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This is the first 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.

 

StrategyOpsTactics.jpgA community can succeed with a great strategy even if the community management tactics are poor.

 

A community will fail if the strategy is poor – even if the tactics are great.

 

Poor engagement is largely seen as a tactical problem – not enough members, the wrong type of members, not enough content, poor technology and more. This happens because community management tactics are the most obvious influence on engagement – and the one people see. While tactics do indeed matter, community strategy has a far bigger influence on engagement and overall success.

 

Community strategy is what harnesses the motivations of the community and, if it does this well, there are few tactical barriers big enough to dissuade the community from engaging.

 

Organizations have a tough time getting this right. They tend to think mostly about what they need. Take for example, the executive who is fired up to launch a community for a new product she is championing – and interested in exploring a new approach to generate interest and support customers. At first blush, it sounds like a good opportunity for a community approach – the organization is not risking existing revenue streams with an experimental approach, a new product offers an exciting opportunity and digital communications channels are a great mechanism for sharing information and attracting interest.

 

The problem? No one cares.

 

Why? No one uses the product… yet.

 

You can almost hear the crickets even before the community is launched.

 

So is it futile? Absolutely not. However, the existing strategy is likely to fail because it’s oriented around making the organization successful, instead of making its potential customer successful. There is no shared value. That means there is no reason for the customer to invest in it – and no motivation to engage.

 

What if instead, the community strategy focused on the problem solved by the new product? It’s a subtle but critical shift in orientation. It’s an approach that not only interests potential customers but it will also interest potential partners, analysts and media – making the community a place that hosts all sorts of discussions about the problem set, including conversations about how the new product addresses the problem. If it’s an important problem, potential customers are motivated to participate. The strategy defines a shared value – solving a problem – that both the organization and potential customers have a vested interest in solving.

 

The lack of a compelling community strategy is often the reason communities fail – the online environment and enterprise social networks are littered with dead spaces that failed to thrive because people confused having a place to meet with having a good reason to meet.

 

So, how can you build a community strategy that works?

 

Understand your target members.

  1. Understand the community environment and what competes for members’ time and attention.
  2. Define the shared purpose, shared value and business model that will support your strategy.
  3. Build a community roadmap that articulates how you will approach your community building.
  4. Recruit a member advisory board to get feedback.
  5. Review your community strategy, business model, roadmap and programming calendar with the advisory board and revise as needed until they are excited.

 

You may be able to skip some of these steps if you feel like you have sufficient insight into your key potential members and the environment in which the community will exist. However, getting feedback and ensuring there is excitement is a critical - and often missed – step.

 

Ensuring excitement is, in fact, a litmus test for a good community strategy. If you cannot find five potential members who are legitimately excited or intrigued about the prospect of the community, you need to revisit the community strategy and roadmap. No one wants to come to a party that lacks energy – the same is true for communities. This may create an inconvenient truth for executives or delay your community launch but getting it right will pay long-term dividends.

 

If the community’s shared purpose and value are compelling and the business model is structured to generate more value for members than they contribute, they will come back to engage again and again – and everyone will get more value out of the community than they invest into it.

I was excited for the opportunity to interview Alban Rampon, Enterprise Community Manager for the ARM Connected Community, as he is someone who is quite active in the Jive Community. Alban's WorkType profiles of Connector and Energizer made our interaction super smooth and extremely positive! Alban, I think your WorkTypes are right on! Thanks so much for being active in the Jive Community and for sharing a bit about yourself.

 

Leigh: Where do you work?

Alban: Hello Leigh, I work for ARM in Cambridge, UK. Not many people know us, but almost everyone is using our technology! Like a songwriter, we are commissioned to create the blueprints for chips. Then, for each song sold, we get royalties. For us to succeed, our partners have to succeed as the initial license fee is not enough to cover the R&D costs. Our community includes companies from every part of the ecosystem: semiconductor, operating system, mobile apps, etc. The chips are used in everything from vacuum cleaners, hard drives, mobile phones, tablets, cars and even in space. ARM Connected Community Partners List gives all companies who wish to publicly acknowledge enabling/using ARM technology.

 

Leigh: How would you describe your current job?
Alban: I am building relationships, connecting people and companies. I am the global community manager and community strategist and I'm delighted to have been invited to be a Jive Champion too.

Leigh: Hooray! Thanks for being a part of our Jive Champion program, Alban!

 

Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?

Alban: Of course, I tried it as soon as the program was announced! My primary type is Connector and secondary is Energizer. I feel they are good matches. I tried the test a few times and I always get those two, even if the order sometimes differs.

 

Leigh: What was your favorite part of attending JiveWorld14?
Alban: Meeting the people I have been working with all year. I find the event exceptionally well organized. If you are working with online communities, I believe you should attend the event even if you're not yet a customer.
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Leigh: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?
Alban: We have an external support, partner, thought leadership and private collaboration community. We want to make the most of the platform!

 

Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?
Alban: I use a PC with Windows and Linux. I've wanted to try a Mac to brand a mobile app for our community with analytics and URL pre-configured... I just haven't found the time yet.

Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?
Alban: I'm always on mobile and use an iPhone, an iPad and an Android smartphone . A community never closes.

Leigh: You got that right!

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Leigh: Pick one word that best describes how you work.
Alban: I work on interruptions... except when I have my headphones on which means "please wait, your call is important to me..."
Leigh: So true! I think a lot of people work on interruptions, but you're one of the first to own it! Also, I like your strategy for limiting them.

 

Leigh: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Alban: I love Wunderlist. They have been doing many integrations with other tools as well which is quite nice. I use it both at the office and at home, on all platforms... Give it a try, it's free.

Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?
Alban: I used to think it was clinical, until I looked at a picture of it . I tend to have what I need to do or need to think about on my desk. Also, I use a white board with notes to prioritize what I have to do. That's the best way I found to make sure I remember everyone/everything. I am so organized at the office that I don't like scheduling anything in my holidays.

AlbanRampon_ARMGlobalCommunityManager.jpeg

 

Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?
Alban: I work in a noisy office with many people on the phone. When I need to focus, I put on my headphones with electronic music. I recommend deadmau5 and Daft Punk to guarantee isolation from ambient distraction!

Leigh: Totally agree that ambient distraction helps ensure isolation.

 

Leigh: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Alban: I am definitely an extrovert. However, I do enjoy thinking time alone very much too. If you ask, everyone will definitely say an extrovert though.

Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
Alban: "Document on your community..." Most likely from The John Schwiller. Let me explain why! Everything you do in your emails is NOT scalable and needs to be repeated each time you have a new team member. Document once in your community and everyone will be able to help you. It's been useful so many times and it makes it so easy to on-board community members.

It was great getting to know you, Alban. Thanks so much for sharing tips that help you work most effectively. Does anyone have any questions for Alban?

In Part IV of the Six-Part Blog Series on Social Business Strategy, I discuss the importance of having a clear vision of what success means and how to measure it.

 

In order for your social business launch to be successful, you need to have a clear picture of what success means. In the beginning stages success can be measured by participation. As your community matures look for other ways to measure success - the number of topics covered, reductions in the numbers of meetings, reductions in email usage.

 

The Importance of “Small Victories”

 

Small victories

Early in the game it’s important to have a number of “small wins” to build enthusiasm and help your team see the value of the program. These early success stories are essential for helping senior leadership see the value of social initiatives.

 

Social growth is an important key performance indicator for social intranets. Are your initiatives helping people move from passive consumption to participation? Are you encouraging participants to become contributors and social intranet evangelists?

 

It’s important to make it clear to employees what success means. Most people are hesitant to dive into online conversations, especially in the workplace where they are concerned about saying the wrong thing. Give them “low hanging fruit” so that they can engage in a safe, fun way.

 

Ranking and Liking - Easy Ways to Get Involved

 

In one organization readers were invited to “get their toes wet” by simply ranking online content. People who participated by clicking stars were thanked for the contribution. In a short period of time participants began to feel comfortable enough to initiate conversations around the articles they ranked.

 

Scheduling “just for fun” topics is a good way to provide a low barrier for entry and helping employees get over their hesitations about contributing. “Tell us about your best customer experience,” or “who is your workplace mentor?” are easy ways to help employees move from readers to participants to contributors.

 

It’s OK to Feel a Little Weird

 

Meaningful online conversations

In the roll-out phase interactions may sometimes feel forced, awkward or inconsequential. There needs to be an attitude of exploration and permission to try new things. The product sponsor and implementation leaders should touch base regularly with key participants to discover what is working and where improvements can be made.

 

Social business is dynamic. It grows and changes as participants find new ways to create value with the system. Your vision for success needs to be flexible and will change over time.

 

 

Want to know more? Read the White Paper on the Six Strategies for a Successful Social Business that will guide you in building and implementing your strategy.

Best practices for community management: Six-months old and beyond

 

This blog is Part 3 in the three-part series on Community Management Best Practices. In this blog series, we will address some of the key activities that should be a part of your community planning, launch and ongoing growth. See Part 2:  Best practices for community management: Launch to six-months old.

 

1. Develop a plan for continuing adoption. Often times, we are so focused on a launch that we forget to reexamine how adoption needs change as a community grows. My favorite approach to growing adoption is to examine the use cases in a community then determine what really compels people to utilize the community. It can be tough to grow adoption when the use cases are not compelling to the users. So before you develop an adoption plan really examine your use cases and make them as strong as possible. Here in the Jive Community, our main use case is for customer support. Using the Jive Community is the only way our customers can get support. I'd say that's a pretty compelling use case. Adoption in that regard is relatively easy. For details around adoption for a social intranet use case, check out this blog: What's In It For Me? An Adoption Strategy for Your Social Intranet

 

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Engage users and increase adoption by closely examining your use cases and determining "what's in it for them"

 

2. Create a feedback channel. Happy users are engaged users. Community members that feel heard are also more engaged. By creating a feedback channel for your community members, you can find out first-hand how your users feel about your site as well as get really good information about ways to improve your community as well as your products and services. You can use the Jive ideas function for collecting feedback or you can create a place specifically geared towards feedback in the form of discussions. Either way, be sure to let your users know about the feedback channel and encourage them to let you know how you're doing via periodic surveys or polls.

 

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Find a way to collect feedback in your community either through a dedicated place, feedback form, or regular polls and surveys.

 

3. Develop an advocate or champion program. Not all community members are created equally. You will have super users and place owners who are naturally more vocal and more excited about your community. Enlist those people as advocates or champions to assist other members and help launch use cases. Champions will need a set of super-user permissions as do sub-administrators, and moderators. Once you've figured out what "social groups" you have in your community (such as champions, moderators, community managers) you can develop specific sets of permissions for each and add individual members to the permission groups. Jive allows for a variety of ways to slice and dice user permissions: from space permissions, to social group permissions, to system settings that control community member activities. Since this is more of an advanced topic, I'll make this a future blog post for sure!

 

4. Assess your audience to make sure you're meeting their needs. There are a few different ways you can get a demographic assessment on your community members. For external communities, you might map user emails to your Salesforce database to determine if they are customers, prospects or partners. For internal communities, try mapping users to your employee LDAP directory to determine things like length of employment, geographic location or company department. This information will tell you whether you are posting the right content, posting it at the right times, or whether you need language translation for certain documents or blogs. Let your user demographics tell a story of what they want and need based upon who they are.

 

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Demographics tell a story in a community: what does your say?

 

5. Develop an ongoing road map. In Part 1 of this blog, we mentioned building a governance and support team. With their help, you can build a community road map for the coming year which features your new use cases, any ongoing maintenance or improvement activities, technology updates, and regular reports. Use this road map as your dashboard to showcase your strategy moving forward, help focus where you spend your resources, and hopefully get additional support from your company. Building a road map can be tough work. Luckily Jive has a team of social strategists who have done this a million times. And by a million times, I mean A LOT. You can get help for building a road map from any of the folks over here in Jive Professional Services.

 

6. Regularly clean up old places and content. Old places and content will always be my nemesis. The least-liked item on this list, clean up is a necessary yet tedious activity. Determine a way to regularly assess your places for any place not showing any activity for a certain period of time. Also consider implementing a process where content is regularly marked as outdated by content curators or community advocates. Conducting regular cleaning will help users stay connected to the active places and content that really matters. This blog Tips for Cleaning Up Your Community written by community member Dennis Pearce can help get you started on this task.

 

While this list is hardly conclusive, these are the top activities that will get your community well on its way to optimal health and world-class status.

 

If you'd like to know more about any of these topics, please comment below!

In Part III of the Six-Part Blog Series on Social Business Strategy, I discuss the importance of shifting the focus away from features and onto meaningful human interactions that drive adoption.

 

drive conversation

The goal of any social business strategy is, of course, business. You want to drive productivity by improving employee engagement. You want to convert tacit knowledge - the “know-how” that’s tucked away inside your star performers’ heads - into explicit knowledge that can be shared between workgroups. Finally, you want to reduce time spent in meetings or combing through email inboxes.

 

The secret to getting business up and running on social software is to make the environment “people-friendly.” Like a good dinner party where people come for the prime rib and stay for the conversation, people will be drawn to your social intranet by the kinds of interactions they can have with other people in the organization. Feature bells and whistles don’t draw people - people draw people. Your social programs and campaigns - and not the software - will be your best path to rapid adoption and growth.


“Bells and Whistles” Are Nice But It’s People Who Attract People

 

Don’t rely on platform features to drive conversation. As with the dinner party mentioned above, it takes a good host to get conversation rolling. Once people are part of the conversation they will start to discover the system features that make the experience more dynamic and effective.

 

Tap your early adopters from your initial launch or test projects for the roles of Community Manager or Intranet Evangelist. Keep an eye out for Subject Matter Experts who can drive specific conversations on areas of interest across the company. Encourage your hosts/evangelists/experts to reach out to the people on their own teams to join the conversation.

 

Quantify Interactions

 

quantify interactions

Be sure to take the time to study the kinds of interactions taking place on your social intranet, especially in the early stages. Who are the conversation leaders? How many people start new topics compared to the number of people participating in existing topics? Senior leadership is most interesting in this type of information and reinforces their buy-in. Reporting also provides important insights for fine tuning your strategy and informs your next moves.

 

As you move toward the next stages of your social business initiative meet with your conversation leaders and brainstorm ways that you can steer the conversation toward specific business concerns. This way your roll-out will be more natural and more likely to address the real business needs of employees.

 

 

Want to know more? Read the White Paper on the Six Strategies for a Successful Social Business that will guide you in building and implementing your strategy.

Best practices for community management: Launch to six-months old

 

This blog is Part 2 in the three-part series on Community Management Best Practices. In this blog series, we will address some of the key activities that should be a part of your community planning, launch and ongoing growth. See Part 1:  Best practices for community management: Pre-launch.

 

In the first six months of your community, there are several critical activities that need to occur to help ensure success. Hopefully at this point you are well prepared for your community launch. The items below can be done the month before launch or around the same time as the launch itself, depending on how much of a planner you are.

 

1. Create a content plan and editorial calendar. It's not enough to rely on user conversations for your community's content stream. How-to documents, product road map updates, thought-leadership blogs, or any blog that informs and entertains (see blog tips) can go a long way towards engaging users and communicating key information to your community members. Curating content in your top places is a must-have activity lest the featured content becomes stale. Organizing content in meaningful ways within a place and pointing users to important content that already exists is part of this activity. Also, be sure to name content for easy searching and tag content with the applicable key words and phrases. At the end of the day, your editorial calendar should ensure that you are providing your audience with regular doses of content without leaving too much empty space for the crickets to chime in. I promise to write a blog on this topic soon.

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Thoughtful content provides value for the audience.

 

2. Create a communication plan. Different from the content mentioned in #6 above, community communications consist of community maintenance alerts, upgrade notifications, advertising new places, contest promotions and the like. Specifically for your community launch, you will have targeted communications about joining your community, how to login, and first steps to take once members have joined. Many of these communications will point to content that you've developed in your content plan and calendar. One of my favorite things to do is to write a blog on a subject, then create a short communication that points to the blog. Communications come in the form of System Announcements, Welcome emails, or other short formats. Make sure you are considering the different audiences in your community with the messages that pertain to them. Scheduling communications can happen on a scheduled or an as-needed basis. Be sure to consider the communication needs of both internal and external audiences if you are managing an external community. Examples of communication templates can be found in the Jive-n 8 Upgrade Planning Guide in the Jive Customers group.

 

3. Completed profiles equals connected users. It seems like such a small thing: a completed profile. Yet when community member profiles are incomplete or lack information, connecting users to one another becomes more challenging. How can users find an expert in a certain field if profiles are empty? For more details about why profiles are important in online communities, check out Jive's internal community manager blog on the subject <link>. Consider running a profile completion campaign where everyone with a completed profile by a certain date gets entered into a drawing to win a prize.  The prize could be monetary like an Amazon card, an iPad, or could be something as simple as lunch with an exec or a covered parking space in the winter. Here's why community profiles are important: Community Profiles Make Us Human

 

A completed profile can tell you a lot about a person.

 

4. Create a community help center. I have yet to manage a community that didn't need a help center. Let's face it, the wonderful world of an online community can be confusing and daunting to first-time users and anyone not comfortable jumping on the latest technological wave. Some basic how-to documents as well as short demo videos are a good idea in a The specified item was not found. space. Most importantly, create a simple document explaining the first 3-5 things you would like every community member to do. Keep it simple and include pictures. Once people get their feet wet doing small tasks in your community, they are more likely to try something on their own. Some communities require even more robust help centers. Here in the Jive Community we have Jive Support paired with the Jive Knowledge Base and Documentation. Get your knowledge on! For more information about using Jive's Support Center in your community, check out: Deep Dive: Support Center.

 

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Provide your community members with a place to get help and guidance for getting started.

 

5. Monitor the community. Actively listen to your community. Keep an eagle eye out for unanswered questions, critiques of your company, anyone possibly stirring up trouble like dissatisfied employees and spammers love to do. Also keep watch for really great discussions that could be propagated among other places, used to show community engagement or re-purposed as a company testimonial. Be sure to share any discussions that need additional input with the experts inside your company. Getting people the answers they need is critical to successful community engagement. Here's how social listening is critical for crisis communications: Crisis Communications in the Social Age

 

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Listen in on community discussions in order to fill the gaps with answers or experts.

 

6. Review what success looks like. In part 1 of this blog, you came up with some ideas of what success looks like for your community. During the first six-months you should revisit these goals and decide if they are working with what you are actually seeing happen with your use cases. Often what we think is a strong use case can end up transitioning into something else entirely based upon the real needs of people in your community. By being flexible with what you consider "success" to be your community can adapt and evolve based upon the needs of your members. This blog contains some great basics for measuring your community success: Beat the Monster: Measure the Success of Your Community

 

Stayed tuned next week for Part 3 of this blog series, Community Management Best Practices: Part 3

In Part II of the Six-Part Blog Series on Social Business Strategy, I discuss the need for starting small when attempting to get massive participation across your organization in your internal community.

 

Success with social business depends on getting widespread participation throughout your organization. There’s a paradox here - go for a big rollout and you could wind up with lackluster participation. Employees see that topics are sparse and conversations taper off before anything of value is delivered. Before you know it your social platform is a ghost town.

 

Starting small on the other hand gives you the option of delivering quality from the beginning. It’s much easier to draw people into conversations that are relevant and offer value. When you launch your social business on a small scale you have a better chance for managing the results.


Approach 1: Go Deep to Get Quality Conversations

 

conversation evangelists

One strategy for driving social adoption is to start small with a few conversations among people who are already engaged and eager to build your social intranet. This team will become your “conversation evangelists” as you roll out the platform to a wider audience.

 

Starting small lets your team establish “social norms” and conversation etiquette from the start. The good news here is that with robust moderation and proper guidelines conversational communities typically do an excellent job of self-policing. Your pilot team will be carving the first grooves that will direct the stream of conversation later on.

 

If there are compliance or liability issues in your company you can start working out best practices with your pilot team. Decide early on how to moderate topics while at the same time keeping conversation open and transparent.

 

Make sure that when you launch your social business strategy includes growth and maintenance phases. While a conversational community can be self-organizing it isn’t necessarily self-maintaining. Having a “conversational architect” involved in the later stages can help ensure that social interactions remain fresh, lively and focused on business goals at every stage.

 

Approach 2: Go Shallow for Widespread Engagement

 

shallow engagementAnother way to go small is to make your first company-wide conversations simple, light-hearted and fun. Don’t try to offer any deep knowledge management or inter-departmental collaboration at this point. Challenge employees to compete against senior leadership in a fitness challenge, a blood drive or contributions to a local charity.

 

Getting a lot of employees to contribute in a small way is a great way to generate enthusiasm. Keep an eye open for employees who naturally get involved and bring others into the conversation. These may be good recruits for “social business evangelists” with your next initiatives.

 

The key to success in social business is to have successful, engaging conversations early in the launch. Demonstrate value and get buy-in from employees. Then build on your success to move your strategy forward.

 

 

Want to know more? Read the White Paper on the Six Strategies for a Successful Social Business that will guide in building and implementing your strategy.

Everyday I experience first-hand the passion our customers feel about Jive. Today's example of such passion: the UnJiveWorld 2015 Conference. 

 

Due to a change in scheduling our yearly conference JiveWorld, we ended up having to skip the calendar year 2015. The response was incredible. Not only were customers missing JiveWorld as a part of their Autumn community activities, they went so far as to purpose creating their own JiveWorld to fill the gap! And thus, the idea for UnJiveWorld 2015 was born.

 

What is UnJiveWorld?

 

According to mack_torres, Bay Area User Group leader, "In an attempt to build on the momentum from last year's JiveWorld, the Bay Area User Group steering committee (specifically John Summers) came up with the idea to have an UnJiveWorld all day event sometime during the 2015 calendar year."

 

Using the Jive Community as a base for collaboration, Mahal and the rest of the Bay Area User Group collaborated on how they thought this could all come together.

 

"My thought was that UnJiveWorld could include mini-presentations by members of the users group, based on use cases rather than technology, so we can share how we are using the platform to meet use case business goals," stated kmcmahon. "For example, in my case, I'm an external support community and my main use case right now is an obvious one: call deflection. So I could do a mini presentation on how I'm using Jive to that end and what challenges I've faced, etc. And we could do a bunch of use cases for both internal and external."

 

The final proposal consisted of bringing together customers and partners who could speak on different topics of interest to the community. As a result, the UnJiveWorld 2015 place was created where members from across the community can contribute ideas they would like to see covered in the unconference agenda. Members then vote on these ideas in order to generate the final agenda.

 

Submit your idea for UnJiveWorld! Simply follow this template and submit an idea here.

 

Even though UnJiveWorld is the brainchild of the Bay Area user group, anyone who is interested can attend. For information on how to sign up, check out Save the date: Bay Area UnJiveWorld Conference October 15, 2015 in Santa Clara, CA or click on the Register to Attend link below.

 

Register to Attend

 

Date

Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

Time

8:00 am - 5:00 pm : Unconference

6:00 pm : After party (location TBD)

 

Unconference location

Hitachi Data Systems

2825 Lafayette St

Executive Briefing Center Lobby - MAP

Santa Clara, CA 95050

Customer host: Michelle Groff Burling

 

Some top session ideas include:

Gamification Session with Bunchball

Analytics: Telling the story of Engagement thru Metrics and KPIs

Challenges Facing Regulated Industries

 

A special shout-out goes to the Bay Area User Group planning team including: Mahal Torres, Kim Nelson, John Summers, Madalina Papacica, and Kathleen McMahon. At this time, several partners are sponsoring this event as well, including JCS Consulting and Bunchball.

 

Learn more today!

Best practices for community management: Pre-launch

 

This blog is Part 1 of a three-part series on Community Management Best Practices. In this blog series, we will address some of the key activities that should be a part of your community planning, launch and ongoing growth.

 

Let's face it, community management can be a sticky subject in some companies. Heck, some companies don't even think they need a community manager for their site! Here at Jive, we know there are some basic activities that will keep your community in great shape during the early phases as well as into the future. I'm going to share our top practices around the subject of community management.

 

Let's get this list going, starting with the most obvious:

 

1. Hire a community manager. A community, by its very definition, will contain people. People are living, breathing, questioning, noticing, and needful beings. I often liken a community to throwing a party or a running a hotel. Would you build a hotel and not hire a hotel manager? Would you throw a party then not stick around to make sure that people are fed, everyone has a drink, that folks are having fun? You need a community manager to make sure that you are accomplishing the major goals of your community and at the same time keeping your community members happy and connected. See: How to write a Community Manager job description Having a community manager on board is important to pre-launch planning activities as well as the ongoing health of your community. Don't breeze over this step. Stop right where you are and hire one right now.

 

ThinkstockPhotos-480893984.jpgFinding a community manager can be challenging but is well worth the effort in the long run.

 

2. Train your community manager. Every community has its own quirks, training your community manager in the details of your community is crucial for setting them up for success. What kind of things am I talking about? It could be as simple as educating them on the particulars of the system settings (are status updates turned on or off). If your community manager has experience in some areas of community management but not others, don't leave them to be blind-sided on the things they don't know to watch for. Training a CM can be done by the social and community team at your company (if you have one) or by the technology managers who are responsible for the system. You can also get the basics of CM training available here in the Jive Community (more modules in this training course are coming soon). Since Community Managers communicate to members on a wide variety of topics, they should also have a good handle on the culture of your company and have a strong understanding of your company's priorities and products.

 

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Take time to train your new community manager and it will pay off in the long run.

 

3. Establish the purpose and goals for your community. If you haven't done this already, establishing the mission, purpose and goals is a critical first step in community building. What is your community all about? What objectives is your community trying to achieve? Since priorities change over time, it's good to revisit the purpose and goals to make sure your community is still on track. If not, make adjustments. Anytime you bring a bunch of human beings together things can grow and change in organic ways. Be sure to stay in touch with what your community needs and how that maps to your company's priorities. More about creating a compelling Missions Statement for an internal community in this interview with Rachel Duran Ask The Expert - Launching an Internal Community.

 

4. Gather a community support team. Don't go it alone. Even if you are a community team of one, you can always establish a governance team or working group to help balance out the workload in your community. An official governance team is a great idea whenever challenging decisions or road map plans need to be made. A community working team is also important for fulfilling particular tasks such as site administration, moderation, subject matter expertise, gamification and content curation. Another great way to build up your community is by creating an advocate network. Advocates are active, engaged users that can act as your feet-on-the-street to help train users, answer questions, identify new use cases, and evangelize. For some really great blog posts on the topic by Claire Flanagan (past Jive customer and current Jive director), see Community Advocates: Your Secret Weapon in Going Global and Viral.

 

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A community team can help balance out the workload of your community.

 

5. Prioritize your use cases to design your site. Strong use cases are the foundation of your community. I honestly believe that the success of any community is dependent on the strength and solid planning of the use cases themselves. Some really obvious use cases for external communities are for customer support and product feedback. For internal communities, employee on-boarding or employee support are key use cases. Since use cases are unique for each community, it's a good idea to engage an expert in the development of your community strategy. Jive Professional Services and our Partner Community both offer this kind of strategy service. Or you can talk to other community managers (from both Internal Communities and External Communities) to find out what they are doing. Before your community launches, you should have some key "call-to-actions" related to your use cases built into the home page of your community. For more details on designing the look-and-feel of your community and home page development, see How to Design Your Jive community

 

6. Figure out what success looks like. Determining the metrics of success for your community is critical at any stage of community development. What is considered success during your community's first six months will be different than what you choose to measure after a year or two. You can measure both deep and wide when it comes to analytics so be sure to really spend some time thinking about what your community objectives are and how they can be measured rather than reporting on arbitrary numbers. Success metrics can be simple for the top level of your community (active members, growth in membership) and more complex as they related to specific use cases (active users versus contributing users, number of questions answered, support calls deflected, etc). For more info on Advanced Measurement tactics, watch this video from JiveWorld14: Advanced Measurement: Proving Business Value to Expand or Sustain Your Community

 

While this is just a short list, these are good practices to get your started before your community launches. What would you include in this list that I missed? I'd love to hear from you!

 

Stayed tuned next week for Part 2 of this blog series, Community Management Best Practices: Part 2

 

Jive Talks

I greatly enjoyed collaborating with Clarissa Viana, Community Manager from Plusoft, in order to share her workstyle with others. Clarissa jumped out at me because she's on the top 10 leader board in the External Communities group. That's a hard thing to do! Also, being from Brazil, I was curious if there were any tactics, technology, etc., that those in different areas around the globe aren't aware of yet. Get to know Clarissa!

 

Leigh: Where do you work?

Clarissa: I'm Head of Community Managers (hopefully, it'll make sense) at iCustomer, a company of the Plusoft Group, located in São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Here we help other companies implement their own communities, but since this is pretty new here in Brazil, we have a lot going on here.


Leigh: How would you describe your current job?

Clarissa: I help my boss with the strategic planning, I'm responsible for the health of the communities we implement (doing engagement, monitoring activity and creating reports) including our own internal community and I manage the work of the CMs below me (there's currently only one, but as we get other projects my team will grow).

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That's me and my boss, Thiago Velloso


Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what is your primary and secondary WorkType?

Clarissa: Yes, I am an Explorer and a Energizer.

 

Leigh: How do you think your WorkType plays into how you get work done in Jive?

Clarissa: My workstype plays well into my role as a community manager that needs to connect with everyone all the time and also help drive strategy. Seeing the big picture and having good ideas are awesome to help getting things started on the right foot.

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This picture I took before we started one of our strategical workshops


Leigh: So how do you leverage Jive technology to help companies work better together?

Clarissa: It helps people get things done in a easier and faster way. I see some of my friend's that don't 'Jive' and they have tons of emails, several meetings to attend and it gets in the way of actually doing your job. What I like most is the fact that you work closer with your entire team even though you're cities apart.


Leigh: What's your favorite part about implementing Jive communities for your clients?

Clarissa: I like showing them how their lives will be easier with a community, and I really love seeing the results. I also like sharing best practices, seeing people connecting with each other...


Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

Clarissa: PC


Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Clarissa: I have an iPhone, and it helps me answer things, and read discussions and documents when I'm on may way to work.


Leigh: Do you have a favorite editing tool?

Clarissa: I looove Jive for Office! I keep asking people that want to send me an email to post it on our Jive Community, specially through Jive for Office. You can do basically everything in the document without the need of logging in. It's perfect for someone that handles a lot of content on a daily basis.


Leigh: Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Clarissa: Engagement


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The gang from work. I made some great friends here!


Leigh: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Clarissa: I really like Spotify because of the variety of lists they have, and when I was able to run (I'm recovering from some ankle injuries), I was addicted to Nike Running. But I also really need my Reminders app (from the iPhone), the Google Agenda tool, my Moleskine Planner and some post-its - you can't only trust your memory to get things done


Leigh: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Clarissa: I was going to say a digital watch with a timer feature, but then I realized my favorite non-computer gadget is actually my Moleskine 18-months planner. It's one of those special themed editions, with the whole Peanuts Gang, and it helps me get all my weeks organized.

 

Leigh: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?

Clarissa: With reminders on my iPhone app, my planner (for personal appointments), and for professional tasks/ appointments, post-its, notes and lists on my notebook and sometimes, my memory.


Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

Clarissa: My work space is kind of messy, because I always have tons of things in my mind - but if you ask me for something, I'll know the place of all my things. And I like to add some touches of fun to it - because life is already too serious.
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I'm kind of addicted to energetic drinks... but I also love tea!


Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?

Clarissa: It depends on my mood, but mostly to EDM (electronic dance music) and Foo Fighters (huge fan of these guys)!

Leigh: I've been obsessed with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters for quite some time, too! So I'm right there with you, Clarissa.

Clarissa: I'm very proud to say that I've been to 2 of the 3 concerts Foo Fighters played in Sao Paulo (or Brazil), including their first solo concert that happened January 2015.


Leigh: What's your best time-saving trick?

Clarissa: Getting your priorities done before you open your email or your Jive inbox, otherwise, you'll be carried away with new tasks and problems.


Leigh: How do you balance work and life?

Clarissa: I try to set a time for leaving work - and try not to take it home with me. Besides, if I have a personal appointment, I try my best not to miss it or be late for it.

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The gang from my desk and my colleague's.


Leigh: What's your sleep routine like?

Clarissa: Between 5-7 hours are enough to make me feel rested.


Leigh: Are you more of an introvert, extrovert or ambivert?

Clarissa: I believe ambivert, because even though I talk a lot, I don't open myself to everyone.

Leigh: You might enjoy this article then, 21 signs you might be an ambivert from Buzzfeed.


Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

Clarissa: My mom always says "in the end, everything will be alright. If it's not alright, then, it's not over yet." And it is true, it helps me control my anxiety to get everything done right away.

Leigh: Love this!

 

Thanks so much, Clarissa, for sharing your workstyle with everyone. Keep up the great work!

 

Do you have questions for Clarissa? Extra points if you can identify all of the toys in the picture above!

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