The Twelve Days of Community Management Christmas (Part One)

The holiday season is officially upon us so I thought this was the perfect time to share a few of my top tips for Community Manager success in your enterprise social network that we shall call the Twelve Days of Community Management Christmas (which can be sung to the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas if you dare!). Today we'll be covering the first six tips and later this week the rest of the series will be posted, so be sure to check back to get coverage of all twelve.

On the first day of Christmas… Live and breathe your vision

Creating a vision is vital to your success. A vision that encompasses the entire network should outline what we are here to achieve and set the tone for what occurs within your community. This should be tied back to the company vision and promote the values of your organization. At a micro-level each community should have its own vision and purpose. This should be a simple statement that clearly lays out what your members can expect to see and do in each community.

On the second day of Christmas… Remember the three C’s!

The three C’s of online community are: Content, creates Conversation that builds Community. How to do this is simple; seed the conversation whenever you can, curate content from the internet, blog posts, news items; discuss current events in your organization or link posts to current affairs. Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions and let community form around topics of interest and work. If you can get this right, you are light years ahead on the path to engagement!

On the third day of Christmas… Set standards and adhere to them

Set governance standards for your community. They could be design and layout principles; guidelines for conversation; a reminder about your company’s social media policy and employee code of conduct; or a simple one-pager outlining what you expect of community members. These should not be a set of rules or “do not’s” but an empowering and pro-active series of statements which encourage and reward good behavior. Don’t sound like the police, assume everyone wants to do the right thing (which they do, more often than not) and encourage them to keep on doing it!

On the fourth day of Christmas… Recognise your VIP’s

A network of advocates is your biggest ally as you grow adoption and increase usage of new communication and work tools like your social network and collaboration software. When you identify a champion, shout out to them LOUD! Connect these champions in their own network and encourage them to connect off-line by hosting special events that they can attend (both on or offline). Roll out the red carpet for these guys, they are going to directly help you achieve your goals.

On the fifth day of Christmas… Online interaction should always lead to offline outcomes

Keep this in the back of your mind at all times, because in enterprise social everything that happens should be leading a better outcome for your business even if it’s not glaringly obvious. This could be a better or new relationship formed, a new way of doing something, better understanding of your corporate message by staff, more cross divisional collaboration, smarter ways of working, or just simply more love in da house! Look for the end point and ask yourself how what you are doing impacts the way your company does business.

On the sixth day of Christmas… Encourage social conversation too (not just work!)

This is so important and nothing to be scared of! Allowing community to form around points of interest creates important bonds within your community. Some examples might be interest groups that are about food and restaurants, wine appreciation, child-care, music tastes, or sporting interests! These are the conversations that allow your employees to relate to each other and thus work better together. Social conversation is also a great entry point for many participants, a way to get their feet wet so to speak! I encourage you to try this as an adoption strategy for new launches and new communities. The rule of thumb is that with proper guidance, within 3-6 months the social should give way to more business focused use.

They are already happening in the kitchen, in the coffee shop, or in the elevator and I encourage you to nurture and promote them in your own social network too. I think the right ratio is about 80:20 (work:chatter) but every company is different so it’s up to you to get a feel for what’s right for you!

Days seven through twelve coming soon...

Stay tuned to this blog for the remaining six days of Christmas, which will be posted later this week. And if you have feedback or any additional community management ideas to share, please leave a comment. Thank you.

Update: The second blog in this series, has been posted. Read it here.

Note: Luke is our resident guru Director of Community and he bodes from Australia. He insists on maintaining Australian spelling in his posts, so please excuse what may be considered typos by some of here in the United States!

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