Customer Showcase October 2023: Rav from Reckon
I’m Rav, the Community Manager at Reckon Limited, we’re a financial software provider headquartered in sunny Sydney, Australia 🦘 and a fellow Vanilla customer for our Community.
I'm stoked to have been asked to share a little bit about our Community journey and some tips & tricks we've implemented 😀
I look after the Reckon Community, which started back in 2013 and we’ve just ticked over 30,000 registered members. Our Community is a crucial component of our product support and mass communication, along with being a key platform for engagement and relationship building with our customers and partners. We made the move from our former provider to Vanilla at the height of the pandemic in 2020 (which is a whole other story in itself 🤯) and haven’t looked back since.
I’ve been in community management in various forms for 10 years now and one thing that has always stood out is the constant evolution in our space. There’s always something new to learn, discover or improve and I think that ties in with Vanilla’s continual innovation & enhancement of the platform which was a very important consideration for us.
I have also learned a massive amount from fellow community managers right here on the Vanilla Success Community! Its been awesome to bounce ideas, issues, insights and suggestions with each other along with learning new and better ways to do things! 🙌
Upgrading to Layout Editor
More recently, I’ve upgraded our Community to both Foundation & Layout Editor from our previous theme which I’m incredibly proud of as it was both a rewarding and challenging project due to our extensive customization and styling. It was important that we retained the ‘Reckon look & feel’ with our brand identity and what members are familiar with, but at the same time shake up a few things and make some necessary improvements to the site using the new features and functionality exclusive to widgets.
We have a lot of separate platforms at the moment for various things eg. KB, Ideas Portal, YouTube, product logins etc and we're looking to centralize these in our Community to act as a launching pad of sorts. With that in mind, I've been able to incorporate and showcase more of our content that lives external to our Community using the combination of Category widgets & Category as Links which has been a godsend for us to incorporate more of our channels into the one place.
I've also added UTM links to these category links to give us added insight in their performance and its been great to see how well its been working. I definitely recommend this as a way to tie in other channels you offer your customers that aren't necessarily intrinsic to Community.
Overall, I feel the upgrade in theme has enhanced our community and given us access to more tools and functionality to leverage our content strategy and subsequently deliver a more targeted/tailored experience for our members. An example of that is having widgets that are specific to content from followed categories (pictured below) or having widgets dependent on the member's role such as calling on a guest to either register or sign in.
Something that I've found handy as an admin is to customise a Quick Links widget exclusively for yourself ie. the admin/mod role, to include direct links to areas you visit a lot eg. a custom analytics dashboard, spam queue, a specific category.. it could be anything 😀 Its a small thing but super convenient!
The move to Layout Editor has also taken some of the reliance off our design dev that I previously had. We have a fair amount styling customization via CSS, and in some respects we still do, but being able to design pages from the ground up to showcase elements that are important to a member and their ability to find & consume relevant content has been great.
Part of that has been the ability to display specific content for certain campaigns or initiatives we have underway which we've utilised Featured Collections for. Its been a good way to highlight content that falls outside the realm of an 'announcement' but still important for members. It helps to avoid this content getting lost in the daily traffic.
Milestones & Content
We’ve hit some incredible milestones in terms of viewership, traffic and engagement which has positioned our Community as the go-to place for 'all things Reckon' for our members. This has translated into some of our analytics hitting close to 1.2 million pageviews from 730,000+ visits since the start of 2023 which has been really pleasing. However, the increases we've seen in active members, participants and new users has probably been the best aspect though with consistent growth this year 📈
Part of this is attributed to being 'present' in your Community to drive your content strategy forward, I'm a massive advocate of the old adage 'content is king' 👑 as I'm sure most of you are as well. Members want to engage and they'll only do so if there is something to engage with.
Since we're primarily a support community, at times you have to somewhat pre-empt what you think members will ask or have trouble with when it comes to product and create content around this, whether that be a quick how-to video, FAQ/informational post etc that lives on your Community.
In my opinion, one the of the best resources you have as a community manager is your.. members! Lean in to creating relationships with your super-users and longstanding/high-rank members. They're in your Community for a reason and can be invaluable assets in helping you foster a thriving and engaged community. These particular members often have a deep understanding of your community's dynamics, culture, and values and can serve as ambassadors and advocates, not only helping to enforce community guidelines but also actively promoting positive interactions and contributions. By building relationships with these dedicated members, you can gain valuable insights into what works well in your community, as well as identify areas that may need improvement. (This was really valuable for us during the upgrade to Layout Editor.)
Moreover, when you acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of your longstanding members, it not only motivates them to continue their positive involvement but also sets a positive example for others in the community. Their dedication and enthusiasm can inspire newer members to become more active and engaged, ultimately strengthening the sense of belonging within your community.
We still have a fair way to go but we’ve got some really exciting plans over the next year to further develop our Community and build toward our vision & goals which we're really looking forward to delivering on.
Thanks everyone! Super excited to hear from fellow Community Managers using Vanilla on their experiences and ideas! 🙂
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