Assorted highlights from CR’s 2011 State of Community Management

Posted on: April 26, 2011

Modified and emphasized snippets from the Community Roundtable’s 2011 State of Community Management – which tally with my experience. Their report is based on lessons learned from an impressive mix of small and large companies including HP, Unilever and Cisco and can be found below…

Big Picture

  • With the social web the informality of information shared has increased dramatically now that communication channels (and with it editing) are not required
  • At its most strategic, community management is about altering how costs and values are accrued by organisations and delivered to the market and in so doing, changing the business model
  • Eight competencies must be addressed to build a successful community or social business: Strategy, Leadership, Culture, Community Management, Content and programming, Policies and governance, Tools, Metrics and Measurement
  • Organisations are presented with the challenge of establishing [social media] economies of scale – but human beings have never been easy to scale
  • Think to what social really means: Healthy communities scale because members evolve into citizens that contribute meaningfully to its society


  • Remember: Success [for enterprise] depends on transforming members into customers
  • Game changing community activity may not be very sexy – small nudges here and there, making a comment at the right time, being patient and kind
  • If community management had to be boiled down to a single philosophy, it would hinge on engaging people who share the same passions – when you are thinking about community and creating engagement, unless you are about a lifestyle, passion or cause, do not build your community around your brand (but a social object)
  • Find green fields – tap into a market or topics that have not been fatigued by too much attention
  • Don’t replace what works – supplement with community / social media activity (email is still quite effective for many audiences)
  • The community manager needs the authority to run the community, to say what needs to be said, to go directly to the right source for answers and to be able to actually set solutions in motion in the organisation
  • Consider having a separate area for more light-hearted, humorous conversations that may also be off-topic from the dialogue in the regular community
  • Understand the four motivations behind giving and sharing: altruism, enjoyment, status seeking, reputation seeking
  • Content strategy will evolve as a community matures and begins to generate more content through member contributions – this needs to be focussed on both audience and goals (Don’t forget lurkers).
  • On Facebook – ensure people are becoming fans of brand pages and not just associated community pages (!) – regularly search these pages

Winning Internally

  • Give decision-makers a taste of the competition – show the C-Suite what your competitors are doing with social media – both what they are doing well and where they could stand to improve. Play by their rules to get them in the game
  • Start small and creative
  • Using metrics to support a story maximises the impact of data
  • If trying to move toward a more social business – bad news is the culture of internal information sharing is decidedly mixed with 19% of respondents viewing their organizational culture as either controlling or downright paranoid – for a place to start, microblogging is available to over 51% of the surveyed [enterprise] population, perhaps due to Yammer (Twitter for enterprises). The Deloitte Yammer case study is a good one.


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