Companies are using digital platforms to connect with their consumers and/or employees. So whether it’s via an internal enterprise social media network or a Facebook page building engaged communities has become more important.
What would an engaged community look like? Lots of people active in the community and some productive outcomes. What constitutes a productive outcome depends on the community’s purpose, it might be questions answered in a support community or successful idea generation conversations in a strategic community, or money generated in a crowd-sourcing community.
Your community should have a strong sense of purpose, you might even state your community’s purpose right on your front page.
Communities without a purpose suffer one of two fates; either they shrivel and die, or they become social only – virtual watercoolers. In one company I know of the most active community was one where employees discussed their pets. I’m a fan of pets, but I doubt the company built a enterprise social network to facilitate this discussion.
Content & Programmes
You need to feed the community with content. The Community Roundtable identified five great ideas for content and programmes.
- member spotlights
- ask me anythings
- work out louds
- photo sharing contests
- questions of the week
Notice anything? All these examples explicitly call on the community to participate.
Download the free e-book from the Community Roundtable for ideas and examples on making all of these work.
The best community managers make it look easy; from welcoming new members, answering questions, modelling the behaviour of the community, solving any issues and providing the content and programmes to serve the community and build the purpose. It takes a particular kind of person to do it well.
Sprout Social has made a good distinction between the roles of social media manager, who functions as a brand representative for a company, and a community manager who champions the purpose of the community.
Community managers who build engaged communities can share their expertise in their own communities, and need to be rewarded for their expertise and the care they take.