You may have noticed that I’m often skeptical when talking about community management. Not because I don’t believe in it but because its importance and role are so impressive that it must not be led astray or neglected.
When talking about community management, internal and external, there are risks and constraints to take into consideration not to waste its potential. Many things (and sometimes rubbish) can be read about it and think there is a real risk for the concept to be thrown away because of too much charlatanism.
In my opinion, some things have to be kept in mind :
– Community management is not the answer to every organization problem, either with employees or with a wider ecosystem. But it’s a way to make new things or to do in a new and more effective way things that used to be made in an unappropriate fashion. In short it allows to explore new fields of value which we’re not aware of the extent. It’s also something that has to articulate with the rest of the organization.
– it’s a more serious business than a “noise-maker” or “energizer” job. Those who’ll read the excellent Social Networking for business will discover an great mindmap of the responsabilities that belong to the role that should make the awae of the complexity and the richness of the role.
I don’t know how things are doing in other countries (in fact I do…and that what’s scares me) but the fact that, in France, the fact that community management is often a job for young employees or even interns is really worrying. My opinion made one of my readers angry once (on the french version of this post I almost was insulted by someone telling me that youngs were better community managers than experimented peple, that they had the mindset, the 2.0 attitude and knew the tools but posts like this oneÂ [fr] makes me think I’m right (for non french speaking people, in this post the author was discussing the fact community management positions often were junior ones and often poorly paid while it’s said being so strategic…).
The good news is that lots of people are taking it very seriously and share enough things in an ongoing improvement approach that they could build a corpus of knowledge and best practices related to community management. The second good news is that they decided to share it with us in a report than can be downloaded for free : “The State of Community management report“.
In such a technical and human matter, there can’t be any magical recipe. On the other hand there are things that have to be taken into account to work one’s strategy and operating model out. Then, it has to be turned into faction, what need adaptation to each particular context. At this point, feedbacks from those who faced similar situations are key. That’s what the Community Roundtable offers in its report :
– know what we’re talking about
– know the challenges that have to be faced
– have “food for thought” to face them and be successful in one’s context.
This may be seem quite simple but the value is impressive for both community managers (even experienced) and organization who want to define their strategy, hire the right person and need insights to carry on. When tackling such a challenge, better try to understand its complexity first instead of trying anything and say “if only I had known…..”
Enjoy your reading !