Getting to the bottom of community management

This post originally ran on the Community Roundtable

If you read business publications, blogs or websites to any extent, you have probably heard about community management. Next to social media management, community management might be the hottest buzzword or buzzcareerpath (I think we just made up a new buzzword).

But do most of these publications or hiring managers screaming that they need a community manager really know what it is?

I would argue that most do not, and probably fall somewhere on the spectrum of the Community Maturity Model – and that is OK. When I started out in the space close to five years ago that model was vital to developing the program we have at Vistaprint and showed us where we needed to be.

Fast-forward to today, I am happy to be on the Community Roundtable’s 2013 State of Community Management Advisory Board. The past reports have been a great asset to community and social media managers as they offer insight into how other companies are doing community. It also allows individuals at these companies to take an honest look at their programs and say “hey we’re awesome,” or “Oh S— we’re behind and need to catch up.”

It is OK to admit it if you’ve said something similar, what isn’t cool is if you are among the few that have not done your homework and read these reports: 2010 State Of Community Mangement2011 SOCM, and 2012 SOCM

While my definition of community may differ from my good friend, and The Community Roundtable c0-Founder Rachel Happe, we both agree that it is an important and often underutilized aspect of a business. It is disagreements and mutual respect that have me truly geeked out to be a part of the Advisory Board for the upcoming 2013 State of Community Management report. Some important questions that I am looking forward to seeing answered include:

  • Social or digital media policies – everyone talks about these, but I want to see how many companies really have them in place.
  • Social/community team size – we all want more help, but how large are most community/social teams?
  • Community evolution – growth is one of the things that we are all asked about, but what percentage should we be seeing year over year. Good thing the survey has a question for that ;)

Now I will warn you, the survey we’ve put together to gather the data needed to answer these questions might seem long, but filling it out will benefit you and your community management peers in the long run. We’re all in this budding industry together, don’t be that guy who just downloads it, blogs about it and wishes other companies would participate. Click here and get started already!

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