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This is my second time celebrating Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD), but my appreciation for the role and my company has grown exponentially since last year. When I accepted the community manager position at Social Edge, I knew I’d see a side of social collaboration and Jive Software that I’d never experienced as an end user.  I looked forward to learning new skills and facing new challenges. But this year, I learned one of the best parts about being a community manager in Jive is the continued support you receive from your colleagues.


As a community manager, you try and maintain an optimistic attitude when the going gets tough. Sometimes you try a new engagement strategy that you’re sure will jumpstart a community, and the opposite occurs. But then there are those times when a new skill takes on new meaning.


I remember when a colleague and I were brainstorming ways to enhance our employee training program and content. We decided to get creative, have some fun, and produce our own training videos. They’re visually engaging, employees can watch them at their own pace, and they’d always be available. Although it was a grand idea, I was unsure how to begin. Neither of us had ever recorded videos before. My colleague sensed my self doubt and filled me with words of encouragement. So, I had my first go at it and it was…less than perfect. I was nervous, my voice was shaky, the editing needed more… editing. Not to mention it took me almost ten hours. But after a week or two I started to get the hang of it and became more confident in myself. As a test, I posted one of my videos in our internal Social Edge community for another person to review. I left my desk, came back and saw support from almost all of my colleagues. “Way to go!” “Keep at it! You’re doing great!” “This is awesome!” I didn’t solicit comments from them, but they cheered me on anyway.


Since then, I’ve enjoyed making a number of videos to help others better understand how to use Jive, and get more comfortable with social collaboration. These videos are like mini-tutoring sessions, since I can literally show and tell how to perform a task or create content. They’ve really helped me connect to my end users, and better understand how I can help them. Transparency in social collaboration makes that possible.


You can’t appreciate community managers without a community to begin with. So I want to say thanks to all of my amazing coworkers for the support you’ve shown me over the past year. I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring and the new skills I’ll learn!

If you're a community manager, and want to share some of your successes (or show off your battle scars!), we'd love to hear from you. Social Edge is hosting its socbiztalk tweetchat on Monday, 1/27 at 12:15 pm EST, to celebrate Community Manager Appreciation Day ( cmad ). Follow @social_edge or join via twitter at  #socbiztalk - Where we get social.

 

As Jive community managers ourselves, we know that building a community, engaging users, and creating content while simultaneously courting executive buy-in, has its challenges. But we know the rewards can be just as fulfilling, especially when we help people make connections. So we're gathering our community manager friends (both Jive External Communities and Jive Internal Communities !) and taking some time to chat on Monday. We will discuss best practices, secrets of success, engagement strategies, how the role has changed, and the future of community management. Plus, we'll talk about how lucky we are to do what we love, while recognizing how hard it can be, and encourage each other in the process. See you Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

Social Edge Consulting - GTM Collaboration Group

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1. Be Personable, Not Perfect

You already know this— Transparency IS social business. Fostering an open, enthusiastic environment is integral to the success of any social group. However, many community managers get stuck on presenting only the “perfect post", and over-analyzing every word. While it's great to strive for your content to be impressive, hyper-analyzing them down to a pulp really isn't what social business is about. To combat this, I always recommend clients make their community presence slightly vulnerable from time to time. It really helps to share a goofy personal story or inspiring tales of your own challenges and missteps. These methods will not only make you a more personable, well-rounded community manager, but will also reduce the "untouchable factor" of your dominant role. In due time, this will ease and entice your more hesitant community members to contribute their stories as well. Always set an honorable standard, but don't make the standard unattainable!

 

2. Don't Change Others; Change Their Work Methods

Community managers are often the most sociable and chatty in communities, but they know that not everyone will follow their lead. Don't expect everyone to be energetic and talkative throughout the community. At the end of the day, it's all about changing how work gets done. And the first part of facilitating that is to inspire --not pressure-- users to visualize the benefits and personal rewards. Coax community members slowly from their unique and multilayered comfort zones, and present them with real statistics that prove social business works. At the beginning of a potential client's Jive journey, my team organizes their use cases and connects them directly to potential return on investment and workflow improvement. You'll need to remind them of this and be patient along the way, and reward even the tiniest changes in adoption.


3. Scrutinize & Tailor Your Engagement Techniques

Do not lead your community with the flawed perspective that one size fits all. End users are not in a position to decode complicated puzzles and toil over nebulous information. Once a user is derailed by noisy training documents and engagement strategies, the likelihood of returning to the community is lower. Since full participation is essential, your engagement approaches deserve constant attention, devotion, and modification. Begin by analyzing your wide range of community members, then launching a subsequent array of diverse materials that have potential to sway even the most rigid of users. Regularly gauge what works by viewing page visits, bookmarks, and community manager reports. In client communities, I often offer a mixture of How-To videos, written Tutorials, and assorted Quick Tips that are straightforward and give the user several different outlets to learn. For members that need more personal interaction, I offer a collaborative "How Do I?"-style space, where they can ask questions and schedule one-on-one time if need be. Lastly, don't be afraid to make a change! It's better to give end users more options than none at all.


CC: Jive External Communities / Jive Internal Communities

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We’re thrilled to announce that Jive has awarded us their Consulting Partner MVP of the Year Award (2013). We were chosen because of our close collaboration with Jive to drive customer success and help organizations achieve real business value from their Jive communities.

For more information, see our press release, and check back next week when our president, Andrew Kratz, shares his thoughts on what this award means to Social Edge. Thanks to Jive Software for this great honor, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership even more in 2014.

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Social Edge President Andrew Kratz with Tina Jones VP of Global Alliances, Jive Software