Super Forum. I eagerly anticipated my trip for months before it arrived. I prepared for the conference by compiling a list of questions and ideas I had for our member community. I also asked my colleagues to send me any questions they had come across in recent months related to the platform. With my hefty list of questions in hand, I ventured to the 2-day Higher Logic conference.
At the conference
Like I mentioned before, my first exposure to the Higher Logic conference last year came before I had a good handle on how the community works. It did, however, serve as a crash course in figuring out many of the community’s features. This year, I was prepared. I spent ample time talking with Higher Logic’s partner vendors in between panel sessions and took advantage of downtime to play with our own community’s functions that I learned about in each panel.
One of the most beneficial components of the conference was the 1-on-1 consulting time with Higher Logic staff. Though we only had 25 minutes together, the staff member and I ran through a list of about a dozen questions I brought with me. She answered all my questions, provided me with links and documents with more information, and promised that we would have a follow-up call in the coming weeks once I had a chance to implement some of the upgrades.
Below are a few features I heard about at the Super Forum that I hope to implement in the next 12 months. I will use this list as a guide to hold myself accountable to improving the usability of our community site, because we all know how difficult it can be to set time aside to implement new features.
- Tagging in posts with increased search function outside of community site
- Website alerts (e.g. membership renewal deadline)
- Archiving microsites
- Enabling https security
- Using data and reports to engage members
- Digital ribbons and automation rules
- Best answer function and favoriting library resources
I urge all community users and managers to look at the Higher Logic User Group (HUG) for more ideas about how to improve your own online community. Thanks to Higher Logic for a fantastic conference!