Using Content to Build a Community

The Community ManagerThis week I participated in #cmgrchat, the Twitter chat for community managers co-founded in 2010 and hosted each week by #cmgrclass professors Jenn Pedde and Kelly Lux.  I discovered on Wednesday morning that the topic was “Using Content to Build a Community” – perfect, I thought, to cap off this semester.

This week’s Twitter chat was not my first #cmgrchat experience.  I previously participated in a #cmgrchat about a year ago while I was a #RotoloClass student, and I occasionally drop in and out of the Wednesday afternoon chats as my work schedule allows.   This week, I used TweetDeck to track the #cmgrchat hashtag and keep up with the conversation, which can sometimes be challenging given the volume of tweets.  TweetChat is another popular tool for participating in Twitter chats.

@KellyLux welcome to #cmgrclass@JPedde welcome to #cmgrclass







#cmgrchat Questions

This week’s chat had five questions.

1. What’s your primary content type?  Trust Building, Educational, User-Generated, Conversion, or Filtered? — Why?

2. What are some integral components of a content strategy?

3. In what ways do current community members contribute to your owned content (blogs, newsletters, web pages, etc.)?

4. What companies make tools that have community building in mind?  What do you use?

5. How often do you evaluate an owned/onsite content strategy?  And what does evaluation look like?


Community Manager Insights

About ten minutes were devoted to each question, with Jenn and Kelly alternating as questioners.  Most CMs provided answers to each question, but others dropped in and out of the chat according to their availability.  I observed commonalities within each set of responses, and noticed interesting outliers as well.

  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q1Content type: In response to question 1, most community managers participating in the chat seemed to report that they primarily used trust-building and/or educational content within their communities.  However, many expressed a goal of introducing more community-generated content in the future.


  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q1Content strategy components: Common responses to question 2 included alignment with organizational objectives and understanding of community members’ interests and needs.  Additionally, many community managers commented on the importance of a content calendar while also acknowledging the need to retain flexibility to respond to real-time news and issues.


#cmgrchat 042413 - Q3

  • Community member contributions: In reply to question 3, a common theme among chat participants was the use of community members to share CM-developed content, provide feedback on content, and act in a guest blogger capacity.  I was excited to see one of my answers to question 3 prompt interaction with another member in the chat!


  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q4Community building tools:  Chat participants named a range of tools they use to help build community; some I’ve used in my own community-building practice (HootSuite, StorifyTumblr), others I had heard of but not personally used (Google Hangouts and Alerts), and even more were new to me (CrowdBooster, SimplyMeasured, Sprout Social).  My motto is usually “show me the free” – and apparently I’m not the only one – but I’m definitely open to investigating some of the paid services.


  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q5Content strategy evaluation: In answer to the final question, CMs responded that they analyze content for efficacy based on metrics and community feedback.  Reporting was a common tool, occurring on a range of time frames from quarterly, biweekly, weekly, and even more frequently.  I was impressed by the CMs’ diligence and couldn’t help but feel like I fall into the “not often enough” category.


A Sense of Community

What strikes me about #cmgrchat is the sense of community among the contributors.  Even after only a handful of appearances on my part, I recognized certain names as regular attendees.  Participants are quick to respond to, retweet, or mention comments that they find insightful – including tweets from newcomers.  (#cmgrchat is definitely not a good old girls’ or boys’ network!)  If you haven’t yet taken in a #cmgrchat, I highly recommend it: it’s acknowledged as the go-to resource for community managers, and has even cracked the Twitter trending topics list.  After my experience this week, I intend to participate more regularly to learn from this open and resourceful community.

Have you ever participated in a Twitter chat, #cmgrchat or otherwise?  What do you find most useful?

Check out my Storify of this week’s #cmgrchat here.  Visit the basis for this week’s chat, The Community Manager’s “Using Content to Build a Community” by Rebecca Lindegren, here, and tune in to #cmgrchat each Wednesday at 2pm ET.

(Screen shots of 4.24.13 #cmgrchat tweets taken by author.  Featured image’s word cloud created by author using Wordle.)

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