What’s all this Community Management stuff?

For our thought leaders, community management was a long time coming. Dell, Gatorade and others have implemented community management and the command centers that accompany them. However, many companies, especially those I work with in pharma, are still trying to figure out the steps of community management. So, since it’s on my brain, I figured – why not write about it. Maybe others are wondering, what is all this community management stuff?

Well, if Mr. Webster was here, I think he might say that community management is multi-discipline practice that involves monitoring, understanding, supporting and engaging within an online community to build and nurture long-term relationships to ultimately foster brand loyalty. (I made that up myself! Mom would be proud.) Through this engagement and interaction, community managers help find and build partnerships within the online community and online influencers. Since real-time engagement requires time, resources and a long-term commitment, many companies are hesitant. Additionally, the creation of this role often brings to light new organizational challenges, including operations, governance, processes, resource limitations and the company’s approach to social media. If this is you, take the time to work out these kinks, prepare prepare prepare before you ever step foot into the community.

Community management requires commitment, compassion, relationship building, transparency and authenticity. Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group Partner and Forbes columnist, shared the roles that each Community Manager must take on in order to be successful – coining them the Four Tenets of a Community Manager. For me, engaging online requires all of these tenets and attributes – but really, what is at the root of community management is being human. Customers no longer want to speak and read your corporate mumbo-jumbo. We want to talk to real people. That’s the number one role of good community manager – serving the community and their needs, through the resources and value-add of the company. So when you’re asking “what’s all this community management stuff,” start with – “what can I do better to serve my customers” or more simply, “how can I help?”

Are there brands you think could do a better job with community management? Are there ones you really like?

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Posted on January 24, 2011, in Corp Comms, Leadership/Management, social media. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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