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Five Findings on Community Management

If you haven’t seen it already, last week Jim Storer and The Community Roundtable team released their 2011 State of Community Management Report. I’m just getting my hands on it now as I was out on vacation last week (thank a niece and nephew who had to go to Disney World!). But I was happy to come back to see the report was released! The report compiles lessons learned and facts from the past year that have been discussed by members and outlines Best Practices from Community, Social Media, & Social Business Practitioners.

This report is a great guide in this time of rapid growth of adoption of social business. As the report states, “Last year social business came of age as organizations got serious about executing in a new, more interactive and collaborative way. These organizations understand that using social technologies successfully requires both business process adaptation and people that understand how to manage these new social environments – at both a tactical and a strategic level.”

The report thoroughly discusses best practices in strategy, leadership, culture, community management, content & programming, policies & governance, tools, and metrics. And while there are plenty of thoughts and best practices across all these areas, these five stuck with me:

  • Nothing grows in a sandbox. If you want to see growth, you need to build a garden (i.e. seed it with content, interaction, etc.).
  • Social media & community are not the same, but should be linked. Use social media as an extension of your community. The idea is not to replace anything that happens in the communities, but just extend it.
  • Community management isn’t just a role – it’s a perspective. Community management is emerging as a philosophy and way of thinking about a functional discipline, rather than simply a role to be filled. A community-minded leader values transparency, engages with various constituencies, solicits feedback, promotes inclusion, and supports and shares other people’s ideas.
  • You are part of a bigger ecosystem. The more you think about your organization as part of a larger network, the better you’ll connect with those you serve – and others that could positively or negatively impact their decisions.
  • Keep your eye on the prize. Always present your case to executives in relation to your business objectives. This is the only language the C-Suite understands. By connecting social with objectives, you show that you have the same core focus they do.

As the need for creating communities to execute a social business strategy grows, a tool such as this is a great guide to successfully deploy a social business community such as Drupal Commons. I encourage you to download the report – and I would love to hear your thoughts or your own best practices.

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