Community management is a top subject when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+. And there seems to be a ton of community managers everywhere online all focused on consumer experiences. But there is a hidden trove of individuals in large companies across the world, all doing their best to engage and interact with employees. I give you, the internal community manager.
These community managers are communicators, techies, business people and usually the life of the party. In fact, I like to refer to them and sometimes myself, as the ultimate party planner. Now don’t take that literally. Of course they do a lot more than just plan parties. It’s just that these skilled folks have to arrange constant moving parts, talk to all of the guests, make sure nothing is boiling over and still make the “party” a success. And believe me, managing groups of people through the intranet, online forums, blogs, etc., isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, it can be rather tough. Because it’s a lot more than just increasing traffic to the communities.
So let’s jump right in. Here are the 5 tips that should make life a little easier:
- The must haves – Give employees what they need, not just the extra stuff they kind of want. If an employee is working on a project and all of the reference material is in the related community, guess what, that’s where they’ll end up if it’s the only place to get what they need. Focus employees to go where they should. Do not put the same materials in emails and in the community.
- Production calendar – Do you know exactly what you’re doing and when you’re doing it? Just adding content here and there or answering questions when they pop up will not make a community thrive. Just like with a good editorial calendar, create a monthly plan in a calendar format with planned activities that drive connections and sharing.
- Treat community members like humans – Sounds simple right? This is more than being nice. Many of us get busy and so business focused, we forget that a community is a group of people that have a common goal and usually like or enjoy each other. We stick together and help each other to a better tomorrow. It’s easier to help someone you know vs. a complete stranger. So get a little personal and show the human element.
- Give it away – Give free stuff to your community members. No, it doesn’t have to be a free iPad. Think differently. What about winning a free external training webinar based on the subject of the community. Reward people that want to participate and learn more. Even better, have the winner write a blog or host a discussion about their webinar. Then the whole community wins.
- Curate – Just like a great museum, collect art for others to see. OK, not really art, but content. You do not need to write or host everything in your communities. Have others join in. There are hidden treasures in active employees all around you. A few will probably want to share and will think of it as an honor to participate more officially. This really means, if these folks are already writing great relevant blogs, start adding them to your community. You didn’t have to create new content, yet your community is now overflowing with valuable information.
There’s a lot more to managing communities for employees. This information should get you started thinking a little differently. Or maybe, it just affirms what you were already thinking. Either way, you’re on the right path.
What other tricks of the trade are you trying? And what’s not working?
About Christopher Swan
Christopher Swan is the founder of Accidental Information where his love for all things geeky, techy, pop cultured and communication-based comes to life. He is also the Digital Corporate & Social Media lead at Avery Dennison where he leads social media strategies and pioneers digital communication resources including the company portal, editorial and web strategies and video communications.