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New for 2016!

We are busy planning our 2016 stratergy here at Avon HQ and I'm excited that we are going to roll out:


  • Value analytics
  • Category Experts
  • Knowledge Base
  • Media V4
  • Resposive Skin (April 2016!) 


Has anyone else implemented any of these? I know we are a bit behind in implementing Knowledge Base but I would love to hear any sucess stories or stratergies anyone has!


Happy Nearly New Year 😉


Rene 🙂

13 Replies 13

Hi Rene,


In the community I currently manage, we haven't yet rolled out any of these features, unfortunately. However, I wanted to call your attention to this conversation on Category Experts (starts in post 5). @JasonHill had some interesting experiences using Category Experts.


Also, this article has some good TKB examples. Here are some other examples I've bookmarked myself:


And I know you saw these examples already (thanks for the kudos in the other topic!), but I'll link again for anyone who is reading this topic.


Responsive design:


Media Experience:





Lili McDonald
Community Manager @ Amazon
Connect on LinkedIn

Wow thanks Lili! Great links! Our community is now just over a year old and feel we need some new features 🙂 Can you send me a link to your community I would love a look! Take a look at Avon Beauty Connects too, would love your feedback 🙂



As per the other thread that Lili has pointed you to, I would be wary about implementing Category Experts. I would suggest you have a really good think about the behaviour you are trying to encourage, then have a look at what Premium Gamification can do for your community. I'm sure you will find that it is a much more powerful and flexible offering than Category Experts, and it also has the advantage that Lithium will continue to invest in it in future. My experience with Category Experts was that it caused more problems than it solved, and in the end we decided to remove it.


What behaviour are you trying to encourage in your community?




Thanks for the feedback @JasonHill 🙂


We believe that Category Experts might be a cheaper alternative to gamification.. Our Audience love achieving 'super star' status and on the old community we had they used to love the 'count to a million' thread where they hilariously counted to a million just to increase thier status! 


Why did it not work for you? 

Value analytics


We had been running this, but recently disabled it temporarily so that it did not coincide with a customer NPS survey that we were running. Overall I think that it is a promising feature that can help us get closer to reality in our ROI estimates. Every community should have surveys of some type - stop guessing, just ask people.

Category Experts


+1 on what has already been said here. It is an incomplete implementation that is not likely to see meaningful updates. Premium Gamification is the inevitable successor.

Knowledge Base


Whether or not this is successful in your community depends completely on your use case, promotion of the feature, incentivizing users to use it, etc. Would love to hear more about your plans.

Media V4


Have not yet used this one.

Responsive Skin (April 2016!)


I've been tracking this one very closely - there's a lot to play out. There are some interaction styles and features that will be added along the way that aren't there today. Make sure you have all of the details about the availability of functions your site employs and understand what the upgrade path looks like going forward.


So far, Virgin Media and Google Adwords have the best implementations because they didn't sacrifice the desktop experience for the sake of mobile optimization. A successful implementation of responsive requires careful consideration of many experiential factors and thoughtful design decisions that extend far beyond simply enabling the default skin and calling it good. I think we all have a lot to learn about how responsive design applies to community settings.


Making significant changes the user interface is always a delicate proposition. Personally, I'm going to exercise a decent amount of caution and make sure we get this one right.

I can sympathise regarding the cost of gamification - I do believe it should be part of the core platform and the cost might be hard to justify. Have an honest discussion with your account manager about this and hopefully they can reduce the cost to a level that you can justify the ROI. 


As mentioned on the other thread linked above, the main issues we had with category experts were:


- category expert leaderboards not being accurate (which cost us a superuser and annoyed many others) 

- notification settings for experts 

- no flexibility with titles (some category names were too long/awkward) 

- not able to exclude roles from receiving Expert status, which meant some staff would receive the expert title. This was a problem as we didn't want to give the impression that only some of our staff were experts.


I'm not sure if these problems have been addressed but I doubt it as all the team's attention would have been invested in gamification in recent years. 


Good luck,




Hi @JasonHill


I also work on the same community as @ReneAvon and have been reading your feedback on our strategy; thank you so much! And also to @BrianOblinger.


On the category experts topic we were thinking of implementing this manually and just giving the 'expert' title to users who post the most reviews as an example and positive UGC. We wanted to avoid the automatic category expert function as we may give the expert title to the users who cause the most issues and negativity being that it is based on the most posts. Not sure how you feel about the manual setting? We go live with our update next week which we are really excited about and we will try to implement the category expert manually as trial and error and report back. 



leighavon wrote:

On the category experts topic we were thinking of implementing this manually and just giving the 'expert' title to users who post the most reviews as an example and positive UGC.

Hi @leighavon -- I think this makes the most sense and sounds more like a superuser program. You may want to publicly post the qualifications for becoming an expert. The Lithium Stars program is a good example -- it's vague enough that users don't know how to game the system, but clear enough to know what they're looking for.


Also, do you plan to replace the expert users' rank with the expert title or use a rank icon? In my community, for one set of expert users, we use a rank icon as we still want the users to be able to go through the ranking system as normal.


Lili McDonald
Community Manager @ Amazon
Connect on LinkedIn

Hi Leigh (@leighavon)


I like your approach. Like @lilim, it sounds like the beginnings of a superuser program to me, which is great. 


Before you implement, you might want to think about a long-term strategy for how the superuser program might develop and develop a formal implementation plan with @ReneAvon. For example, a safe way to "soft-launch" it might be to hand-pick your initial superusers, contact each of them privately, and just have a private board for them to get to know each other a little better and feel like they have a direct communication pathway with the Avon community team. In other words, just make them feel special! They should also give you feedback about what they want and don't want from the program. Then later on you could introduce public recognition of them (like a special rank and/or icon) once you've bedded down the criteria for entry into the program and have communicated it to all. And of course you could progresssively introduce as many rewards and recognition systems as you wish.  


I'm sure you've read or can easily find other great threads here on the Lithium Community about their experiences with superuser programs. I'm certainly in favour of hand-picking the members, but as Lili infers you need to be prepared for tough questions from other community members who feel like they should be recognised. 




Thanks @lilim@JasonHill


We do have a Superuser program already and its good to know we are already doing all that you have suggested i.e have a separate board, give them sneak- peeks of new products and we send them a monthly gift to thank them for the support they offer on the community. The superstars are the ones who help other members, flag issues to us etc. Sorry to get too specific but we have boards on beauty, fashion etc and we want to reward those who review products, recommend products etc but don't necessarily provide business or representative support like our Superstars do. We were thinking of awarding titles such as 'beauty expert'. Is this similar to what you implemented and did it work for you?





Hey @ReneAvon


Thats great news! We've been using new media experience since the beta, its really a massive step up from the previous interface!! and ive just started using value survey but like yourself my 2016 will be packed with things like responsive, VIrgin media's example is a good one which brian shared.


Good luck




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Community l Ideation l Blog l Product Hubs l Check & Report l Service Status 

My latest Ideas: Vanity URL Manager l @mention Roles l  LSW Password Policy



That sounds different to what we were trying to achieve with Category Experts on my previous community. Because we had very different products that required very different expertise, we wanted to have expert titles that recognised our superusers specialities. The other thing was that we wanted different formula for different categories as we had a lot of activity in the boards for our flagship product but not as much in others. 


Seeing you have an existing superuser program that is working well for you, I would have a good think about what your superusers might feel if they see other community members labelled as beauty "experts". They might wonder why they aren't also being awarded the label. You might want to think very carefully about what description you use to segment these users. Again, there would also be a need to communicate the criteria as clearly as possible. 





The community I help lead is MicroStrategy's, a b2b enterprise company. Here's what we've been up to...


1. We do use value analytics! Our community has had good insights from it, although since we also are a data company, we utilize our own tool to figure out KPIs and other important metrics to us. What is valuable is how our community compares to others, so I'd recommend it for sure. 


2. Category experts are in existence in our community, but we haven't developed anything beyond making it visible on each topic page. We do have a superuser program that was established 6 months ago, and we have a pretty active group. Oddly enough, the further you are from the HQ, the more responsive and active our superusers are. 


3. Knowledge base has been in use from the very start and is the very reason we transitioned to Lithium. In fact, @lilim led that that when she was at MSTR! Feel free to check it out and ask her/I questions. Now that our community has been around for a year and a half, I'd say that having a good program on how these TNs are made is really important. And sharing them regularly through multiple channels (during support calls, or newsletters) definitely helps as well. Check out our KB operations here


4. We're implementing the media experience for a unique use case, but are working out the kinks. It will be open to the public soon but essentially, we're making plug-ins downloadable and using the gallery to preview how the code will look like. 


We have implemented it though elsewhere to get people familiar with the look and feel here (latest photos in a topic) and here (masonry applied to a blog) for our corporate events.


Hope some of this is helpful! Looking forward to seeing how your community pans out for 2016!



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