This is the third in a series of three blog posts where I discuss the role of community strategy, operations and tactics - and share lessons we've learned at The Community Roundtable working with hundreds of members and clients.
Community tactics are what make communities hum. While a community can grow without much investment in tactics, it will grow a lot more slowly – and be much more susceptible to risk – without dedicated community management focused on day-to-day tactical activities. The better community managers can trigger, encourage and reward the behaviors that generate value, the faster the community will grow and mature.
Fortunately, we now know a lot about which tactics matter the most. From the State of Community Management research over the last six years we know that the following tactics have the highest correlation to engagement rates:
- Dedicated community management focused on content and programming, engagement, moderation, leadership support, measurement and reporting.
- Documented shared purpose and shared value
- Engaged organizational leaders
- A multi-tiered community advocacy program
- Personalized welcome processes
- Regular community programming
- Member involvement in community planning and decisions
- Training for the community management team
We also know, from social science research, a lot about behavior change and how to trigger, change and reward it in a way that enables lasting change. My favorite models are B.J. Fogg’s Behavior Model and Charles Duhigg’s Behavior Loop. Together they help create simple ways for community managers to encourage and reinforce the behaviors that drive value to members and the organization.
We’ve used B.J. Fogg’s model as inspiration for TheCR’s Engagement Recipes – a structured way to help community managers define and plan programming that promotes valuable engagement.
At The Community Roundtable, we have also identified the keystone behaviors required for any community to form and develop. TheCR’s Working Out Loud framework helps to focus engagement efforts based on the maturity of the community culture.
While these are all great tactical tools, there is a lot more content, case studies, events and other resources about community tactics – at JiveWorld, here in the Jive Community, through The Community Roundtable and through a myriad of other publications, groups and events. Take advantage of all of these resources to get ideas about how to incent and reward different behaviors – and share what you’ve learned!
When tactics are aligned with a strategy that prioritizes the most valuable behaviors and an operational system that consistently triggers and rewards those behaviors the results are powerful – creating an environment where value is generated efficiently and engagement comes easily.
However, all too often, community management is only thought of as the tactics of engagement - creating a reactive and ad hoc approach that does little to advance the community in meaningful ways for either executive stakeholders or for members. As a community manager, if you feel overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions it is often an indication that either the community strategy needs refinement or that it is time to invest in operational systems that will help you scale.
Strategy, operations and tactics work in concert to generate and reinforce value – creating a positive feedback loop that pulls more people in and engages them more deeply as the community matures. Make sure you have carved out time to address all three.