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The State of
Community Management2015
Harvesting the Rewards of Community
With support from:
2 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
The Community Roundtable was established in 2009 as a professional development network
for comm...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 3
Table of Contents
About the State of
Community Management
2015 Research
Community
Manageme...
4 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
They’re your members, your customers, your
enthusiasts. They’re the people who care that
you ex...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 5
About the State of Community
Management 2015 Research
Welcome to the State of Community Ma...
6 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
THE COMMUNITY MATURITY MODEL
The Community Roundtable’s State of Community Management research ...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 7
The Community Roundtable’s research aims to provide immediate value to community
practitio...
8 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
The Community Maturity Model helps community professionals assess the maturity of a
community i...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 9
STAGE 3: COMMUNITY
In Stage 3, the community program is well-established and generating va...
10 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
Community Management in 2015
On the curve of tech-
nology adoption, on-
line communities have
...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 11
Rachel Happe, Principal
It’s an exciting time to be in the community business – it’s enab...
12 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
Research Methodology
and Demographics
Methodology
The data published in this report was collec...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 13
Who are the 2015 SOCM communities? Communities surveyed for the State of Community
Manage...
14 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
This research scored each responding community in the four stages of the Community
Maturity Mo...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 15
Community programs have come a long way in a few short years. 51% of community programs
h...
16 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
2015Research Findings:
The State of Community Management
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 17
Key Findings
As community management matures, we have developed a more sophisticated unde...
18 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
2.	 Ensuring adequate community staff so that strategic planning and growth can be ad-
dressed...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 19
Tactics: Quick Wins Exist to Improve Engagement
As the research looked more closely at th...
20 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
Research Findings by Competency
The Community Maturity Model’s eight competencies are building...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 21
As we present these findings, we will refer frequently to “stages” of maturity.
The Commu...
22 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
Strategy
Not long ago, community strategy was often an af-
terthought, and the prevailing pers...
STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 23
65%
24%
100%
58%
Approved Strategy
Resourced Roadmap
Approved Strategy
Resourced Roadmap
...
Learn more about the State of Community
Management 2015
Download the complete 2015 report from The Community Roundtable.
T...
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The State of Community Management 2015

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The Community Roundtable is pleased to release The State of Community Management 2015! The sixth edition of the annual report series provides a snapshot of the progress and changes in community management approaches and highlights emerging standards. This year, TheCR analyzed data from more than 200 communities representing a broad range of community sizes and sectors to measure community maturity and its relationship to member engagement and community value.

The key findings of the 2015 SOCM are:

*Strategy: Invest in people and systems, not just platforms
*Operations: Advocacy programs are more than just a checkbox
*Tactics: Quick wins exist to improve engagement

This Executive Summary captures the key findings of the research, along with demographics, perspective and analysis of the state of community strategy in 2015. The full report (available at http://www.communityroundtable.com/socm2015), goes into detail on data findings across eight competencies of the Community Maturity Model, including strategy, leadership, culture, community management, content and programming, policies and governance, tools, and metrics and measurement.

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The State of Community Management 2015

  1. 1. The State of Community Management2015 Harvesting the Rewards of Community With support from:
  2. 2. 2 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE 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 resourc- es, 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 Manage- ment provides in-depth analysis of the growth and maturation of community management. Learn more about The Community Roundtable and TheCR Network at communityroundtable.com. Sponsors: 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. Salesforce Community Cloud takes companies beyond traditional CRM and reimagines cus- tomer, partner, and employee engagement. Our community cloud solution provides a single platform to easily build branded, fully functional online communities with the content, col- laboration, and business process capabilities you need for improving business performance. Based on Salesforce1, Community Cloud is fully integrated with the Salesforce platform, and can be integrated with third-party applications and databases using the Salesforce Connect API. Now businesses worldwide use Community Cloud to connect more deeply with custom- ers, create a rich self-service experience, accelerate channel sales, and transform the work- place with more engaged and productive employees. Learn more at salesforce.com/communities.
  3. 3. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 3 Table of Contents About the State of Community Management 2015 Research Community Management in 2015 Research Methodology and Demographics Key Findings Research Findings by Competency 22.........Strategy 24.........Leadership 26.........Culture 28.........Community Management 30.........Content & Programming 32.........Policies & Governance 34.........Tools 36.........Metrics & Measurement 38.........Data Dilemmas SOCM2015 Scorecard The Future of Communities About The Community Roundtable 5 10 45 40 12 46 17 20
  4. 4. 4 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE 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. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 5 About the State of Community Management 2015 Research Welcome to the State of Community Management 2015! Over the years this research has documented and organized the practice of com- munity management and provided actionable, proven guidance for community professionals worldwide. We are proud of the dialogue this research has triggered and of its contribution to the discipline. When we first published this research in 2010, community management was seen predominantly as an art – difficult to define, learned through experience and prac- ticed in niche areas of the economy. Each year since, we have been able to trans- form the implicit knowledge locked in the heads of community professionals into more explicit knowledge – culminating in our ability last year to quantify the major markers of successful community management approaches and benchmark them. That is enormous progress in a few short years. Good judgment will always be a necessary and desired trait in community managers, but we can now inform that judgment with a research-based understanding of how the best community lead- ers start, build and grow communities. We could not do this research without the members of TheCR Network – com- munity professionals who are at the forefront of making communities a strategic and valued part of their organizations. By collaborating with them, we are able to quickly iterate and address the topics that have the biggest impact for their work. The network is also the reason we’ve been able to make so much progress in defin- ing the discipline in such a short time. This research is the shared value we create with our community, which helps us all demonstrate the value of community and community management. This sixth edition of the research covers how the discipline of community manage- ment is being practiced now, how community management changes as communi- ties mature and how best-in-class communities are managed. Now, in 2015, a sig- nificant percentage of communities are regularly reaping the rewards of investing in good community management practices. This research highlights the practices of those communities and helps organizations understand the markers of good community management. We hope you find this data helpful as you experiment with what works for your community, develop reporting for your stakeholders and plan your community roadmap. Cheers – Rachel Happe Jim Storer
  6. 6. 6 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE THE COMMUNITY MATURITY MODEL The Community Roundtable’s State of Community Management research uses the Community Maturity Model (CMM) as a framework for defining and evaluating the performance of communities and community management. The CMM defines the eight competencies we believe are required to build successful communities and articulates how these competencies progress as hierarchical organizations embrace a networked approach to their business. The eight competencies in the model are the building blocks of a productive community. The four maturity stages track how communities evolve. The State of Commu- nity Management 2011 covers the practices of each competency. http://the.cr/socm2011 The State of Commu- nity Management 2012 defines how an orga- nization progresses through the four stages of maturity. http://the.cr/socm2012 Applying the Community Maturity Model: TheCR Network members, clients and others have used the CMM as a community management checklist, as a training asset, as a planning tool and to measure their progress. A few examples: To build a roadmap: Community Manager Spotlight Series with Heather Ausmus, Johnson Con- trols (2014) http://the.cr/cmspot-ausmus For internal consulting: Blog post and members-only call with Alex Blanton, Microsoft (2014) http://the.cr/cmm-blanton To benchmark performance: The Community Performance Bench- mark service from The Community Roundtable http://the.cr/cpbenchmark Explore the Community Maturity Model:
  7. 7. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 7 The Community Roundtable’s research aims to provide immediate value to community practitioners by capturing the current practices of community management. It is framed by and structured around the Community Maturity Model, which provides a common context for talking about the different aspects of community management. USE THIS RESEARCH TO: • Validate your approach • Prioritize your resources • Inform conversations with stakeholders • Educate staff • Assess the maturity of your program COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE BENCHMARK If you find our approach to measuring com- munity maturity valuable and would like to dig in more deeply, TheCR’s Community Performance Benchmark can help. Bench- marking provides a valuable assessment of where your community stands along the Community Maturity Model, benchmarks your community management processes and provides you with independent, in- formed recommendations for strengthen- ing your community performance. USE THE COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE BENCHMARK TO: • Assess your community management maturity – the investment that produces results • Deliver an unbiased perspective on the progress of your community program • Justify or revise your community roadmap to ensure you hit your goals • Identify potential gaps and unrealized opportunities • Plan and budget smartly for the future The Community Performance Benchmark is particularly valuable ahead of strategic and planning meetings or where more executive education is needed to ensure support for a community program. For more information, contact The Community Roundtable. info@communityroundtable.com. USING THIS RESEARCH • Identify gaps and opportunities in your program • Build a roadmap • Justify budget requests
  8. 8. 8 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE The Community Maturity Model helps community professionals assess the maturity of a community in the eight competencies and helps illustrate indicators of progress. A look at how communities grow through the CMM: STAGE 1: HIERARCHY In Stage 1, organizations generally use social technology or community structures in an ad hoc manner. A community strategy is not yet completed, and resources have not been allocated to community management. Participation guidelines and content management processes (if any) are informal. INITIATIVES/INPUTS FOR STAGE 1 COMMUNITIES: • Finding an internal “owner” • Recruiting one or more executive sponsors • Building alignment on strategy and approach • Identifying cross-functional champions • Educating control functions – legal, IT, risk, compliance, HR – on social technologies and dynamics • Starting a listening program STAGE 2: EMERGENT COMMUNITY In Stage 2, organizations focus on creating structures to support their community strategy. They’re dedicating resources to formalizing policies and processes. Communities in this stage have a strategy and staff in place and are creating structures for advocates, commu- nity content and programming, and reporting. Expectations for behavior and value are clear. INITIATIVES/INPUTS: • Revising the operational framework and roadmap • Developing a comprehensive budget • Formalizing an enterprise-wide governance structure • Deploying social software • Developing community management expertise and tools • Creating metrics scorecards for various reporting levels • Documenting response and escalation processes • Defining and executing on community staff training needs UNDERSTANDING PATTERNS IN COMMUNITY MATURITY OUTPUTS: • A community strategy • A community management audit or gap analysis • An operational framework and an initial roadmap OUTPUTS: • A detailed operational roadmap • A governance structure that defines how commu- nity management will be executed and supported • An documented approach to tools and processes
  9. 9. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 9 STAGE 3: COMMUNITY In Stage 3, the community program is well-established and generating value. Communities in this stage have dedicated resources to carry out the community strategy and can match metrics to progress. Advocates and other members actively collaborate, and community staff focus on integrating the community into core organizational functions. INITIATIVES/INPUTS: • Building a community leadership program and governance structure • Developing enterprise wide training • Creating a community playbook • Evolving social and community analytics from tracking activity to behaviors and influence • Continuing to build internal champions across different organizational functions STAGE 4: NETWORKED By Stage 4, organizations have undergone major philosophical, cultural and structural chang- es – or they have been a networked organization from the start. The community is central to the business, and business processes and models rely on a shared value approach. All management looks like community management, and although hierarchy and transactional processes do not go away, they are informed by and operate in an environment of shared value and networked communications. INITIATIVES/INPUTS: • Redesigning information architectures to support an integrated customer experience and/or employee experience • Ensuring regular feedback and performance indicators align with an integrated customer and employee experience • Redesigning the human resource function to hire, support, & develop employees based on alignment of values, interests and potential • Changing how employees are rewarded and advanced, including the removal many traditional hierarchical structures • Changing the relationship of the organization to its market and providing value to the market above and beyond products and services. OUTPUTS: • Sustainable, documented community value • Integration with affiliated corporate processes • Distributed, adaptive leadership across the ecosystem OUTPUTS: • Infrastructure that supports an integrated customer and employee experience • Reorganization to support a networked approach • Investment in and support of cultural and leadership change • Evolution of core business models to incorporate shared value approaches that gen- erate more value for every constituent/stakeholder group than they contribute
  10. 10. 10 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE Community Management in 2015 On the curve of tech- nology adoption, on- line communities have made it through the most harrowing stag- es of the hype cycle. Communities are now a common approach to accelerate an organization’s potential, by con- necting its constituencies in ways that increase knowledge, trust and innovation. Resistance to communities now seems more practical in na- ture, and less philosophical. That is phenome- nal progress for a complex discipline in just a few short years, and something of which all of us who work with communities can be proud. Advanced community approaches now recog- nize that engagement is not solely a tactical is- sue related to technology, moderation or con- tent strategy, but that it requires a systematic, operational approach that aligns tactics with a community-centric strategy. Advanced organi- zations are changing functional workflows and adopting a community management mindset to all management – one focused on realizing the potential of employees, customers and prospects instead of focusing on reducing risk and variability. Those pushing the boundaries of community approaches also realize that to sustain pro- ductive engagement, they also need commu- nity-centric business models – incorporating stakeholder value creation into the core of their company’s financial models. We are seeing these business models spring to life in ‘crowd companies’ – those like Etsy, Care.com, Lyft, TaskRabbit and others who understand that if they weave the success of their stakeholders in with their own success they can realize out- sized gains. However, among traditional organizations and these new crowd companies, very few have effectively integrated community-based busi- ness models, operational systems of engage- ment, and good tactics. Traditional organi- zations tend to apply tactics and then build operational systems, but fail to make funda- mental changes to their business model. Many ‘crowd companies’ have created innovative community-based business models, but then fail to develop the systems or tactics that re- inforce and support collaborative advocacy, drive co-creation of value and create competi- tive advantage. We are seeing a more integrated approach to engagement and stakeholder commitment emerging, however, with moves like that of Aetna to create its own minimum wage for all employees. By sharing more of the value they collectively generate instead of paying employees the minimum viable amount, they move their relationship with employees from a transactional one to one where value is shared and success for the business means success for the all. On the market-facing side, Etsy re- cently offered shares to its vendors before its public IPO, making them part owners and ben- eficiaries in the success of Etsy. While both of these moves are relatively limited, they show that companies are starting to think about how they can create tighter interdependencies with those responsible for their success. This move toward shared value – and shared destiny – will over time see greater success because of the commitment from employees, customers and the organization. By aligning their success with the success of their employ- ees and customers, organizations will reap the rewards of developing an ecosystem of indi- viduals who are committed to and engaged actively in their success. This is the opportunity for a community strategy to generate lasting competitive advantage.
  11. 11. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 11 Rachel Happe, Principal It’s an exciting time to be in the community business – it’s enabling new potential, driving changes through organizations that improve people’s lives and making companies more suc- cessful by creating cultures of shared value and shared responsibility. That said, there are plenty of obstacles still ahead: • A lack of strategic understanding of how to create, apply and measure the ROI of shared value business models, especially in financial teams. • Failure to recognize that productive, sustainable engagement requires alignment between strategy, operations and tactics. • Big gaps between community aspirations and the investments required to realize those aspirations. • Resistance to hiring the resources required to build successful community approaches, even as organizations sit on huge reserves of capital. The challenges we face are not insignificant, and as many in the space know, communities can show extraordinary success only to have community programs falter or fail when senior leadership changes – demonstrating that understanding and appreciation of community ap- proaches, especially in the executive suite, are still not mainstream. At The Community Roundtable, we will continue to collaborate with our members and clients to document and report on leading practices. In so doing, we hope to give more shape and structure to the discipline in ways that help stakeholders understand the investments and re- wards that come from a community approach. • Poor understanding of the skills required to execute a community approach or how to manage those individuals once hired. • Difficulty hiring for community roles, particularly senior roles, because too many community professionals lack general business expertise, and too many executives and managers lack an understanding of how to operate communities. • Lack of executive understanding of networked business models or expertise about how to effectively engage online.
  12. 12. 12 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE Research Methodology and Demographics Methodology The data published in this report was collect- ed from 206 community programs in January and February of 2015. Participating commu- nities represented internal and external use cases and a wide range of industries, and they ranged in age from just launched to over a de- cade old. Collaboration with TheCR Network members informed the approach to this research. Over the years, they have provided critical feed- back on and validation of both the topics we explore and how we ask questions. Each year, a working group of members helps us define the research scope, identifies opportunities to dig more deeply, provides feedback on the re- search instrument and then helps us prioritize the data that are most valuable to practitioners. This has allowed us to continually improve the scope and depth of the research. Caveats of this research: Because the report population was drawn from communities with some connection to The Community Roundtable, we believe they rep- resent a more mature approach than would a purely random sampling. Because of the complexity of the discipline and the scale of this research, we cannot report on causation between two metrics. We also be- lieve there is no one ‘right’ mechanism for suc- ceeding in building a community, but rather a toolbox of techniques that, combined, result in community value. Because of this, we report many correlations in this report that we find interesting – and will point you toward tech- niques that we believe are worth exploring, but they are not magic bullets and may be the re- sult of many factors. Additionally, because this research looks at a wide cross-section of communities, we collect common markers of community management maturity. That means that not every marker will align perfectly with your community, its con- text and its objectives. Use your judgment to interpret the data for your own context, and use the opportunity to have conversations and educate your stakeholders about applying this research. Throughout this report we report data using two categories of segments to compare: • Communities on Stage 1, 2 and 3/4 of the Community Maturity Model. (The survey population did not include enough Stage 4 communities to report them separately.) • Average and best-in-class (BIC) communities. The BIC segment is comprised of the 20% most mature (highest scoring) communities overall in the survey set. The BIC communities are not necessarily the 20% highest scoring in a specific metric, but rather on an aggregate basis. They represent ‘best-in- class’ performance and priorities. We report on these comparison populations to help you better compare your own program to the survey data and to help you see how communities progress and how the best in the business perform. Lastly, as this is an emerging discipline, we do find a wide range of responses to many met- rics that are not necessarily obvious in aggre- gate data points. For this reason, this research should not be used to demonstrate “right” or “wrong” approaches, but as a contextualized input to your community management deci- sion-making process.
  13. 13. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 13 Who are the 2015 SOCM communities? Communities surveyed for the State of Community Management 2015 research represent a variety of industries and use cases, ages and sizes. GENERAL RESEARCH DEMOGRAPHICS SOCM RESPONDENTS BY INDUSTRY SOCM RESPONDENTS BY COMMUNITY SIZE SOCM RESPONDENTS BY AGE SOCM RESPONDENTS BY COMMUNITY USE CASES High tech/telecom/ software - 39% Business/legal/profes- sional services - 13% Nonprofit - 12% Media/entertainment/ publishing - 9% Other - 8% Financial services - 5% Health care/social services - 4% Manufacturing - 4% Retail - 3% Government/public administration - 1% Pharmaceuticals - 1% 39% 13% 12% 9% 8% 5% 4% 4% 3% 1%1% 19% 17% 13%11% 28% 11% 0-1 yrs 10+ yrs 2 yrs 3 yrs4 yrs 5-9 yrs The average community surveyed is 4.9 years old. The average external community is 6 years old and the average internal community is 3 years old. Communities are applied to many organizational communication and collaboration challenges - internal (employee-focused), external (customer, partner or market-focused) and community programs that include both internal and external uses. (Respondents could select multiple use cases.) 0-499 15% 500-999 8% 1,000-9,999 29%10,000-49,999 23% 50,000- 99,999 6% 100,000- 999,999 9% 1,000,000 or more 11% External 50% Both 19% Internal 31% 25% 40% 65% 86% Corporate Initiative Community of Interest Collaboration Community of Practice 22% 32% 48% 52% Product Innovation Marketing Customer Support Community of Practice INTERNAL USE CASES EXTERNAL USE CASES
  14. 14. 14 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE This research scored each responding community in the four stages of the Community Maturity Model based on their survey responses. Three out of four respondents ranked in Stage 1 or 2. Just one percent ranked in Stage 4. Stage 4 communities are combined with Stage 3 communities for our analysis. COMMUNITY MATURITY IN 2015 THE COMMUNITY MATURITY MODEL MARKERS OF MATURITY BY STAGE The research found large differences in markers of maturity between the stages, but no correlation between community age and community maturity. 1% Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 18% 58% 23% 2015 SURVEY COMMUNITIES Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Age Dedicated budget Full-time community manager Measurable strategy Can measure value 4.8 22% 28% 3% 8% 4.7 53% 79% 27% 32% 5.4 68% 86% 86% 80%
  15. 15. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 15 Community programs have come a long way in a few short years. 51% of community programs have dedicated budgets, and 41% of those budgets are approved at the C-level, suggesting stra- tegic visibility that did not exist a few years ago. Best-in-class communities enjoy even more vis- ibility – 70% have dedicated budgets, and the C-level approves 54% of those budgets. (See the ‘Strategy’ section of the report for details.) COMMUNITY PROGRAM MANAGEMENT Many communities, shown by the large percentage reporting ‘other’ oversight, sit outside of or span across more traditional functions. Almost 70% of community budgets are approved at the C or VP level Technology is the greatest share of all community budgets but that is especially true for internal community programs. In external communities more of the budget is allocated to content, programming and events. Outsourced community management plays a very small role in both internal and external communities.   DEPARTMENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR COMMUNITY EXECUTIVE LEVEL APPROVING BUDGET COMMUNITIES WITH DEDICATED BUDGET BY USE CASE BUDGET BREAKDOWN *Other HR Customer Support Marketing IT Project Management Internal Communication External Communication External 38% 16%9% 5%2% 1% 30% Internal49% 16% 10% 10% 8% 6% 2% Both 33% 28% 15% 10% 10% 3% *Other includes: Independent community department, Knowledge Management, Innovation, Online Communications, Split reports, etc. External Both -Average51%- Internal 56% 37% 64% C-Level 41% Senior VP 12% VP 15% Director 22% Other 10% Outsourced moderation Other 33% 44% 26% 26% 14% 7% 15% 10% 7% 4% 3% 1% 2% 6% External Internal Platform and technology Community management resources Content and online programming In-person events and conferences External strategic and management consulting
  16. 16. 16 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE 2015Research Findings: The State of Community Management
  17. 17. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 17 Key Findings As community management matures, we have developed a more sophisticated under- standing of how community strategy, operations and tactics can be applied in order for community programs to succeed. We know communities that don’t think about all three of these dimensions find their growth and success limited in the long run. Communities that develop and do many of the right things from a strategic standpoint can be held back by suboptimal operational or tactical approaches. Similarly, communities with well-thought out operational and/or tactical approaches to community are limited if they lack the stra- tegic vision in incorporating shared value models. Our key findings explore one critical element of each piece of community management - strategy, operations and tactics. Strategy: Invest in people and systems, not just platforms The days of ‘build it and they will come’ thinking are largely a thing of the past. Organiza- tions have recognized that an “untended garden” approach to community management is a plan for failure. However, too many organizations limit their community’s potential value by failing to invest sufficiently in the community team. The survey finds not only a pos- itive impact for organizations that invest in hiring additional community team members, but also a positive impact from investments in professional development for those team members. In practice, the survey finds that all the skills needed to do community management well – strategy and program management, engagement and moderation, content development, technical and analytical skills - are most effectively distributed across a well-trained com- munity team. In addition, organizations are investing in community management centers of excellence - realizing that community management and engagement skills, like teach- ing, are important to everyone in the organization as a key component of digital literacy not just those in formal community management roles. But it takes more than skilled people – those people need to be a part of systems that support their work. Items like clear, well-defined job descriptions, governance structures that integrate community value into functional workflows and incentive structures that encourage community engagement are critical underpinnings of successful community programs. The research suggests organizations consider: 1. Providing ongoing professional development so community managers can work smart- er and more effectively. A significant majority of best-in-class communities provide one or more types of pro- fessional development opportunities to their community teams. Of the resources they provide, conferences, coaching, training and membership in professional development networks are most common. Most interestingly, providing these resources to community teams also correlates to being able to measure value.
  18. 18. 18 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE 2. Ensuring adequate community staff so that strategic planning and growth can be ad- dressed. When there is limited community management staff, their time and effort tend to be consumed with reactive tasks that may maintain engagement, but don’t allow for critical strategic planning to insure business value is being generated consistently and effec- tively. 3. Investing sufficiently in community teams so that the community is integrated across functional areas of the organization, increasing its visibility and value. Community teams often sit at the intersection points of multiple functions. To be most effective, they need the time to ensure they are delivering value to both business and community stakeholders, and to work throughout the organization to enhance and high- light that value. 4. Redefining systems to provide incentives and support for community engagement. Community teams cannot work in isolation. For communities to succeed, organizations must develop policies and governance structures that take the needs of the community approach into account. This often involves refining and often redefining jobs, reevalu- ating policies and creating incentives that take into account the unique strengths of a community approach. Operations: Advocacy Programs are More Than a Checkbox Advocacy programs have long been a hot topic in the community space – and in the wider social media space – because of the value of peer referrals and behaviors. However, the ef- fort it takes to run a powerful, effective advocacy program is often underestimated. Giving someone a badge – or even an enhanced role – is no guarantee that they will advocate for or defend your community or your organization when you need it. Building and running an effective advocacy program requires dedicated resources and processes. The research suggests organizations consider: 1. Investing in multifaceted advocacy programs, which address multiple types of advocates and continuously deliver value. This is not a small investment, but it has a significant payoff. Communities with multi- faceted advocacy programs are more effective at generating engagement, have higher rates of member generated content and are more likely to realize value. 2. Providing advocates with recognition and exclusive access. Exclusive access includes elements such as a private collaboration space, increased ac- cess to the community team and executives, and early access to news and information. These are elements that provide real business value to advocates and go beyond recog- nition alone. 3. Using advocate programs to create a formal feedback process into product groups. Most multi-tiered advocacy programs provide advocates with both early access to prod- ucts and services and formal mechanisms by which they can give feedback directly to product teams. This provides value to both the organization and the key members who are investing their time and resources.
  19. 19. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 19 Tactics: Quick Wins Exist to Improve Engagement As the research looked more closely at the features and details of more mature community approaches, there were some relatively easy tactical elements that had an outsized influ- ence on success. That’s great news, because while having a good strategy and operational approach are critical, they often take time and resources to implement. These tactical quick wins, however, generate a lot of value, and can help show the power of community even as you look to undertake broader efforts. The research suggests organizations consider: 1. Specifically defining your community’s value. Knowing and communicating specifically what you expect the organization and its members to get out of their investment in participating helps set expectations and en- courages certain behaviors. The key is that these value statements are specific to your organization and members – vague and general statements about increasing knowledge or collaboration have little impact. 2. Building or improving your new member welcome process. Are you using a generic, out-of-the box, or automated welcome message for new mem- bers? Now might be the time to create something a bit more specific, contextual and, well, welcoming. This doesn’t have to mean a personal outreach to every new member – although that’s not a bad thing! Some other things to consider: ‘introduce yourself’ dis- cussions, video welcome tours and a new member calls or webinars all have significant impact on engagement. 3. Investing in community management training and coaching. It makes sense that professional development opportunities help community managers improve skills and feel more valued. But training and coaching investments also correlat- ed highly with the ability of organizations to measure the value of their communities. A Look Back at 2014: As part of this year’s report, we wanted to look back and see if last year’s Key Findings needed revision. As it turns out, the 2015 data reaffirms the items we saw in 2014. 2014 Key Finding: Community maturity delivers business value. Just as in 2014, the data show that our best-in-class communities are far more likely to be able to measure community value than average – 83% to 45%. In 2015, we also found best-in-class communities were also twice as likely to be able to measure their ROI. 2014 Key Finding: Advocacy programs increase engagement. Our 2015 report finds again that advocacy programs in general increase engagement, but this year, we note the impact of multi-tiered programs, which had more than double the number of collaborators than communities with no leadership program. 2014 Key Finding: Executive participation impacts success. Not surprisingly, this rings true again in 2015 – as regular participation in community by executives correlates with improvements in community maturity, engagement, access to a dedicated budget and ability to measure value.
  20. 20. 20 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE Research Findings by Competency The Community Maturity Model’s eight competencies are building blocks of a productive community. THE COMMUNITY MATURITY MODEL • Content & Programming: Assets that attract and prompt interaction • Policies & Governance: Community rules, guidelines and processes • Tools: Infrastructure that enables activity, engagement and behaviors • Metrics & Measurement: Markers of community’s health and progress • Strategy: How community objectives are defined and linked to the organization’s business strategy • Leadership: How community members and an organization’s leadership influence community engagement • Culture: The norms and levels of community participation • Community Management: The engagement and moderation approach
  21. 21. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 21 As we present these findings, we will refer frequently to “stages” of maturity. The Community Maturity Model defines these four stages of community maturity as: We’ll also refer to the “best-in-class” segment, made up of those communities that scored in the top 20 percent overall of all communi- ties surveyed, and identified as a comparison point against the average community. 100% 58% 3% Dedicated Budget Defined Value for Member and Org Resourced Roadmap Approved Strategy 100806040200 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3/4 22% 53% 19% 65% 94% 68% 52% 14% 14% ExamplechartonlyExamplechartonly 65% 24% 100% 58% Approved Strategy Resourced Roadmap Approved Strategy Resourced Roadmap Average Best-in-Class } }63% of communities with approved strategies lack a resourced roadmap 42% of BIC communities with approved strategies lack a resourced roadmap 65% 24% 100% 58% Approved Strategy Resourced Roadmap Approved Strategy Resourced Roadmap Average Best-in-Class } }63% of communities with approved strategies lack a resourced roadmap 42% of BIC communities with approved strategies lack a resourced roadmap • Stage 1: Hierarchy – Ad hoc or experimental use of social technology or community structures. • Stage 2: Emergent Community Pilot use and early adoption of social and community tools and/or processes, along with considerable investment in creating structure to better manage social opportunities. • Stage 3: Community Explicitly chartered, funded and staffed community initiatives resulting in mea- surable business outcomes. • Stage 4: Networked A corporate strategy driven by a networked market perspective. Note: Because just one percent of communities scored in Stage 4 in the survey, our data analysis combines them with those in Stage 3. Inactive: Members who have a profile in the community but who are inactive, which typically means they have not ac- cessed the community in the past month. Lurkers: Members who only view content. Contributors: Members who have com- mented on a blog, discussion thread, doc- ument or other item but don’t start dis- cussions. They may also bookmark, rate, share or tag content, update their status or participate in events. Engagement level definitions: Creators: Members who have started a discussion, a chat or a blog post or partic- ipated in community leadership activities including content moderation, welcom- ing members or initiating programming. Collaborators: Members who collaborate (i.e. create value together - this could be training materials, code/apps, events, product specs, marketing materials, etc) as well as create content independently.
  22. 22. 22 THE COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE Strategy Not long ago, community strategy was often an af- terthought, and the prevailing perspective was that community management was almost entirely reactive – it followed the flow of the community once it had al- ready formed. Community management strategy, if it was discussed, was typically considered after technol- ogy was deployed and often only after a community demonstrated failure to thrive. Today, most communities have approved strategies and have defined the community’s shared val- ue - how it will return value to both members and the organization. Additionally, more than half of communities have their own budgets, which are twice as likely to be approved at the C-level than by any other executive group. That is great progress and confirms that communities are becoming strategic business enablers. However, a surprising percentage of communities with an approved strategy do not have a re- sourced roadmap to go with it. As the Edison quote goes, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” For most communities, the lack of a resourced plan is their most significant risk. 11% 100% 58% 3% Budget Approved by C-level Executive Dedicated Budget Defined Value for Member and Org Resourced Roadmap Approved Strategy 100806040200 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3/4 18% 22% 53% 19% 65% 94% 36% 68% 52% 14% 14% MATURITY MARKERS BY STAGE: STRATEGY RESOURCES: PRESENTATION: COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT FUNDAMENTALS http://the.cr/cm-fundamentals EBOOK: BUILDING A COMMUNITY ROADMAP http://the.cr/roadmap-ebook SERVICE: COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE BENCHMARK http://the.cr/cpbenchmark Getting people comfortable with a new way of doing business and engaging beyond the realm of entitled customers to a larger audi- ence has been a primary goal for us. It takes a ton of collaboration with internal champi- ons, legal teams, communications and so on to ensure that everyone is armed and ready to head outside of the firewall and engage. ”J.J. Lovett, Director, Communities at CA Technologies “ Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Average Best-in-class MATURITY SCORE:
  23. 23. STATE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 23 65% 24% 100% 58% Approved Strategy Resourced Roadmap Approved Strategy Resourced Roadmap Average Best-in-Class } }63% of communities with approved strategies lack a resourced roadmap 42% of BIC communities with approved strategies lack a resourced roadmap GAP BETWEEN STRATEGY & RESOURCED ROADMAPS: BUDGET BREAKDOWN:COMMUNITIES WITH DEDICATED BUDGETS: EXECUTIVES WHO APPROVE BUDGET: BIC communities are more likely to have an approved strategy – and resources to execute on it. The biggest elements of community budgets are, not surprisingly, technology and community management resources – BIC communities tend to allocate more of their budgets to community management, but the differences are slight, suggesting maturity is more than where you spend your money. Over 80 percent of best-in-class communities have their budgets approved by C- or VP-level executives, suggesting alignment with strategic corporate objectives. 70%51% Best-in-ClassAverage A majority of community programs have dedicated budgets, a key input to effectively calculating ROI. 32 32 16 9 4 4 2 Best-in- Class Average 34 26 13 13 5 4 4 41% 54% 12% 14% 10% 11% 15% 14% 22% 7% C-Level Senior VP VP Director Other Average Best-in-Class 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% The research suggests community teams should: • Ensure their community strategy is approved, measureable and regularly reviewed as the community matures. • Develop a community roadmap. • Define a discrete community budget, even if it is currently part of a larger one. • Work to educate stakeholders on the investment required and the rewards expected from a successful community approach.
  24. 24. Learn more about the State of Community Management 2015 Download the complete 2015 report from The Community Roundtable. The full report features statistics and analysis from hundreds of communities on: • Leadership • Culture • Community Management • Content and Programming • Policies and Governance • Tools • Metrics and Measurement Plus, the 2015 community engagement profile for internal and external communities, and much more. ▶ Learn more and download the full report: communityroundtable.com/socm2015. http://communityroundtable.com info@communityroundtable.com Connect with us:

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