Every year, the Community Roundtable does some amazing legwork and pulls together a comprehensive report on the State of Community Management.
This year's report will be broken out into a series of content, with the first release focused the value of community management. If you're in the process of making a business case for hiring a community manager, you need to read this report. (Data for the study was gathered from members of The Community Roundtable, other practitioners, and a Research Advisory Board.)
I recommend reading the full report for its actionable insights, but here are my key takeaways:
- The most successful community managers are mid-career professionals with experience in a cross section of roles/departments, rather than entry-level employees.
- Engagement, people-skills, and content creation capability rank far higher than technical ability when it comes to hiring a good community manager.
- Effective community management requires someone who can break down barriers among internal departments, and between internal and customer-facing projects. Bonus points if the community manager creates ties to the finance function, and keeps an open line of communication regarding the value of community efforts.
- Investing in structured community programming (such as events, recurring content, surveys) can make it easier to define and track the rewards of having a community.
- Great community managers plan for scaling with growth by documenting community processes so they are repeatable and measurable.
- It's important to select specific metrics that tie to business outcomes if yours is a business community. The report offers a nice breakdown of different metrics that are commonly tracked and reported.
- Proactively managed communities can expect much better engagement than the old 90-90-10 rule. Good management leads to good engagement, most often.
"Community management resources are a critical factor in successful online communities."
If you are already a community manager, this report will let you know you're not alone. Although most of us are stretched thin, we are making progress toward best practices. And there are a lot of us out there!
If you're in the process of building a community, this report will set you on the right path to creating a successful team. Everything from salaries, to responsibilities, to reporting are covered in the study.
Did you read the report? What are your thoughts about the value of community management?