I recently joined Bind as a Community Management Consultant, but what does that mean? What is Community Management?
If communities are people who share a common focus, then Community Management is the proactive design, development, activation and ongoing cultivation of the community. It’s a professional approach, backed up by relevant data, to connect people around a common goal. It’s about building bridges and creating value.
My background is in internal communication, digital communication, intranets and digital workplaces. I’ve worked for large global organisations in the UK and The Netherlands. Often focused on digital platforms which support connection, communication and collaboration. Now I have joined Bind as a Community Management Consultant. This is a continuation of the journey. The focus remains the same, to enable people to thrive in the digital world.
In the hyper-connected digital age we live in, communities connect people with a common interest or goal like never before. Our natural human desire to connect, communicate and collaborate with others is now supercharged online. For businesses this means their customers, partners and employees can all easily connect, discuss products, services, issues and ideas. All too often though, this is done without a clear goal, is reactively managed or focused purely on the business goal. Without understanding the wider needs of the community. Communities are organic, but can often lack the oxygen to survive and flourish.
Community management then, is digital gardening. An active approach to plan, plant and then tend the early blossoms of the community to ensure the community can grow and mature.
Whether as a tool for organisational change or helping power a school the core aspects of a successful online community are:
- Strategy: A clear goal for the community and path to achieve it.
- Growth: Getting more folks connected and making them active participants.
- Content: Content is king, the best content leads to interaction.
- Offline and online events: To connect and engage members.
- Moderation: Making it easier for members to contribute and feel part of the community.
For me personally, Community Management seems a continuation and growth of the work I’ve always done, helping people to thrive in the digital world. Internal Communicators are moving from broadcasters of information, to facilitating dialogue and discussions. Social intranets and digital platforms support the various communities which make up a modern business. Helping them connect, communicate and collaborate.
Community Management helps connects all this together. If you’re finding your community initiatives are struggling, you might need to look at your community management approach.