Last week I started working for SU Arts Engage (a non-profit organization that brings performing artists to the Syracuse area) as one of the two Production Coordinators hired through Imagining America. In addition to assisting with visiting artists, I am in charge of maintaining their website, Facebook and Twitter presence. I’m also in charge of deciding if they should appear on other forms of social media (Pinterest, YouTube, etc.) and whether using a social media aggregate, like RebelMouse, would be beneficial.
I knew when I started working for Arts Engage that I wanted to make a difference: get more likes on Facebook, gain more followers on Twitter and increase traffic to their main site. What I didn’t know, and am still in the process of perfecting, is how to go about achieving that.
Thankfully in #CMGRclass we’re reading, “Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities” by Richard Millington (founder of FeverBee, a community consultancy).
Early on in the book Millington (2012) states that there are eight elements for a community management framework (p.18):
- Strategy: Establishing and executing the strategy for developing the community.
- Growth: Increase membership of the community and convert newcomers into regulars.
- Content: Create, edit, facilitate, and solicit content for the community.
- Moderation: Remove obstacles to participation and encourage members to make contributions.
- Events and Activities: Create and facilitate events to keep members engaged.
- Relationship and Influence: Build relationships with key members and gain influence within the community.
- Business Integration: Advocate internally within the organization and integrate business processes with community efforts.
- User Experience: Improve the community platforms and participation experience for members.
Before reading Millington’s book, I would not have described the work I’m doing for Arts Engage as “Community Management,” I had been describing that part of my job as being a Social Media Strategist. It wasn’t until after reading about the eight elements that I noticed that essentially I am acting as a Community Manager because I will eventually be working with the offline community as well as the online one.
Another reading for class this week was found on the FeverBee website which outlined five different types of communities:
- Interest: Communities of people who share the same interest or passion.
- Action: Communities of people trying to bring about change.
- Place: Communities of people brought together by geographic boundaries.
- Practice: Communities of people in the same profession or undertake the same activities.
- Circumstance: Communities of people brought together by external events and/or situations.
Millington also makes a point to say that Interest communities are the hardest types to develop because it competes with our “mental leisure time.” Arts Engage does fall under the “Interest Community” label but one could argue that it also falls under “Practice Community.” Either way, I have my work cut out for me.
There were many instances while reading the first chapter where I found myself highlighting, underlining and marking the pages I found to be the most interesting or that held suggestions of what I could do to improve our presence. One of those was a step-by-step instruction on how to create a strategy for your community based on where in the four stages of a community lifecycle your organization happens to be (inception, establishment, maturity or mitosis). Even though the Arts Engage Facebook has been active for a few years, it’s still in the inception stage.
I highly recommend Millington’s book for anyone interested in community management or for ways to increase their social media presence. Happy reading!