Daily Archives: May 9, 2013

Scaling, Prioritizing and Community Management

This week’s topic for #CMGRclass was about scaling your online community. Richard Millington, in Buzzing Communities, talks about when a community grows, the community manager may become overwhelmed with tasks that one person cannot complete on their own.

RIchard Millington, founder of FeverBee

Richard Millington, founder of FeverBee

Community managers have tons of responsibility, and once it becomes to much for one person, Millington suggests recruiting members of your online community to help so that you can focus on more important things. On his website, he has written a post about 11 Processes for Scaling Online Communities. Examples of these processes include:

  • Recruiting, training, managing and motivating volunteers
  • Encouraging members to submit their own news
  • Teaching volunteers how to recruit and train other volunteers
  • Allowing members to create their own groups, events, and discussions

There are pros and cons to scaling your online community. Some things to consider are:

Pros

-Allows the community manager to focus on more important things such as technical problems, strategy and analytics.

-Gives your community members a sense of responsibility

-Allows your community members to be more involved in their online community

-Community members can come up with their own content/discussion topics that are of interest to them

-By having more community members as moderators, you can make sure only the best content circulates within your community

Cons

-Giving too much responsibility to community members can be overwhelming to them

-Scaling your online community often changes the community manager’s job description; How does the community manager’s role change as the community grows?

-You need to make sure that your community members can be trusted and are responsible

-Community members essentially are just volunteers. The community manager will need to make sure to bestow responsibility to members who will take the job just as seriously as the CM

-The community manager will need to find a balance between giving away enough responsibility without loosing control of the community and its members

Scaling your community, might not be a good fit for you as a community manager or for your community at its current stage. What can you do instead? PRIORITIZE.

Scaling, Prioritizing and Community Management

The laundry list of things that a community manager has to do seems endless, and it is. But making sure that you get the right tasks completed first makes all the difference. Richard Millington  also has a post about what tasks community managers should prioritize.

Here are a few things that a community manager should focus on to make their lives easier:

  1. content calendarCreating, updating and following your content calendar
  2. Write/draft content in advance so you’re not scrambling the day before or the day of
  3. Create a weekly, monthly, yearly strategy to make sure you are reaching your goals
  4. Develop your community (e.g. holding events, contacting key members, reaching out to potential new members, etc.)
  5. Measuring your community and collecting/analyzing data about them
  6. Plan ahead as much as possible

Have you been successful in scaling your online community? What is holding you back? Do you have tasks to be added to this list to keep you on track? Please share what you find helpful in prioritizing your community manager work.

Data: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Online Communities

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8saYbWFg3A0/USL-LFDC3rI/AAAAAAAAPK0/jhSuTTkD0Pw/s1600/dataprocessing.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8saYbWFg3A0/USL-LFDC3rI/AAAAAAAAPK0/jhSuTTkD0Pw/s1600/dataprocessing.jpg

In the 10th ProCommunity podcast entitled “How to Use Data for Better Online Community Management” Josh Paul interviews Rich Millington, founder of FeverBee and the Pillar Summit, on some of the tactics that have made him a frontrunner in the still-emerging field of community management.  And if you read the title of that podcast, you being the astute and educated reader you are, may have surmised that one of the secret ingredients to Millington’s success has been his knowledge, use, and championship of, DATA!

Of his work helping companies and community managers become the all-stars that lie right under the cusp of glory, Millington had this to say:

“The approach we always recommend is the data-driven approach. We think it’s absolutely of paramount importance to make sure that you are viewing your data and you are getting that information so you can see what really matter. We make sure community managers are tracking their data so they know where they are now, then they track the data so they know where to go next. “

For Millington, data is a yellow brick road that leads to effective work instead of characters missing very important characteristics, green profits instead of an emerald city.

I could not agree more with Millington if I was charmed with an imperio curse and told to do so. Apparently there are a few authors/community managers out there who share my enthusiasm, sans-weird-harry-potter-spell-or-otherwise.

Thomas Kim, Product Manager of Social Technologies as Rio SEO, wrote a piece entitled How Big Data Powers Community Managemet for WOMMA. He stringently believes that as social media grows, and company departments that manage social media strategies and community management demand increasingly heftier shares of the overall budget, the burden of justifying that funding lies with those who work in social. The data is necessary for countless reasons, but especially for providing evidence of the worth of social campaigns that may have few measurable deliverables.

“Discrete and clear objectives that help to define a deliberate strategy for social media, or marketing actions that support it, often begin and end with the collection and interpretation of big data,” says Kim.

This brings me to my closing point, which is DATA NEVER LIES. Except when its tampered with. But hopefully that not being the case, data can offer clarity of purpose and of past performance that no self-evaluation, quarterly review or consumer survey could ever touch. Looking at the data will tell you what topics your community is most receptive to, what time of the day is the best to break news or rekindle a conversation in embers. Data will give you the pulse, blood pressure, and temperature of everything that is your community. And for that, I claim data is not going anywhere, it is merely going to become more important in all aspects of life and business, and considerably so in community management.