Sunday 20 April 2014

2011 State of Community Management Report

We recently released our 2011 State of Community Management Report and couldn’t be happier with the early feedback. While it’s a long read (95 pages), people seem to be digging in and really getting a lot out of it. It’s based on both the interactions of members in TheCR Network and a community maturity survey we conducted late last year.

We structure the report around our Community Maturity Model, highlighting lessons learned around each of the eight competencies in the model. Here are five high level insights from the report:

  1. Community management is not about reinventing the wheel. Though we treat it like a novel concept, community management actually reflects historical approaches to business. Before mass media, businesses were built on relationships. Social media is bringing back that sense of community.
  2. 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.
  3. Start small and creative. The best way to receive funding and approval for a growing social initiative is to create a project plan small enough to be palatable to everyone. Then, when this small experiment succeeds and your business case is proven, you can scale up from there.
  4. Involve your community offline. Giving community members the opportunity to interact with one other and your leaders is a good way to establish trust and confidence within the community. These interactions also offer you the tools for promoting the community to leaders inside your organization – they can see first-hand what sorts of insights can be gained.
  5. Understand the difference between expertise and attributes when hiring for community management. The top attributes of a Community Manager are the desire to be helpful, someone who is concise and credible, a sense of humor, curiosity, fearlessness, influential, persuasive, diplomatic, patient and mature. The expertise required for the role of community manager is strategic business acumen combined with exceptional communication and people skills.

The report includes survey results, qualitative lessons learned, our analysis of how the community management discipline is changing and a list of experts and references for further research. Combined with The 2010 State of Community Management report, practitioners have a robust reference document to help them:

  • Understand the discipline of community management
  • Provide a training resource to new community managers
  • Better plan and support social business and community initiatives
  • Find inspiration and new approaches to common challenges

This report could not have been developed without the perspectives of our members, the insights from experts we have had as guests (follow them via our Twitter list), and the support of the report sponsors: Acquia, Enterprise 2.0, Farland Group, Igloo Software, Moxie Software, Rosetta, and Social Media Today. We have done our best to curate and assemble those perspectives, insights, and support in a way that provides you with a valuable resource.

Jim Storer is the Co-Founder of The Community Roundtable, a peer network for community managers and social business strategists. He and his business partner Rachel Happe are dedicated to furthering the discipline of community management.

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