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2013 SOCM: The Value of Community Management


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The first report from the 2013 State of Community Management research covering community management staffing, salaries, practices and engagement impact.

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2013 SOCM: The Value of Community Management

  1. 1. Lorem Ipsum[Date]The 2013 State of Community ManagementThe Value of Community Management
  2. 2. 2 www.communityroundtable.comThe Community Roundtable is committed to advancingthe business of community. We are dedicated to thesuccess of community and social business leaders andoffer a range of information and training services. Wefacilitate TheCR Network – a community of businessleaders that provides access to experts, programs,curated content, relevant connections and a trustedenvironment in which to share.For more information, please visit us
  3. 3. 3 www.communityroundtable.comExecutiveSummaryThe State of Community Management is The CommunityRoundtable’s groundbreaking annual research initiative thatbrings the leading practices in community and socialbusiness to the market.The 2013 State of Community Management (#2013SOCM)extends this research through quantitative data, bringing to light both what we knowfrom working with over 90 organizations and their community teams and some surprisesthat we didn’t expect.Two key questions drove the research:1. What do business communities look like and what is the value of community?2. What does community management look like and what is the value of communitymanagement?This report, The Value of Community Management, covers the role of communitymanagement, how it integrates into organizations, its practices and processes and thevalue it contributes to community and social business initiatives.Key findings include:! Community managers are more experienced and less technical than is oftenportrayed, with an average salary of $65,778.! Key factors, such as the amount of cross-functional interaction and size ofcommunity teams, are putting a resource strain on community managers,particularly in large organizations.! Community management practices and processes that are standardizing, withexamples.! Demystifying the myth of the 90-9-1 rule and the impact of communitymanagement on community performance.This report is designed to be actionable, supporting:1. Conversations with executive sponsors about budgets, programming initiativesand performance objectives.2. Development of community management job descriptions.3. Conversations between community managers about their priorities, supportsystems and performance objectives.
  4. 4. 4 www.communityroundtable.comThe State of Community Management ResearchThe State of Community Management is TheCR’s researchplatform that focuses on the standards, trends and opportunitiesfor the business of community management.The 2013 SOCM builds on previous qualitative research to offer aquantitative look at community and community managementfunctions within organizations and the value to expect from thoseefforts over time. Additionally, instead of one large report, we willbe publishing a portfolio of reports, eBooks like the The Dark Sideof Community Management, infographics, presentations andcustom benchmarking analysis from the 2013 SOCM data – andwe will continue to build on the database over time.For TheCR Network members, research about communitymanagement is becoming increasingly important as communitiesgrow and mature faster than their programs and resources. Bothcommunity managers themselves and their executivestakeholders have a lot of questions about how to make soundbusiness decisions about communities. By providing quantitativeevidence of trends, our hope is that this research supports goodbusiness decisions regarding online communities and acceleratestheir success.This report is focused on the question:What does community management look like and what is thevalue of community management?Next to social mediamanagement, communitymanagement might be thehottest buzzword or‘buzzcareerpath’. But do most ofthese publications or hiringmanagers screaming that theyneed a community managerreally know what it is?-Jeff Esposito, @jeffespo2012: Communityinitiatives by stage ofmaturity2011: Communitypractices bycompetencyI’m here to challenge [allcommunity managers] to take astand and educate the marketabout what we do and why it’simportant. I’d like to alsochallenge businesses we work forto listen to their communitymanagers and try to understandhow community can bringbusiness value to yourorganization.-Maria Ogneva, @themariaCommunity Managers willcontinue to struggle for capacity,budgets and recognition. Ibelieve this report, past researchreports and other resourcesshared by The CommunityRoundtable are critical tools touse when building your case forinternal or external social mediaand the resources or capitalneeded to help them grow.- James LaCorte, @thegaspar
  5. 5. 5 www.communityroundtable.comResearch methodologyThe 2013 State of Community Management (SOCM)compiles quantitative findings based on a survey fielded byTheCR in March 2013.The survey covered the following four data segments:The research assumes thatorganizations have multiplecommunities and a communityprogram that may existindependently from themanagement of specificcommunities. Theseassumptions are based on ourwork with the over 90organizations that we engagewith in TheCR Network.However, this may not be truefor every organization,particularly smallerorganizations that do not have more than one community or a community program team distinctfrom their core community team.The Community Roundtable was started because werecognized how critical the emerging discipline ofcommunity management was to the future oforganizations. We also knew we did not have all theanswers and that there were many pioneering practitioners who had learned communitymanagement the hard way and who had a lot to teach the rest of us.By bringing leading practitioners together in TheCR Network, we are privileged to have a frontrow seat as new knowledge and understanding is created. We take the responsibility ofturning that tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge through our research, which in turn helpsothers understand how leading organizations are innovating their management techniques.An advisory board of TheCR Network members steered this research, helping us prioritizewhat we collect and document, challenging us to think differently and perhaps mostimportantly, contributing their curiosity about the business of community.We hope this research helps you move your community or social business initiative forward.Introduction
  6. 6. 6 www.communityroundtable.comAlthough the survey will remain open as an ongoing research platform, this report is basedon the comprehensive findings of 40 organizations, listed in the Appendix. Many of theparticipants came from high tech, telecom and software companies.Many survey participants described their organizations as innovators and networked. Over30 percent of respondents reported that their organizations were fully networked, comparedto 3 percent reported by The Social Economy report by McKinsey Global Institute. Thesecharacteristics suggest that community programs documented in this survey are moremature than the market average, and the findings in this report reflect that.This report also compares survey averages against the averages of organizations that canmeasure the value of community management. Almost 40 percent (37.5%) of organizationssurveyed reported being able to measure the value of the role. Calculations of this valuevaried among respondents.The qualitative perspectives provided in this report represent those of various experts andpractitioners and may not necessarily be the best practice for every context. Because ofthat, we term practices ‘organizational patterns’ throughout this report. Communitymanagement is a discipline that requires judgment and a deep understanding of thedynamics of a specific community, so what we offer here are patterns that we see appliedby survey participants and practitioners with whom we work.
  7. 7. 7 www.communityroundtable.comKey FindingsWe found both expected and surprising performance data in this year’s SOCM. Expectedbecause we know how new and complex the discipline of community management is basedon our work and surprising because of the performance results we were able to quantify.This research revealed a picture of community management that is more complex – and morestrategically valuable – than is commonly understood or appreciated. What you will find in thisdata is a picture of the lives of community managers – typically mid-career professionalsworking to connect a wide range of internal and external people and resources to advancetheir community. That work is paying off in the dramatic influence community managementcan have on engagement rates and community output.Key Findings Include:! Community managers are more experienced and less technical than is often portrayed,with an average salary of $65,778.! The factors, such as the amount of cross-functional interaction and size of communityteams that is putting a resource strain on community managers, particularly in largeorganizations.! Which community management practices and processes are standardizing, andexamples of how these practices are applied by TheCR Network members.! Demystifying the myth of the 90-9-1 rule and the impact of community management oncommunity performance.We hope this research inspires conversations with your team about how to apply, supportand structure a community management team.
  8. 8. 8 www.communityroundtable.com1. Community Management Is ComplexCommunity management is a relatively new role in organizations with the averageorganization surveyed having started its community program just five years ago (2008).For hiring managers and community managers alike, this can make the professionaldevelopment process challenging – and we still occasionally see organizations lookingfor interns or recent graduates, while community managers express concerns with thatapproach.Survey results showed that on average, community managers have about eight yearsof work experience and three years of community management experience, withslightly higher numbers for organizations that can measure the value of the role.The research suggests that community management in leading programs is not a rolethat is delegated to the least experienced members of a team. We are seeingcommunity managers, like Rebecca Braglio, with a good deal of work experience inother disciplines and with a sensitivity to the unique collaboration and conflictresolution needs of online communities move into community manager roles.
  9. 9. 9 www.communityroundtable.comFrom our work with TheCR Network, we know there is no linear career path forcommunity managers. However, community program owners do move into moresenior functional roles, taking with them a community approach to execution.One thing is clearer than it has been in the past – it is not technical skills that are theprimary requirements for becoming a community manager. Engagement and peopleskills ranked highest in importance on the survey, followed by content developmentand strategic and business skills, at about the same rate. Technical skills wereprioritized least – making it clear that is not the highest priority when hiring communitymanagers.
  10. 10. 10 www.communityroundtable.com2. Community Managers Are HubsWe often describe community managers and strategists as having feet in two different worlds –one firmly planted inside their organization and one reaching out to the world outside. One of thekey roles, particularly of community managers in marketing or support organizations, is to makethe boundaries of their organizations more porous in order to increase the responsiveness oftheir organization to the markets it serves. They also play similar roles internally – connecting theorganization to itself in ways not always easy in a hierarchical and functional environment. Thatgives community managers both a lot of insight and puts a lot of strain on them, making it clearthey need to learn how to build scalable processes, part of what we highlighted in the 2013SOCM companion eBook, The Dark Side of Community Management.How Many Community Managers Do You Need?We are often asked this question. There is no one right answer because it depends on a numberof factors:! Community purpose! Community size! Community membership criteria! Member characteristics! Organization’s culture comfort with online engagement! Technical ease of useWhat we did expect to see was a correlation between organization size and community teamsize. While there was slight correlation it was not proportional, with larger organizations havingonly slightly more community management team members than small and medium sizedorganizations. Wesuspect that the value ofcommunity managementis more evident to smallerorganizations that havean easier time reactingquickly to their markets,where in largerorganizations that linkmay be harder tomeasure and thereforeharder to justify.
  11. 11. 11 www.communityroundtable.comApproximately 40 percent of respondents only have one community manager (or a partial FTE)on their community program team, but 80 percent of organizations that could calculate thevalue of community management employed more than one community manager. This istelling and confirms what we know from our work with organizations that have taken the time tomeasure the value of community management resources.One thing that was affected by the size of organization was the average salary of a communitymanager. The survey average was approximately $65,778, but we see community managers inmedium and large organizations as well as community managers with more than ten years ofexperience earning an average salary in the $70Ks.Communitymanagement isoverwhelmingly staffedin-house – another pointof discussion in themarket among manyexperienced communitymanagers believing thatthis should be the case,based on the internalconnections required toexecute theresponsibilitieseffectively. Only 22percent of organizationsare hiring contractors, vendors or agencies for external community management services, and10 percent are hiring them for internal community management. We suspect that as communityteams grow, this will change- a core internal team andan extended outsourcedteam that can give manyprograms the flexibility theyneed to expand andcontract.Within an organization,community managers areconnected to and workclosely with many differentdepartments. Anecdotal
  12. 12. 12 www.communityroundtable.comevidence suggests successful community managers are more likely to build partners and allieswith other departments as a means of reducing program risks and increasing the speed ofresponsiveness.Most community managers surveyed report to marketing, customer support and/or internalcommunications. More than half of the community managers surveyed work frequently withmarketing, sales, PR/external communications, customer support, internal communications, ITand human resources.One interesting difference between the survey average and those community teams that canreport the value of community management is the higher level of interaction with most otherdepartments and the notable increased interaction with their finance team. This confirmsdiscussions with our members that early and regular interaction with groups like this can assistwith performance and growth – and the critical ability to measure success.The picture that emerges of a typical community manager is a mid-level professional, highlynetworked within their organization, with a few years of online community experience. If they areat a large organization, the chances are high that they are stretched thin – not only because ofthe small community team size, but also because of the more complex cross-functionalenvironment that eats up more time the larger the organization.
  13. 13. 13 www.communityroundtable.com3. Standards Are EmergingFor many years, community management has been seen as something that was very unique tothe specific community in which it operated and much more art than science. Communitymanagers learned by doing and gained their scars the hard way. As the discipline matures,however, we are starting to see standards emerging. This is of immense help to both newcommunity managers and those who need to justify investment in these efforts.Community ProgrammingThe SOCM survey profiled different types of communities, including both customer andemployee-facing communities. Though the community managers for these communities areworking with different audiences and toward different goals, they do share some commonmember-facing programming. Standard practices for community engagement include welcomeemails, regular events – both on and offline, content programming and newsletters.Organizations that are able to quantify the value of community management invest more inalmost all types of programming.Two programming elements in particular stand out, due to their almost universal use – contentpromotion and welcome emails. This suggests that if you currently do not use these techniquesthey are well worth considering. Other programming techniques used by those organizationsthat can quantify the value of community management a lot more often than the average are
  14. 14. 14 www.communityroundtable.comwelcome calls or webinars, member profile promotion, newsletters and regular surveys.At The Community Roundtable, welcome emails are one part of the new member programmanaged by Hillary Boucher. She also incorporates virtual events and targeted content to helporient new members in the community.In the SAP Community Network, Gali Kling Schneider leads a new programming initiative toincrease community engagement, expand community membership and provide reliable,accurate data and improved reporting.We advise those building communities to use programming as a way to more quickly andsustainability create member “collisions” that lead to robust relationships and communityloyalty. Community managers are almost always the ones who instigate early programming, butas a community grows, users contribute more frequently and more consistently.Community Management ProcessesWhile external facing programs are the most visible impact, community managers spend most oftheir time behind the scenes – what we have called the Iceberg Effect of CommunityManagement. Many of the processes that community managers use to scale are also becomingmore standardized, like community playbooks, while some others, like measurement, are stillemerging.
  15. 15. 15 www.communityroundtable.comThe Community PlaybookThe community playbook is fast becoming a critical community management tool and in manycases one sign of the maturity of a community program. Community playbooks pull togetherguidelines, best practices,escalation processes andresources for implementingcommunities in anorganization. Almost fiftypercent of organizationssurveyed reported having acommunity playbook, and ofthose organizations thatcould quantify communitymanagement, 67 percent hada community playbook.What’s in a community playbook?Community playbooks can act as comprehensive books for use across an organization,but they can also be as simple as individual checklists to manage community activities.They typically feature:• Online engagement policies• Membership and engagement practices• Rules for posting and organizing content• Moderation policies, procedures and escalation paths• Monitoring and response schedule• Reporting metricsHere are some examples:• Aetna Community Playbook: Key Points• Cisco Communities Playbook• Radian6 Monitoring and Engagement Playbook• The Community Manager’s Conflict Playbook• Yammer Community Management PlaybookDoes your company have a community playbook to share? Email us
  16. 16. 16 www.communityroundtable.comMetrics and ReportingCommunity managers are responsible for measuring and reporting the performance of theircommunities. Before starting this research we looked at the community scorecards of manyorganizations to see what data people are collecting about their communities and how often. Wequickly confirmed that standards in this area are still developing, with no consistent approach.The content of reports can vary due to the maturity of the community. New communities mayrely on “success stories,” and other anecdotal evidence pointing to the community’s value. As acommunity matures, more activities are tracked and reports include more quantitativemeasures. Networked organizations with the most mature communities are able to linkquantitative metrics to behavior change and tangible outcomes.A breakdown of the metrics communities are reporting monthly shows that not surprisingly,organizations that quantify the value of community management are measuring more than thesurvey average and prioritizing metrics that point to meaningful business outcomes, likeCustomer Lifetime Value and Resolution Time.
  17. 17. 17 www.communityroundtable.comIn the video below, James LaCorte speaks to the different pieces of his community report:Community reportingAccording to our research, community reports are likely to include:• Number of members: total, active, and contributing• Total activity• Volume of new content and comments• Influencer identification• Newsletter opens/clicks• Revenue generated• Number of questions asked and resolution timeThe most successful communities prepare reports monthly or weekly.A sampling of community reports also included data on the following:• Frequency of exchanges outside the platform (e.g. calls, webinars, F2Fmeetings)• Whether users are more aware of others and the business outside theimmediate work group• Top category blogged and commented on• Reach of community leaders (reach is calculated by a formula includingfollowers, content and comments)• Leader vs. team activity• Drivers for top communitiesHow does your company measure the success of its online communities? Email us
  18. 18. 18 www.communityroundtable.com4. The Value of Community ManagementSo what is the value of community management?Briefly stated, it’s the ability to create a successful community that is not only generating valueby engaging with existing content, but also proactively contributing to the creation of it.The biggest finding of our research was quantifying just how much active communitymanagement correlates with high levels of engagement. Most community managementprofessionals are familiar with the 90-9-1 rule of online engagement and some communities dotrack very well to that engagement pyramid. But many question this rule because it can beunreliable or an underestimate.What we found in our survey was striking - an average engagement profile of 55-30-15 – wildlydifferent than the common rule of thumb. More surprising, the average of the most engagedcommunities reported more creators than lurkers - at 17-57-26. For best-in-class communitiesthere are more content creators than there are lurkers and while many of those communitieswhere internal communities build for daily collaboration that was not universal of that group.We have often said that the 90-9-1 rule depends on the type of community you are looking at –that profile is more likely to be seen in large public communities with no barrier to membership,in support communities where activity is sporadic and in communities with little management.However, in many instances, the 90-9-1 engagement principle is used a crutch due to lack ofgood data. This research proves that it is not the norm in proactively managed communities.
  19. 19. 19 www.communityroundtable.comThe existence of high levels of engagement is correlated with active community management,but many factors go into engagement levels, including:! Characteristics of community members! Community purpose! Competing sources of information! Technical ease of use! Type of communityHowever, without community management, these factors cannot be understood, manipulated toaccelerate performance or their performance tracked and reported. For us, this research dataconfirms what we know to be true from our work with over 90 community teams – thatcommunity management resources are a critical factor in successful online communities.ConclusionCommunity management is maturing. Not only do we have established patterns and practiceswe now have enough of a common language to start collecting quantitative data. We know andcan report on how it is being practiced – and understand why it is valuable.While no data can cover all use cases and every practice, we hope this research moves thediscipline - and your initiative - forward by providing data that inspires:! Conversations with executive sponsors about budgets, programming initiatives andperformance objectives.! Reevaluation of community management job descriptions.! Conversations between community managers about their priorities, support systems andperformance objectives.
  20. 20. 20 www.communityroundtable.comWhile no research can make criticalbusiness decisions for you, we hope thisresearch inspires and supports importantconversations with your communitystakeholders about how you invest toensure community success, and with itorganizational success.In particular, we hope it helps you and yourteam better understand:! The role of community management! Community management programsand processes! The value of communitymanagementWe invite you to explore these and otherquestions with us, contribute to theresearch and use this data.Contribute1. Take the 2013 State of CommunityManagement survey.2. Record a 90-second video ofyourself (if you’re a communitymanager) or your favorite communitymanager talking about the work andvalue of a community manager.Instructions are here.3. Publicly share examples of yourcommunity playbook, scorecard orother resources that you thinkdemonstrate the value of communitymanagement at your organization.Share1. Share the link to the survey withother community professionals.2. Join existing conversations aboutquestions we had about the data:• What’s the ideal communityengagement profile?• How does community teams’collaboration with otherdepartments affect the successof community programs?• What’s your dark side ofcommunity managementconfession?3. Pose your own questions aboutthe data.4. Join the conversation on Twitter orLinkedIn using the #SOCM2013and #cmgrvalue hashtags.Use1. Find out how your communitycompares to the survey averagesand top performing communities inthe SOCM benchmark tool inAppendix One.2. Summarize this research for yourstakeholders and highlight areasthat make the case for investmentor support.3. Use the data to inform communitydecisions and a roadmap of futureinitiatives.Use this Research
  21. 21. Wondering how your organization’s community program compares to survey averages?Use this scorecard to see where you stack up in the areas of community engagement profiles,community programming and community manager salaries.Note: Salary ranges for organizations that could quantify the value of community managementtended to have larger teams with a bigger range of salaries but lower overall average salaries.Interested in a more comprehensive benchmark analysis for your organization? Contactus at research@communityroundtable.comAppendix One:2013SOCMBenchmark Tool
  22. 22. 22 www.communityroundtable.comAppendix Two:2013SOCM StudyParticipantsParticipants in 2013 State of Community Management research. An additional 50+organizations contributed partial responses.AAA Club PartnersAccentureActifioADTRANAetnaAlcatel-LucentAutomatic Data ProcessingBlue Cross Blue Shield North CarolinaBYUICA TechnologiesCancer Council NSWCbeyondCerner CorporationCommunity Managers SLCritical ConnectionsCSCCXPAEdelman DigitalErnst & YoungFirst AmericanFSGGet SatisfactionHearst Magazines UKHigher LogicInfineonINGInsig DesignJohnson ControlsLivePersonLocal Government AssociationMarketSqrMindCandyNingNorthwestern MutualPDIProtivitiRebtelRiverbed TechnologyRural Sourcing, Inc.SAPSDLSpiceworksSpotifySoundCloudSprinklrTelligentThe Community RoundtableVistaprintWalgreensWorld Vision AustraliaYammer2U
  23. 23. 23 www.communityroundtable.comTheCR Network Research Advisory BoardSpecial thanks to TheCR research advisory board of TheCRNetwork members for their contributions to surveydevelopment, data analysis, research deliverables andoverall energy and dedication to advance the business ofcommunity.Chris Catania I Online Community Manager, WalgreensIt’s Up to You: A Call to Action for Community Managers and Social BusinessLeadersMisti Crawford I Financial Services Digital and Social Marketing Manager, CSCBest attendance at weekly advisory board meetingsJeff Esposito I PR and Social Media Manager, VistaprintGetting to the Meat and Potatoes of Community ManagementTed Hopton I Global Community Manager, UBMJames LaCorte I Online Strategist, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North CarolinaGet Your Community Manager Tool Belt OnFace of Community Management videoJ.J. Lovett I Director of Communities, CAGail Moody-Byrd I Senior Director SAP Community Marketing, SAPSpecial adviser for the community manager video projectMaria Ogneva I Director of Product Marketing, SalesforceThe Dark Side of Community ManagementInvesting in Community: 2013 State of Community ManagementChristian Rubio I Community Director, WorldOne InteractiveMaggie Vining I ZIN Community Communications Specialist, Zumba FitnessLast Call for Community Management ResearchAppendix Three:2013SOCM ResearchAdvisory Board
  24. 24. 24 www.communityroundtable.comThe Community Maturity ModelThe Community Roundtable developed the CommunityMaturity Model (CMM) to help organizations understand, planfor and assess the performance of community and socialbusiness initiatives. Our clients use it both as a communitymanagement checklist and as an organizational road map. AtTheCR, we use it to organize our research and services soour clients can easily connect the dots and use our research in their strategic planning.The CMM articulates two concepts required to advance the business of community. First,it defines the eight competencies we believe are required to build successful businesscommunities. Second, it articulates how these competencies progress from hierarchicalorganizations to those that have embraced a networked approach to their businessFirst published in 2009, the CMM is widely used to:! Evaluate and assess an organization’s social and community performance! Understand the expertise and skill sets required for successful community development! Develop a road map to advance community initiatives! Educate and manage expectations of executives, advocates and colleaguesAppendix Four:The CommunityMaturity Model(CMM)
  25. 25. 25 www.communityroundtable.comThe Community Roundtable is dedicated toadvancing the business of community. We offerinformation, education, and professionaldevelopment services for community and socialbusiness leadersincluding:TheCR Network - Ourannual membership-based peer network ofcommunity and socialbusiness leaders. Werun strategic, tactical,and professionaldevelopmentprograms, curatecontent andinteractions in aprivate onlinecommunity.Members represent organizations big and small –from Fortune 500 organizations like SAP, Aetna,CSC, AT&T, CA, Google, Verizon Wireless, Ernst &Young, Hitachi Data Systems and Fidelity to smallerorganizations like EDR, the American SpeechLanguage Hearing Association, Harvard PilgrimHealthcare, CFA Institute, GHY International andConstant Contact. Members are typically socialbusiness owners, social strategists or communitymanagers.Find out about membership in TheCR Network hereCommunity ManagementTraining - We partnered withWOMMA and ComBlu to puttogether a practitioner-ledCommunity ManagementCertificate Program.Community management isboth an art and science. Whilethe roles in communitymanagement are growing andevolving rapidly there areestablished best practicesemerging. This online trainingprogram sets industrystandards for CommunityManagers and CommunityStrategists.TheCR Advisory - Ouradvisory services andworkshops, custom designedfor your organizations specificchallenges and goals. Weprovide feedback onstrategies, priorities and plansbased on our own experiencemanaging online communitiesand our experience workingwith a wide variety ofcompanies on their socialmedia and communityinitiatives.Connect with TheCRTwitterLinkedInG+FacebookDedicated toadvancing thebusiness ofcommunityAbout The Community Roundtable