Archive Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Become a Community Manager Rockstar

How to become a Community Manager Rockstar

The one ingredient any social network needs is great community management.

So what do you need to be a rockstar community manager?

How do you become the Keith Richards of this community management malarky?

[By the way, this is about community management inside a business in enterprise social networks, but much of it relates to external too]

Grab your axe and read on....​

The make-up of the Community Manager Rockstar (CMR)

The glue that binds
The CMR is the glue that holds the community together. The 'glue that binds' if you like. They build the community, they nurture the people and the conversations, they make sure things are moving in the right direction. What's the right direction? Well, that's for the CMR to figure out! You see, as well as being the eyes and ears on the ground, they also need a strong idea of where the community needs to get to.

Business acumen
The CMR understands the company culture and is super-knowledgeable about strategic business initiatives in the company. They are not only the effective 'glue' in the team but they have business acumen too. They understand what the company is trying to do. They don't side themselves with departmental silos.

Aside: When the Rolling Stones needed a replacement guitarist in the early 70's they were stumped at first. Who on earth could sit in with the biggest rock band in the world? There were tons of proficient guitarists out there who knew all the right chops. But what set aside the one they went for in the end was that he had a deep appreciation for the blues. He knew where their brand of rock music originated from and where it was heading. The CMR is no different. They not only knows the chops, they know about the business on a deep level. They appreciate where the business has come from and where it's heading. Not necessary for your average community manager, but who wants average. We are talking Rockstar proportions here.

Goal generator
They identify goals for the community. They don't just do. They think strategically - then do. But they don't stick to their plans at the mercy of common sense. They are willing to tweak their direction as the community grows.

Champion wrangler
They are super connectors and are constantly scouting new champions in the organisation to spread the word. They wrangle the best talent, the people who are genuinely passionate about social, and get them all gee'ed up to help out.

Undetered warrior
The CMR gets pushed back all the time. They are sometimes seen as big time wasters. Are they put off? Hell no! This just gets them even more pumped! You see the CMR is on a mission to change how people think. This is personal, baby. The CMR isn't 'rolling out yet another IT platform' they are changing how companies work from the inside, like some stealth ninja

Constant gardener
If you've ever tried your hand at gardening, you'll know that nothing is instantaneous. The rewards come with the passing of time. The clematis that never did much last year will bloom this year. The honeysuckle you over pruned never amounted to much. That thing you thought was a weed turned out the be the pride of your crop. The CMR knows community management is the same, and is suitably patient. The rewards come in time, when you least expect them. 

The CMR role is not for the faint-hearted. You need courage and plenty of guts to stay the course. In the same way that Odysseus on his great return was tempted by the Sirens, but strapped himself to the mast, the CMR must also realise they'll be tempted by false dawns. By mirages. They'll be lured into taking the easy path. But they're in it for the long haul. They're world changers. 

Now what's more rock n roll than that?!!​

Coming soon...Community Management Mastery Program

I am working on a course about this community management that is coming very soon. It's going to be awesome (if I do say so myself!). Register your interest below to get early bird discounts...

community management mastery program

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9 Ninja Moves For Your Intranet Social Network

9 Ninja Moves for your Intranet Social Network

Ask anyone who's introduced social networking to a company and they'll have a whole list of do's and don'ts, and a fair few war wounds.

Here are my 9 stealth 'Ninja Moves' for getting your social network rocking and a reeling. They're taken from my new book How to Ignite your Enterprise Social Network which you can grab for free.

Which Ninja Moves would you add? Add them in the comments...

BONUS: Check out the list of remarkably silly but amusing Ninja Facts below the article called  'everything you ever wanted to know about Ninjas, but were too afraid to ask'. 

Ninja Move #1: Get leadership buy in

Go to senior leadership to ask for their support. Sounds simple? It may not be, but know this: without their support your chance of making the ESN a success is seriously tricky.

Why? Because leaders set the tone for the business. If they aren’t involved (or at the very least know about the intranet social network and are vocally supportive about it) the people who work for them won’t see it as a worthwhile thing.

Does this mean you need to take this to your executive committee? No, not necessarily. You can pick leaders off one by one.

Even having just one leader who is vocal and supportive is a huge start.

Ninja Move #2: Focus on the low hanging fruit

Don’t go big bang with your social network. Pick off areas of the organisation that are crying out for a social network to help them do x?

But what is that x? It’s your job to find out. Speak to the team and understand what’s not working well and answer this: How will using a social network help them?

Don’t fall into the trap of not being entirely clear yourself and peddle the "oh, a social network can help you in lots of ways". No. Be specific.

Understand a pain point, think of how the social network can help them, then apply the band aid (the social network is the band aid, yes, poor analogy I know).

See if it works? If it does, well done. You've just got your first success story.

Ninja Move #3: Create a kick ass training guide

An absolutely killer training guide for how to use your intranet social network is priceless.

All those ‘how do I…?’ questions can be covered here, saving you a ton of time repeating the same old answers.

Better still, as new questions come about you can add them to the guide and re-issue it regularly, keeping it nice and up-to-date.

Whenever you spot someone in trouble, direct them to the guide.

Pin the guide in a really prominent place on the front of your social network, reference it in training guides, print off a few copies and leave them by the water cooler.

Ninja Move #4: Create a help group

You want to create a place where community members can help each other.

So create a help group / community and make it the home for questions.

Reference it throughout your training guide, at the beginning, middle and end, making sure people know if they have questions about the social network to make the help group their first port of call.

Ninja Move #5: Provide ace customer service

You know the experience of calling a helpdesk, being put on hold and finally getting through to someone who can’t help you anyway. Frustrating? You bet.

So when someone in need of help goes to your help group and asks a question, make sure you’re on it.

Most intranet social networks allow you to set up alerts for specific groups, so you can jump right in there with a helping hand.

Another way to be the first to know when someone needs help is to set up keyword tracking. Sounds complicated but it isn’t. Find out if your social network lets you track certain words such as ‘help’ and ‘please’. Once someone posts something using one of those words, it gets flagged to you, and you’re in there like a knight in shining armour.

It creates exceptional customer service when you do it right.

Ninja Move #6: Create a nerve centre

To be the eyes and ears of your social network, you need to pick up what’s happening as soon as it is. Therefore as well as the above, it’s a great idea to have a secondary screen showing an all company feed.

Use a secondary desktop monitor, a tablet or whatever you have to hand to show a ‘pinterest style’ feed of all your networks activity as it happens. You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up what’s going on.

Check out a couple of apps built solely for this purpose: feedfall and streaming it out loud.

Ninja Move #7: Build a network of community managers

The more expert users, also known as community managers, you have in your social network the better.

Community Managers are people who:

  • Understand company culture & strategic business initiatives
  • Know how to support their teams with setting up and managing the network
  • Model great behaviours

Depending on the size of your business, the number of community managers could be counted on one hand to into the hundreds for really large organisations.

Not everyone is a born community manager.

I have seen many people have the community manager role thrust upon them and be utterly useless at doing it.

Some companies focus in on community management skills and offer training and even certification. A VERY smart move.

Ninja Move #8: Build a network of fellow ninjas

What’s the difference between community managers and champions?


Champion are your brand advocates - they are other ninjas like you. They are people who understand the power of social networking and who freely advocate the role and purpose of the social network for the business.

They are the person, often senior leader (but not always) who has influence (often an opinion former and thought leader) and who people listen to.

It's vital you identify these Champions, nurture their interest, listen to them, and solicit their support as often as you can.

Champions can open doors and opportunities for your network like no other.

Ninja Move #9: Don’t over plan

While this may sound counter-intuitive, you’ll never know what will really work in your intranet social network until you try it.

You may be surprised with what does take off.

Much better to adopt the ‘lean start up’ model. Which means get a minimum viable product, test it, see what works, and rapidly re-iterate.

So try numerous activities, build on the ones that work, move on from the ones that don’t, and focus your time on promoting the good ones.

Most of all….Get stuck in! Build momentum, convince one team, or even one person, at a time and keep at it – your social network will flourish when you persevere. Your energy will be infectious.

What else have you seen work? Do you agree with these ninja moves?

For some activation examples I’ve seen work well, grab a copy of my free book here

BONUS: Everything you ever wanted to know about Ninjas, but were too afraid to ask...

During the writing of this article I came across a lot of random Ninja literature, and being a bit of closet Kung Fu nerd, l lapped it up! Here's a list of incredibly silly Ninja Facts...

Ninjas don't sweat.

Bullets can't kill a ninja.

Only a ninja can kill a ninja. Regular humans are useless.

Ninjas never wear headbands with the word "ninja" printed on them.

Ninjas can change clothes in less than 1 second.

Ninjas can crush golfballs with 2 fingers, any two fingers.

Fight skillfully with any object

Live in your house secretly for days

Can remove their shadow if needed

Go anywhere they want instantly

Catch bullets in their teeth

Kill themselves if they make a noise

Can run 100 miles on their hands

Train 20 hours/day starting from age 2

Are masters of disguise

Can hover for hours

Are completely self-sufficient

Can hide in incense smoke

Ninjas are the best guitar players. Ever.

Ninjas do NOT wear spandex.

A Samurai is NOT a ninja.

Courtesy of Sam Paulin's Urban Dictionary

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