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Community
Superheroes
From
Community
Management Handbook
The
20 LESSONS
With support from
THE COMMUNITY MANAGER HANDBOOK would not be possible without the cooperation of the community
manager superheroes who are ...
A Letter from Rachel Happe and Jim Storer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...
2 The Community Management Handbook
They’re your members, your customers, your
enthusiasts. They’re the people who care th...
The Community Roundtable 3
The idea for a Community Manager Handbook initially came out of a conversation with Bill Johnst...
This handbook would not be possible without the contributions of the 21 community superheroes who told us their
community ...
Hillary Boucher
Community Manager, The Community Roundtable
SUPERHERO NAME: The Chameleon SUPERPOWER: Adapting to her surr...
6 The Community Management Handbook
How to use this
HANDBOOK
The Community Manager Handbook: 20 Lessons from Community
Sup...
Community is a word with many definitions, some place-based, others people-based.
At The Community Roundtable, we define c...
8 The Community Management Handbook
We developed the Community Maturity Model (CMM) to help organizations understand, plan...
In relationships, the maturity process moves a community from limited experimentation with social tools and isolated
relat...
Ok, we know you matter—now what do you do?
We define community management as the discipline of ensuring productive communi...
The Community Roundtable 11
Being a community manager can feel like the renowned poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, which beg...
12 The Community Management Handbook 2014
The shape of your community will depend entirely
on what success looks like for ...
The Community Roundtable 13
In early 2014, it became evident that
Autodesk’s Fusion 360 customer
engagement strategy neede...
14 The Community Management Handbook
Getting under the hood to really understand the
different types of members your commu...
The Community Roundtable 15
When Eileen Foran arrived as Senior
Online Community Manager at Lime-
light Networks, she got ...
Click here to download the full Handbook
at communityroundtable.com/CMHandbookDownload
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Community Manager Handbook - by The Community Roundtable

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The Community Manager Handbook: 20 Lessons from Community Superheroes combines research findings and advice from The Community Roundtable with short case studies and tips from some of the smartest community professionals in the space, for community managers looking to start, build and grow their communities.

The subjects of the case studies are all current or recent members of TheCR Network, our community for community professionals.

Among the case studies:

Architecting the Community that Meets Your Needs, Bill Johnston, Autodesk

Understanding Your Member Needs, Eileen Foran, Limelight Networks

Shared Value and Shared Purpose, Jerry Green, H&R Block

The Benefits of Starting Small, Rachel Happe and Jim Storer, The Community Roundtable

Creating an Action Plan, Patrick Hellen, CloudLock

Selecting A Platform, Maria Ogneva, Sidecar Technologies

The Early Stages of a New Community, Lesley Lykins, Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA)

Building Stakeholder Support and Involvement, Kirsten Laaspere, Fidelity Investments

Building Enabling Policies, Guidelines and Governance, Lauren Vargas, Aetna

The Role of Moderation, Mike Pascucci, Autodesk

Enforcement and Crisis Management, Christian Rubio, SERMO

The Power of Community Programs, Hillary Boucher, The Community Roundtable

The Value of Scorecards, James LaCorte, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina

Assessing Your Community, Ted Hopton, McGraw-Hill Education

Creating a Playbook, Charissa Carnall, Western Union

The Power of Advocacy Programs, Matt Brown, Salesforce

Gamification for Engagement, Tracy Maurer, UBM

Sowing Community Across the Organization, J.J. Lovett, CA Technologies

Measuring What Matters, Jeff Ross, Humana

Benchmarking and Assessment Frameworks, Alex Blanton, Microsoft

For more information and research, or to learn more about joining TheCR Network, visit The Community Roundtable at communityroundtable.com

Published in: Business

Community Manager Handbook - by The Community Roundtable

  1. 1. Community Superheroes From Community Management Handbook The 20 LESSONS With support from
  2. 2. THE COMMUNITY MANAGER HANDBOOK would not be possible without the cooperation of the community manager superheroes who are part of TheCR Network, our network for community professionals. Together with them we are working to advance the business of community, through demonstrating the value of community and community management. They come from organizations large and small, in various stages of their community journey. The Community Roundtable was established in 2009 as a professional development network for community, social media and social business professionals, providing an extensive array of training, tools, research and advisory services to members and enterprise customers both in and outside of the U.S. TheCR Network gives members access to exclusive connections, events, training and resources, as well as immediate support from TheCR and 200 peers in community and social business roles. TheCR’s Community Maturity Model has been adopted by customers worldwide as a framework to start, build and grow communities, and the annual State of Community Management provides in-depth analysis of the growth and maturation of community management. To learn more about The Community Roundtable and TheCR Network, visit communityroundtable.com. Higher Logic is an industry leader in cloud-based community platforms, with over 25 million engaged members in more than 200,000 communities. Organizations worldwide use Higher Logic to bring like-minded people all together, by giving their community a home where they can meet, share ideas, answer questions and stay energized. Higher Logic aims to empower relationship building and foster community evolution, which we believe are the fundamental elements to the long-term relevance of any organization. There’s no denying the power of community—by fostering its growth, you can open up a world of possibility. Tap into the power your community can generate for you. Learn more at higherlogic.com. Design by: Flatfive Design, www.flat5design.com
  3. 3. A Letter from Rachel Happe and Jim Storer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Meet the Superheroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 How to Use this Handbook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Defining Community and Community Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Community Maturity Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Community Manager Difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Human Side of Community Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Start Architecting the Community that Meets Your Needs, Bill Johnston, Autodesk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Understanding Your Members' Needs, Eileen Foran, Limelight Networks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Shared Purpose and Shared Value, Jerry Green, H&R Block . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 The Benefits of Starting Small, Rachel Happe and Jim Storer, The Community Roundtable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Creating an Action Plan, Patrick Hellen, CloudLock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Selecting a Platform, Maria Ogneva, Sidecar Technologies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Early Stages of a New Community, Lesley Lykins, Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Build Building Stakeholder Support and Involvement, Kirsten Laaspere, Fidelity Investments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Building Enabling Policies, Guidelines and Governance, Lauren Vargas, Aetna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 The Role of Moderation, Mike Pascucci, Autodesk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Enforcement and Crisis Management, Christian Rubio, SERMO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 The Power of Community Programs, Hillary Boucher, The Community Roundtable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 The Value of Scorecards, James LaCorte, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Assessing Your Community, Ted Hopton, McGraw-Hill Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Grow Creating a Playbook, Charissa Carnall, Western Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 The Power of Advocacy Programs, Matt Brown, Salesforce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Gamification for Engagement, Tracy Maurer, UBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Sowing Community Across the Organization, J.J. Lovett, CA Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Measuring What Matters, Jeff Ross, Humana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Benchmarking and Assessing Frameworks, Alex Blanton, Microsoft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Resources and Research from The Community Roundtable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Table of CONTENTS The Community Roundtable 1
  4. 4. 2 The Community Management Handbook They’re your members, your customers, your enthusiasts. They’re the people who care that you exist and are passionate about it—they’re the ones who want to know more and be more connected. By giving them a home where they can meet, share ideas, answer questions and stay energized, you’re empowering them to be part of your success. There’s no denying the power of community, by fostering its growth, you open up a world of possibility. COMMUNITY Bring your people and their ideas together in a dynamic online community: WWW.HIGHERLOGIC.COM YOUR IS OUT THERE
  5. 5. The Community Roundtable 3 The idea for a Community Manager Handbook initially came out of a conversation with Bill Johnston, longtime friend and member of The Community Roundtable and one of the most experienced people in the community management space. While there is now a lot of research, content and discussion around the discipline of community management, there are few resources that help someone new to community management wade in and get a sense of it. The Community Roundtable was established to help document, research and define what it means to be a professional community manager. Over the last six years we have collaborated and learned together with hundreds of community management professionals in TheCR Network. We distill what we learn into research and content like this handbook. Our hope is that The Community Manager Handbook will be an introduction to the many areas of focus within community management and to the perspective of some of the leaders in the space – people we consider to be superheroes. The Community Manager Handbook is designed as a reference resource – helping address questions, issues and opportunities, as they tend to appear in the lifecycle of a community. Because communities are complex and ever changing, there are no simple “5 Things You Can Do Today to Drive Engagement” lists. Instead, you will find strategic ideas and commentary, research and case studies that give you insight into how experienced community professionals approach a variety of issues in the lifecycle of a community. We call them “Superheroes” because that’s what they are. We aren’t saying they are the 20 “best” community managers or 20 “most successful” ones. But talk with any of them or any number of other community managers in and outside TheCR Network, as we have the honor to do every day, and you quickly recognize that to be a successful community manager, you do have to have some superpowers – of patience, perception, balance, listening, connecting, relationship building and more. This handbook would not be possible without the years of experience and hard won success of the community professionals with whom we work – we encourage you to reach out, connect with and thank them for their insights. It’s been our privilege to collaborate and support them and we hope you find their expertise as valuable as we do. Rachel Happe Jim Storer A Letter from TheCR FOUNDERS
  6. 6. This handbook would not be possible without the contributions of the 21 community superheroes who told us their community stories. As part of the conversation, we asked each of them, “What is your community management superpower?” and used their answer to give them each an appropriate superhero name. There are interesting common traits among the superheroes—even those from very different backgrounds. Connecting. Listening. Finding common ground. Using humor. Seeing the big picture. These are all traits that talented community managers use—and they play key roles in their ability to start, build and grow successful communities. Bill Johnston Director of Online Community and Customer Experience, Autodesk SUPERHERO NAME: The Seer SUPERPOWER: Ability to look holistically at community Jerry Green Enterprise Community Strategist, H&R Block SUPERHERO NAME: The Senser SUPERPOWER: Empathy Patrick Hellen Community Manager, CloudLock SUPERHERO NAME: The Profiler SUPERPOWER: Ability to read people Lesley Lykins Director of Member Engagement, Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) SUPERHERO NAME: The Weaver SUPERPOWER: Communication Eileen Foran Senior Online Community Manager, Limelight Networks SUPERHERO NAME: The Defuser SUPERPOWER: Humor Jim Storer and Rachel Happe, Co-Founders, The Community Roundtable SUPERHERO NAMES: Jim: The Linkmaster Rachel: The Trendspotter SUPERPOWERS: Jim: Connecting people Rachel: Spotting trends and pattern Maria Ogneva Head of Community, Sidecar Technologies SUPERHERO NAME: The Raconteur SUPERPOWER: Humor Kirsten Laaspere Community Manager, Fidelity Investments SUPERHERO NAME: The Networker SUPERPOWER: Adaptive Communications Lauren Vargas Head of Social Media and Community, Aetna SUPERHERO NAME: The Windmill Tilter SUPERPOWER: Leaning into fear Meet the SUPERHEROES 4 The Community Management Handbook
  7. 7. Hillary Boucher Community Manager, The Community Roundtable SUPERHERO NAME: The Chameleon SUPERPOWER: Adapting to her surroundings Mike Pascucci Manager, Social Media and Community, Autodesk SUPERHERO NAME: The Wirewalker SUPERPOWER: Balance Ted Hopton Director of Social Business, McGraw-Hill Education SUPERHERO NAME: The Examiner SUPERPOWER: Optimistic patience Matt Brown Advocacy Program Manager, Salesforce SUPERHERO NAME: The Empowerer SUPERPOWER: Friendliness J.J. Lovett Director, Online Communities, CA Technologies SUPERHERO NAME: The Bulldog SUPERPOWER: Persistence James LaCorte Social Media Manager, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina SUPERHERO NAME: The Watcher SUPERPOWER: Observation Christian Rubio Community Director, SERMO WorldOne SUPERHERO NAME: The Triangulator SUPERPOWER: Finding common interests Charissa Carnall Global Community Manager, Western Union SUPERHERO NAME: The Connector SUPERPOWER: Relating to people Tracy Maurer Collaboration Systems Manager, UBM SUPERHERO NAME: The Troubleshooter SUPERPOWER: Finding and diagnosing problems Jeff Ross Community Manager, Humana SUPERHERO NAME: The Zen Master SUPERPOWER: Calm at all times Alex Blanton Senior Program Manager, Microsoft SUPERHERO NAME: The Matchmaker SUPERPOWER: Matchmaking The Community Roundtable 5
  8. 8. 6 The Community Management Handbook How to use this HANDBOOK The Community Manager Handbook: 20 Lessons from Community Superheroes is designed to be a fun and thoughtful approach exploring the issues community managers face as they try to start, build and grow communities. This book won’t answer all your questions, but in the 20 lessons from TheCR team, our research and our members, we hope you will find ideas that guide you toward solutions for your particular community. Each “lesson” features a writeup from The Community Roundtable on the topic at hand, and a profile that explores how one community manager tackled the issue. Defining the Role Before we get into the “20 Lessons”, what do we mean when we talk about community? First, we’ll define community and explore the Community Maturity Model and its use as a template for the community journey. Then, we explore the role of the community manager, and how it fits into larger organizational culture. Lastly, we will look at some personal pieces of being a community manager in 2015. The cases that make up the bulk of this Handbook are broken into three sections corresponding to the times when community managers are most likely to find the situation in their community journey. Start: Getting a community off the ground begins long before you hit ‘submit’ on that first post. In some cases, you are the chosen one, empowered to take a community from concept to reality. In others, you are inheriting someone else’s decisions, and now must either take that vision to reality or skillfully recast it into something that will work. While every organization’s journey toward a community approach looks different, at this stage companies typically are using social or community platforms with little coordination across functional groups and business units. There is also often no formal owner or role to manage the success of communities—until a community manager is hired— and a cohesive approach has yet to be developed. This section lays out some common challenges you might face in conceptualizing and beginning a community, from a strategic point of view. Build: As community initiatives mature, organizations start to bring more structure to their efforts and extend them to include community management, leadership and cultural initiatives. But with the expansion of community efforts, community managers face a new set of strategic challenges moving forward that require business integration and management objectives on top of community engagement tasks. Grow: As communities grow and succeed, community managers move beyond the basic need to prove the community has value. In the Grow phase a community often requires community managers to re-evaluate strategic, infrastructure and management approaches, develop new metrics and create programming that can be adapted to meet the needs of both new and longtime members of a mature community. Throughout the handbook, you will find mentions of additional resources and information from The Community Roundtable. Of course, one of the biggest resources TheCR has to offer is membership in TheCR Network. All of the community professionals interviewed here are current or recent members of the Network, who have the opportunity to tap into each other’s expertise, participate in programming and access research and support services. Start Grow Build
  9. 9. Community is a word with many definitions, some place-based, others people-based. At The Community Roundtable, we define community as: com·mu·ni·ty (n.): A community is a group of people with shared values, behaviors and artifacts. The three shared elements mentioned in that definition all matter. Remove any one of them and the glue of community comes apart. A community manager is charged with ensuring that the values, behaviors and artifacts of a specific community are shared in a way that provides benefit both to the members of the community and to the community’s sponsoring organization. Community requires investment, from the members, the manager and the organizing entity. So why take a community approach, in the first place? Because communities are the most effective way we know of getting members to adopt sustainable new behaviors. That’s not quite as Big Brother-ish as it sounds. Part of what makes community behavior sustainable is that it is not imposed on the community members, but rather developed in cooperation with them. Indeed, a strong shared purpose is perhaps the most critical element of successful communities. Successful communities drive results. When they come together, communities can: • Speed information transfer • Develop shared ownership • Collaborate on and build shared value How effectively communities are able to do those things – how well they are able to articulate, adopt and sustain behavioral changes – depends on how well they are managed. The Community Roundtable developed a matrix, the Community Maturity Model, that defines community management practices and how they tend to mature over time. This model is a helpful resource in educating stakeholders about the scope of community management, for planning community roadmaps, for assessing areas of strength and weakness and for benchmarking management performance against other communities. “Why do we need a community manager, anyway?” Q: What is the difference between a leaderless, self-perpetuating community, a unicorn and the Loch Ness Monster? A: One is a myth, and the other two might be animals. There are some that suggest that with the right tools and inspiration, we can launch successful communities without someone to lead them. However, we now know from research that most communities need managers, and that dedicated community managers have a fundamental impact on the quality and success of communities. This is particularly true in organizational contexts where communities have a specific business purpose. Our State of Community Management 2014 research found that dedicated community managers make a huge difference in engagement, maturity and ability to measure value. & Community Management DEFINING COMMUNITY The Community Roundtable 7
  10. 10. 8 The Community Management Handbook We developed the Community Maturity Model (CMM) to help organizations understand, plan for and assess the performance of community and social business initiatives. Our clients use it as a community management checklist, as a planning tool, and to assess their progress. At TheCR, we use it to organize our research, our curated content and our training services so that our clients can easily connect the dots and use our work in their strategic planning. The Community Maturity Model articulates two concepts required to advance the business of community. First, it defines the eight competencies we believe are required to build successful business communities. Second, it articulates how these competencies progress from hierarchical organizations to those that have embraced a networked approach to their business. First published in 2009, the CMM is widely used today by TheCR Network members and others to: • Evaluate and assess their organization’s social and community efforts through gap analysis • Understand the expertise and skill sets required for successful community development • Develop a roadmap to advance community efforts in their organization • Educate and manage expectations of executives, advocates and colleagues • Create training for those tasked with working on social strategy and community management Let’s talk a little more about the competencies and maturity levels. Maturity levels look at how information is shared and relationships develop within a community. While maturity is a continuum, rather than specific milestones, certain behaviors emerge as established patterns in particular stages. In information sharing, this maturity moves from one-to-many, unidirectional information sharing to many-to-many, networked sharing. The Community Maturity MODEL
  11. 11. In relationships, the maturity process moves a community from limited experimentation with social tools and isolated relationships, to one where a community integrates and exposes relationship between employee, partner, customer and even competitor constituencies. But just as is true for people, maturity is not a linear path, and organizations are usually at different levels in different competencies—a reflection of the strengths, weaknesses, priorities and strategies at play in a maturing organization. We highlight eight competencies in the Community Maturity Model: Strategy: The strategy competency tracks the way business goals and community goals align. A community strategy balances the business need to drive revenue or cost savings with the needs of community members, the need to see short term wins with the required investment to sustain deep and lasting community engagement as well as balancing the purpose of the community with the direction members may want to take it. Leadership: Social initiatives flatten the communications hierarchy between executives, employees, customers, and the public. The leadership competency includes executive sponsorship and participation in a community program as well as emergent community leadership throughout the community and ecosystem. Culture: The culture competency addresses habits, intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, unspoken social norms, communication habits, decision-making processes, development processes and learning approaches in an organization and/or a community. Organizations that can acknowledge and prepare for cultural challenges and change will be better able to navigate and reduce risks along the journey to build their community program. Community Management: At a high level, community management is the discipline of ensuring productive communities—effectively making progress on business goals without telling people explicitly what to do. It includes a variety of responsibilities, and depending on the purpose, size, and strategic importance of the community initiative, one or more people can share these responsibilities. Often when an organization starts a community program, community management is not a defined, staffed role. As communities mature, organizations define the need for community management and its impact on business outcomes. They will formally assign responsibilities—including moderating, developing content and programming, administering the technology, encouraging member engagement, and evangelizing the effort internally—to individuals, a team or an external firm. Content and Programming: The content and programming competency examines the resources and interactions a community offers to its members. Content and programs are often the first way members engage with a community. Content strategy can have a significant impact on the cadence of a community, the level of member activity and the ratio of what is published by you, versus what is published by your members. Content strategy is likely to evolve as a community matures and begins to generate more content through member contribution. Policies and Governance: Policies and governance address the regulatory, IP, and organizational constraints for how organizations use social technologies and how community initiatives are organized and funded. Tools: The tools competency considers the technical and work architecture of an organization and how social technologies and tools fit into it. Tools can be anything that provides efficiencies or leverage. Tools require investment both for the tool itself and for the training, behavior change and changes to the environment needed to use the tool effectively. Metrics and Measurement: The measurement of community initiatives helps organizations understand why they are taking social approaches and what results they are seeing when they do. As a community program matures, the measurement process does too—typically from activity metrics to more performance—and behavior-based metrics. Over the past five years, through thousands of hours of research and writing, we have been able to develop a reliable set of artifacts that help us measure community maturity across all eight CMM competencies. Communities mature in different ways, and at different rates. But we continue to see the connection between communities that are more mature and communities that are better able to deliver ROI and sustainable behavior change. The Community Roundtable 9
  12. 12. Ok, we know you matter—now what do you do? We define community management as the discipline of ensuring productive communities. What that looks like in practice varies from community to community but at a high level, community managers are responsible for ensuring an approach to each of the eight competencies in the Community Maturity Model: • Strategy • Leadership • Culture • Community Management It's critically important, but much of community management is invisible to the community. We talk about the ‘iceberg effect’ of community management; the work you do that’s visible to the community is supported by a vast body of work beneath the surface, the planning and coordination done behind the scenes. Without these important tasks as a base, the rest of the iceberg would topple over, sink or melt (choose your own analogy— you get the point). We hear it over and over again—more than 50% of a community manager’s time is spent educating and working with internal stakeholders. While community managers perform a number of common tasks, there is no single definition of "what a community manager does." Communities—and thus, their managers—play different roles depending on the organization, the focus of the community, its size, whether it’s internal or external and how strategic is it to the organization. In 2014, The Community Roundtable launched the Community Manager Salary Survey research to bring greater clarity to the expectations and roles of community managers in organizations of all types. We looked at community management roles through the lens of four primary skill and responsibility families: • Engagement & People Skills • Content Development Skills • Business & Strategic Skills • Technical Skills Within those skills families there are dozens of specific and unique skills that individuals bring to the table and that different roles prioritize in different ways. Some of the variables that change the skills and responsibility profile of a specific role include: • Community goals and use case • Size and industry of the organization • Strategic importance of the community • Maturity of the community • Size of the community • Expertise of individuals in community management roles • Organizational understanding of communities and community management One thing for community managers to keep in mind is that they likely know more about commu- nity and community management than anyone else in the organization. Community managers need to constantly educate and set expectations for stakeholders—from the first day they are charged with a community role. This sort of managing up is not easy. Stakeholders will have their own opinions and ideas. However, it's critical that community managers come into each day prepared to educate, reset expectations and provide information and data to help all levels of an organization understand community and its value. The Community Manager DIFFERENCE • Content & Programming • Policies & Governance • Tools • Metrics & Measurement 10 The Community Management Handbook
  13. 13. The Community Roundtable 11 Being a community manager can feel like the renowned poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, which begins: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too… It can be rewarding—but it can be lonely. It can be invigorating, but it can be consuming. Before we jump into how to start, build and grow communities— there is one key piece of any community that needs nurturing. You. Community managers are by their very nature passionate, dedicated people, but you need to be able to find ways to keep your work as a community manager from overwhelming you. In 2013, Maria Ogneva, a member of TheCR Network who now heads up community at the ridesharing startup Sidecar, helped us assemble perspectives from other network members on what she called “The Dark Side of Community Management.” The purpose was to remind the remarkably driven, passionate group of community managers that burnout is a real but avoidable risk. The presentation boiled it down to what could be seen as seven dangers for community managers. • We let our passion consume us. Don’t. • We internalize. Don’t. • We are problem solvers. Give people space. • We keep trying to scale ourselves. Stop trying to scale people, and scale systems. • We are change agents. Drop the savior complex. • We celebrate others. Toot your own horn. • This can be a lonely job. Develop a support system. Experienced community managers can no doubt think of times where they fell into each of these traps. That's no vice— they are human nature for people with passion, dedication, a desire to solve problems, and a willingness to take on challenges and change the world. But it’s important that you as an individual community manager and we as the group of community professionals recognize the traps and together pull ourselves out of them. How? • Disconnect. Don’t let passion become obsession. • Reach out – find support from across your organization and let it go. • Empower others to provide answers. • Design communities that can self-sustain, and think about scaling from the beginning. • Understand what you can influence, and what you can’t change. • Celebrate your own successes – and recognize that by ensuring your success is visible you are strengthening your own opportunity for resources and support. • Work out loud. Find allies. Recognize that you are neither alone in your struggles nor unsupported in your quest for success. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s not. But it is possible. And really, it's not asking for anything that different from the atmosphere we are trying to create in our communities themselves—we want them to be transparent, supportive, safe, collaborative, empowering spaces for our members. The Community Roundtable is founded on the idea that those who run communities need a place where they can learn from and connect with others doing the same thing. It’s a belief shared by other professional organizations out there. Our offerings may be different, but our basic goals are the same—to provide a community of support for those who help communities thrive. of Community Management THE HUMAN SIDE
  14. 14. 12 The Community Management Handbook 2014 The shape of your community will depend entirely on what success looks like for the goals you have, the complexity of those goals and where potential members are comfortable engaging. Generally speaking, the less complex the outcome (information sharing, discovery, awareness) the larger and more diverse your community can and should be— suggesting that the shape of the network is loose, only lightly connected and may cross channels and platforms. If, on the other hand, you are solving complex technical issues or negotiating business terms you will need a much smaller community that is highly interconnected and includes a high level of trust and confidence, which means it is very likely private and exclusive with no explicit links connecting it to a wider network. Understanding what kind of community and ecosystem structure best fits your needs will help you define an effective community management approach. The more trust you need to execute on your goals, the better the relationship between participants will need to be. By now, countless organizations have learned the painful lesson: “If you build it, they will come,” only works in the movies. But there’s a related lesson that is a core tenet of community management. How you build it—the shape of the community you create—drives whether the community meets your goals. ARCHITECTING the Community that Meets Your Needs The factors that will help you figure out what kind of network structure you need for your community are: ◆ Complexity of desired outcome ◆ Profile of your audience; how open or private they are and how they communicate about similar topics already ◆ Profile of your organization; how open or private and how it communicates about similar topics already ◆ How much trust needs to exist, and therefore how much relationship density needs to exist within the community ◆ The level of existing relationships within the target community – a community likely exists in some form already. How does it connect? ◆ How the problem the community is set up to solve gets solved today Start > Build > Grow Business goals determine ideal size for a community
  15. 15. The Community Roundtable 13 In early 2014, it became evident that Autodesk’s Fusion 360 customer engagement strategy needed a reboot. Rather than build a community for a new generation of product designers, Bill Johnston saw an opportunity to co-develop a community with designers —one that respected their desire for features, their work styles, the way they use design tools, etc., while capitalizing on the unique features and resources Autodesk could offer. Bill sought out where pockets of conversation were already happening and identified key interests and needs. Those interests shaped programming, content and community manage- ment, in concert with the evolution of community features to meet business goals. The platform also needed to support the community’s desire for ideation sessions to shape the product roadmap and sharing designs and projects. Lastly, Bill and team needed to find the right people, who could engage authentically in this style of community. The community continues to evolve. “Without regular check-ins with the people who are the most passionate you miss opportunities to refine the community experience or the ability to react to changes in member needs or interests” Bill notes, “and if you aren’t connecting with sponsors, you won’t have sustainable support.” the Seer PEARL OF WISDOM “Communities are networks of relationships - manage accordingly.” DIRECTOR OF ONLINE COMMUNITY & CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, Autodesk “I have been astounded at the rate in which institutional decay happens—decay of knowledge, commitment to and understanding of community strategy. If the host organization doesn’t commit and stay engaged and present mentally, it falls apart.” Communities Can Be Fragile Programs: Editorial planning and programming, activities and events, day to day presence on the community and moderation provide the core of the community experience Platforms: Platforms need to be designed to effectively deliver a community experience that satisfies customer needs and business objectives People: You need people who can connect with the community in an authentic way that meets the style and tone of the community. PROGRAMS, PLATFORMS & PEOPLE
  16. 16. 14 The Community Management Handbook Getting under the hood to really understand the different types of members your community might have also has other benefits: • The better you understand members, the more compelling your community strategy will be. • Mapping out the various community segments that have influence over your community’s purpose allows you to target multiple member segments, which is typically required to catalyze engagement. • Understanding different member needs, motivations and contributions will help you plan a programming approach that generates value. The first step is to map out your target members’ ecosystem. Identify not only your primary target member but those segments of individuals that influence them. If it’s a broad consumer community that may be friends, family, broadcast media, and social media. If it’s a niche B2B community, those segments may be specific peer groups or niche media publications and thought leaders. From there, it’s helpful to identify which of those segments have the most influence over your target members. Think about how to incorporate those segments into your community as well, even if they participate in smaller numbers or as thought leaders. Next, identify the attributes that will make your target members more or less likely to engage. We have found some common attributes drive people’s motivation. They include: • Need to learn • Other sources of competing information • Level of technical literacy • Level of online social comfort • Amount of free time • The peer and cultural context • Their level of aspiration to change/learn The key here is in watching and listening, drawing out the ecosystem in which your community sits and understanding the often hidden levers that either encourage or create barriers to engagement. It’s not very likely that you can create a community that fits the entire ecosystem perfectly—so prioritize two or three segments that might make the strongest targets and for which you can define a compelling shared purpose. Start there. Understanding your potential members—who they are, what inspires them, what they aspire to and how they learn—is critical to understanding the value a community can offer and how to deliver that value. UNDERSTANDING Membersˇ Needs your Start > Build > Grow The Community Ecosystem A community needs various kinds of members in order to catalyze action.
  17. 17. The Community Roundtable 15 When Eileen Foran arrived as Senior Online Community Manager at Lime- light Networks, she got to start from scratch. To meet the business goal of creating ‘customers for life’, she need- ed to identify the community need— and the value a community approach could bring to the organization. She did that by asking potential members open-ended questions, and listening for insights and trends. “I talked to and interviewed as many potential internal and external participants as possible to find the ‛WIIFM’ (What’s In It For Me) factor even before I began building the community,” Eileen says. “I needed to find out what was needed for people to change their existing habits and make the community a go-to place.” Eileen let common themes and obstacles emerge from the interviews, themes she shared with organizational leaders—and then created a survey to get the need captured in a more encapsulated form. “I learned some- thing every single time I talked to anybody,” she adds. That high-touch approach helped translate the community need into a more collaborative tone throughout. As a result, traditional silos in the organization are breaking down—and improving the customer experience. the Defuser PEARL OF WISDOM “Make sure you have sustained executive sponsorship and ideally it comes from more than one organization in the company.” If I had to do it over again, “I’d focus even more on a sustained level of relationship building—greater engagement, willingness to tackle difficult issues, and so on won’t happen unless a strong, positive trusting relationship is maintained.” How much internal education was required to generate support and interest. BIGGEST SURPRISE Strategy for learning community need Interview: Open-ended discussion provides valuable insights Collect: Get input from all levels, angles Find themes: Examine what you have heard, surface common themes, issues, opportunities Share data: Sharing what you learn shapes community, provides insight on organizational issues Survey: Survey confirms findings, summarizes need SENIOR ONLINE COMMUNITY MANAGER, Limelight Networks
  18. 18. Click here to download the full Handbook at communityroundtable.com/CMHandbookDownload

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