Archive for April, 2011
I’ve blogged a few times about change and how there are circumstances where you need to have cover for holidays, illness etc but I haven’t yet touched upon handovers. This is something I’m working through at the moment as I prepare to move from one project to another and between companies.
If you are in a position as a Community Manager have you thought about what would be required if you needed to do a handover in the future? How well documented is your community and how would you present it to colleagues or whoever is taking over the duties as CM? If you do have handover documentation does it just focus on the technical aspects of your community and the nuances of how things work or does it include information on key influencers and other important elements of what actually makes the community “tick”?
Given that communities are living things I think it’s important we look at the human and social elements of a handover and not just the technical side. With this being the case I’ve already informed my key influencers and power users about the change and I’ll be writing an open letter to the community. So, have you factored handovers into your Community Strategy?
There are a few things that get me agitated when it comes to Community Management and the title is one of those. I appreciate that Marketing often opt for a holistic view of things but I think they tend to forget those of us on the ground, stuck in the trenches and interacting with consumers on a daily basis. Relationship marketing is one thing, understanding and appreciating the impact of any decisions is something entirely different.
I read this morning a short news story about a new subscription plan that’s supposedly going to be introduced for the product I’ve been working on most recently. Immediately alarm bells started ringing and the following questions started forming;
- Where any CMs globally consulted on this? Probably Not
- Will it have an impact on my community? Yes
- Will it likely cause issues that consumers will seek resolution for in the community? Yes
- Will I be getting more resources to handle them? No
- Does it impact all the planning I’d already done for the year ahead? Yes
When marketing doesn’t consult and doesn’t consider the implications of decisions it has the potential to negatively impact the community. It means I’m now in a position where I’ll have to fight more fires or re-allocate what limited time and resources that are available and stop some of the community building I was hoping to do. Not cool.
I love going to networking events and listening to other people’s thoughts and views on community management and last night was no exception. Two events in the same night, one focusing on social / digital / twitter (#themeet140) and the other an afterparty for Firefox.
One conversation towards the end of the evening caught my attention and attempted to take community management right back to basics.The conclusion was that we are creatures of a social nature based on evolution and habit. We look to form groups, thrive on belonging and want to create a social status or identity.
If this is the case then as CM’s isn’t the hardest part convincing people they should join our group (community) rather than somebody elses given that they’ll already be pre-programmed to want to join one? This would then be closely followed by having to find a mechanism for “awesomeness” to keep people in your group and standing a step above and beyond other similar groups.
Perhaps something worth pondering over the weekend; take community management right back to the basics and then build it back up one layer at a time.
Although the users are the lifeblood of your community you should have processes in place to support volunteers. Volunteers are a great asset in any community, whether it comes to moderating content, producing content or getting involved in discussions.
The beauty of volunteers is that they tend to have a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the community that they are part of (more so than an outsourced moderation agency). This power should be harnessed and supported by the CM to benefit the community.
Now I’m not going to shy away from mentioning a few of the potential downsides of utilising volunteers as the complete picture needs to be painted. The very nature of volunteers means that they can disappear with no warning, they can choose when they assist / how frequently and their allegiance would ultimately lie with the community and not you the CM.
Regardless of this though, if you can create a policy for how you recruit them and how you work with them they can bring new level of enthusiasm to the community and aid in increasing engagement, especially if they are Power Users or Influencers.