Muut: the Platform for Community Building

How to give your site a BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED communication platform

By Shawn Stone

Muut offers seamless communication for members of your community throughout your site, and I'm falling a little bit in love with them (like a friend you might love a bit, but not enough to make a move). They give you the ability to work directly with your audience, building honest relationships and getting real-time feedback. 

How? Three Ways:

1. Forums

The forums are definitely the flagship element of Muut's communications cocktail, and act as a foundation for the rest. If you haven't used a forum before, stop by the Money Earned forum and say hi! 

Essentially, a forum is a discussion board consisting of various channels that each cover a different topic. Within these channels, users post individual "threads" that focus on a specific idea within the topic. For example, if your website was for a company selling baby products you might have a channel focusing on diapers and a user might post a thread within it asking about cloth diapers, or changing diapers, etc.

Or other...uses...

The forum is a place focused entirely around interacting with your community, and encouraging them to interact with one another. Use it to:

  • Learn how your current products are being used
  • Discover new ways to meet your customers' needs
  • Get feedback on your new products or ideas
  • Build brand ambassador relationships
  • And pretty much anything else you can think up

2. Comments

If you have a blog, the comments section is what makes your blog engaging for readers. Blogging is conversational and relies on readers' feedback to be effective. Muut's comments can be linked to your forum and archived for easy access. They also offer some other advantages that I'll get to shortly (see Integration).

3. Messaging

The icing on the cake comes in the form of a live-messaging box that pops up in the corner of your site. Visitors can see who else is hanging around and easily send direct messages to admins or each other. You can also start group chats, which really helps with community building and project-based conversation.

It's not just the basics. Muut goes above and beyond.

I took the time to read Muut's Manifesto and was nothing but impressed by their thoughtful dedication to improving online communication. They've earned their reputation as the best in the business.

A few of my favorite elements:

Customer Service

I'm awful with coding. A total noob. Lucky for me, the excellent support team at Muut solved every issue I ran into at the drop of a hat. They even took the time to personally explore my website's code and write specific fixes.

Even more impressive: When my improperly coded SquareSpace template was causing something to bug out, I gave Monika (a most helpful and friendly Muut rep) admin access to moneyearned.net and she was able to diagnose the issue so I could work with SquareSpace to find a workaround. I can't imagine getting such in-depth and personal help from any other company. 

Wow.

Easy to Follow Discussions

The conversations are linear, rather than allowing content to fork off in various directions by commenting on individual responses. This keeps the discussion on track and emphasizes quality over quantity.

When you first arrive on the forum page, there's a nice summary of every discussion you've participated in, that keeps you up to date on anything you've missed.

Searchable

There's a built-in search bar. Find what you're looking for, and maybe some better stuff you weren't. It's too easy.

Clean, Versatile Design

You can choose from all types of ready-made skins that will match your site's design, or even go a little more in-depth and customize yours with code. The options are limitless. Design is everything when you want your site to look professional.

Credible

Muut does something you don't see very often: they only give you 2.7 minutes to make any changes or corrections to a post. Otherwise, what happens in Muut stays in Muut. This ensures people are given enough time to fix a quick typo or mistake, but are held accountable for their words. It forces users to think about what they post and keeps discussions sensible, with no awkward gaps where posts have been deleted. I think it's brilliant!

Integration

Last, but certainly not least, Muut integrates with all sorts of apps and software. The most relevant to my experience is Slack. Working with Eric, we're on Slack all the time and rely on it for 90% of business communication. I can't wait until our community grows enough to justify upgrading our Muut plan from Mini to Medium so we can take advantage of integration.

With that, we'll be able to see new posts instantly, and even reply to them through Slack. How awesome is that And yes, I just used an interrobang.

 

What else?

 

Plenty, but I'll let you explore that on your own. I seriously can't recommend Muut enough. I love when companies have a real mission behind their work, and a great product to boot. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Thoughts or questions? To the (Muut) comments section with you!