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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?!!
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...
Hi there. I'm Gerard Richardson, a social business consultant with over 10 years experience working across large multi-nationals in digital communications, both internal and external facing. This site is called thenetworked.org and is my blog / scrapbook / live journal all about the power of social networks for business. Welcome aboard!