You Are What You Eat: Optimizing Content ConsumptionQuality? Or Quantity? Content Marketing Struggles with the Right Path Forward3 Ways to Take Brand Advocacy to the Next Level with User-Generated Content5 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Isn't Working
Let's Measure Social Media ROI in a Way That Isn't StupidTo Grow Your Social Marketing Budget, Determining ROI Is a Critical Job SkillWe Need to Rethink Our Definition of Engagement
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Change Agent Survey: Passion, Skill Set, and Persistence Lead to Career GrowthSandy Carter's 6 Social Business Lessons to Learn from Candy Crush5 Tips for Creating a Company Culture that Connects with Your Sweet Spot ClientsWhy Leadership Should Be a Collaborative Exercise
8 Internet User Statistics Every Small Business Should Know AboutCan't Find Time for Social Media? This Approach Will Help6 Ways to Turn Your Small Business into a Media Hub
- Social Organization
Beyond Engagement: Why Advocacy Is Always About the PeopleFormer IBM Senior Advisors Launch Brands Rising to Build Employee Advocacy ProgramsPerformance and Risk Management Through Social Media TrainingEmployee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories from the Field
- Customer Service
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Communities: The Hub of Social Collaboration
Posted on August 21st 2012
Ask any knowledge and collaboration strategist what the driving force is behind successful enterprise collaboration and they will undoubtedly say “communities.” I’ll venture further to say that it is company-sponsored, strategic communities that make social collaboration most successful and valuable to the business enterprise.
This is not to say that organic communities do not play an important role in social collaboration – they do. My point is that strategic communities strengthen knowledge transfer, expertise, and growth, and foster innovations in areas that matter most to the business. Unlike organic, informal communities, strategic communities require an infrastructure that closely integrates company subject matter expertise, authoritative knowledge content, education and training, as well as external market data in order to be truly effective.
However, creating a model for strategic communities may require significant investment of time and resources.First and foremost, it requires planning. Positioning strategic communities to support a company’s market areas of strength, target industries, and key employee roles, and aligning them to business objectives and goals is essential.
Second, developing a framework for enablement and evolution is critical to sustaining a successful community environment. Effective frameworks include a project plan, a communication plan for socializing the purpose of the community in order to attract and retain members, and a culture transformation plan to help employees understand the value of community participation.
Third, communities must be well managed. I like to use an analogy created by my former Booz Allen colleague, Walton Smith, who likened communities to gardens, each requiring a gardener to “seed, feed, weed and harvest.” Too often companies launch communities with a “build it and they will come” mindset. Employees may come, but will they stay and engage?
In order to sustain and attract new members, communities must provide ongoing value. Community managers play a pivotal role in keeping communities viable and helping them grow. They engage subject matter experts who can provide the right answers to questions at the right time and transfer knowledge and best practices to help community members evolve their skill sets. They seed content and motivate members to share and engage with each other through newsfeeds and community webinars. They promote the exchange of ideas and harvest and repurpose valuable knowledge. They also capture metrics to measure community growth and effectiveness.
Finally, communities cannot be successful without employees who are enthusiastic, engaged and willing to share. This is where culture transformation comes into play. Successful strategic communities have clearly defined key benefits areas and related use cases to illustrate how community involvement delivers value to its members as well as to the business. Nothing drives behavior change more than a colleague’s positive experience with a new tool, a process or community involvement. Savvy community managers capture and repurpose these success stories to drive membership, increase adoption and validate business value.
Strategic communities that are well-planned, properly enabled and effectively managed can significantly impact the success of social collaboration within the business enterprise. Just ask the next knowledge and collaboration strategist you meet. Better yet, take a look within your own organization and assess how strategic communities can play a role in the success of your social collaboration efforts.