Community of the Week: The Collective, by Disciple
Hello subscribers! Since most of you are community professionals, you’ve probably heard of The Collective (best experienced on their mobile app, available on iOS and Android). If you aren’t familiar with it, you’ll want to be. It’s made up of both community enthusiasts as well as clients of Disciple. You don’t have to be a Disciple client to join it, however, you will have a limited view if you’re not one. The Collective aims to connect people “...with a shared passion for communities, learning, and creating inspiring content.”
As an official partner of Disciple Media, I was able to get a special look at The Collective to share with you a bit about the two different types of membership experiences.
What I Love - “General” Membership
For any community host, expert, or enthusiast who is not a Disciple client.
The “tour.” The first thing you see once you’re in the app, is a section called Guide. This information gives you a helpful overview of the sections of the community in a manner that is both visually-impressive and fun to swipe through! To me, it was the equivalent of a quick tour, and I wish more communities offered something like this.
Access to Disciple’s CEO. You read that correctly. Anyone can get time with their CEO to share feedback. That’s quite the perk! How many other brand communities offer this benefit?! (I can’t think of one at this time.) Go to Feedback & Support > 1:1 w/ Disciple’s CEO to set it up.
Many many many videos. The Resources section is packed with entertaining and informative videos on a variety of subjects. This is fantastic from a learning perspective, but I do wish they’d allow for commenting on these to allow discussions to arise.
Rich on Resources. Besides the many videos in this section, I’m really liking the Templates & How2’s area, which is full of numerous documents to make a community professional’s life easier. This section also features The Collective’s podcast (subscribe here or on Anchor) and blog posts.
What I Love - Client Membership
For anyone who is a Disciple client, you get the benefits of what’s listed above, plus these groups: Disciple Host Support, and Challenges and Competitions. And don’t forget about the special events for customers only!
Challenges and Competitions. I love love love that there’s a dedicated section for this, AND that it’s reserved for clients! I looked at the #SuperSummerChallenge and saw that the winner won 100 more user seats for her community. What a bonus!! Seriously, kudos to Disciple for having an incentive like that which truly makes a difference for that community professional’s bottom line and community growth.
Access to Experts. The Collective has a dedicated event series called Expert Sessions, and they’ve assembled some of the brightest minds in our field for important virtual talks. This is an outstanding member benefit!
Consistent event series. The Collective puts on a quarterly series, called The Harvest, to share industry knowledge and platform updates. I’ve attended one of these before, and I must credit the Disciple team for making these the most interesting and engaging product update calls I’ve ever been part of! Mark your calendar for the next Harvest on Tuesday, November 16, 9 a.m. Pacific/12 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. London. Other notable customer events: a monthly Community Clinic, plus the Café Collective hosted twice a year. These are all excellent examples of how to make a community a destination that gives people something to look forward to.
I’m curious about:
The home screen. My community experience has taught me that users look for a few key things on the home screen of a community: signs of life/recency, and signs of volume. This is usually done by having some sort of recent activity feed, or listing popular metrics that you want to show off, such as the number of members or posts that exist in the community. The Collective does not have any of this on the home screen (although you can click into the Activity Feed from this area), and yet the UI is so simple and well-done, that I’m not sure that I mind. I am curious though, which type of home screen experience is most effective, and the only way to know that would be to do A/B testing.
Why there isn’t a search bar on the home screen. There are going to be users who know exactly what they need from the community, and they’ll need it immediately. They come to the space already knowing what they want to search for. The lack of a search bar, from the home screen, could be a deterrent for users like this. In my professional experience, the search functionality is heavily utilized no matter which page the user enters the community from. (Keep in mind that not everyone will enter the community through a homepage. Many people enter through a discussion they found via search engine.)
Group information. Something I asked myself as I browsed the community was, “Where are all the members interacting?” Because THAT’S where I want to be! It’s like being in a house and wondering which room the party is in 🎉. Sure, the other rooms are nice and all, but take me to the people! In this community, these interactions are happening in the Groups section. Today, this page only lists the Group names, which you can then click into, but I’d love to see a bit more information on the Groups page so that I can decide whether or not I even want to click into the Group. This information could include: A brief description. The number of members. The number of posts. All of this would be enticing info to draw me into certain Groups.
The List of Member Perks. It would be helpful to see some documentation somewhere that differentiates these two membership types so that people can clearly see the community benefits of being a Disciple client. Also, are the only member perks the addition of a few Groups? If so, I’m wondering what else Disciple could offer their members regarding features/functionality within The Collective.
What do YOU think of The Collective?