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!