Community Managers. Why Do You Need Them? And What Do They Do?

That is the topic of a paper I submitted for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference commencing next week in Santa Clara.

Why did I pick this topic?

Well as many of you know, CSC started our journey in social collaboration for an internal facing, or employee community. But what many of you may not know as much about is the equivalent progress we’ve made with external facing communities that fall under an umbrella of a wider Social CRM strategy. Our community program is one tactic in a series of strategies aimed at connecting various points of our eco-system together in a well-crafted way to fuel innovation for our enterprise and our customers.

I’ve been fortunate to get involved with this effort and really understand what it takes to stand up, plan for and launch communities for both employees and customers. And to me, it became immediately clear that while both types of communities require good community leadership – the tactics and specifics can vary ever so slightly or in some cases, maybe more dramatically.

This conference will be my fifth Enterprise 2.0 Conference, and I had a strong desire to help the conference evolve with topics I know practitioners need and want. For at least the last few conferences the topic of “community management” was often alluded to in other tracks, but never covered as a full, dedicated session. And yet there are so many aspects of good community management that should be talked about, shared and compared.

Research suggests the strong correlation between successful communities and the quality of community management found in those communities. Community Managers are the coaches, so to speak, of their communities. Their passion, vision and enthusiasm can inspire members and set the tone for the level of engagement within your community. But what does that mean exactly? How can you make the case for a community manager? What do they do? Why are they critical to a community?

These were all good questions I thought new practitioners would need answers to in order to make a solid business case for this role. It was with that in mind that I submitted my paper, but I didn’t just want to share the CSC Case Study even though we’ve had experience now with both employee and customer communities. Instead,  I thought it would be more informative to put together a session with smart community managers from other companies – a true mini-case study session.

Here’s the abstract for our session:

You hear you need a Community Manager. But why do you need one? And what should a Community Manager do?

Whether you’re launching an employee or market-facing community, you’ll want to join this session to learn why this role is so critical to the success of your community. Speakers from three organizations will share community governance models, community manager job descriptions, and provide a glimpse into the day-in-the-life of a community manager.

Fortunately, I found two other great practitioners to round out this session. Speakers will include:

External, Customer Community Management

Erica Kuhl
Community Manager
Salesforce.com | Social Media & Community
Blog: blogs.salesforce.com
Twitter: @erica_kuhl

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Internal, Employee Community Management

Megan Murray
Community Manager, Project Manager
Booz Allen Hamilton
Blog: http://meganmurray.net
Twitter: @MeganMurray
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External (Customer), Internal (Employee) Perspective Compared

Claire Flanagan
Director, KM and Social Business Collaboration Strategy
CSC
Blog: http://cflanagan.wordpress.com
Twitter: @cflanagan
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Attending Enterprise 2.0 in Santa Clara?

Be sure to check out our session on Tuesday, November 9, 2010. And note, this time, we are only one session of an inaugural community management track at the conference. Check it out! http://www.e2conf.com/santaclara/conference/community-development-and-management.php

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About Claire Flanagan
Claire Flanagan is a Director of KM and Enterprise Social Business & Community strategy at CSC. Views expressed are her own.

2 Responses to Community Managers. Why Do You Need Them? And What Do They Do?

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