community management playbook

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  • Community Playbook

    Created with love by the Yammer community team for community managers and businesses they support.

    A comprehensive guide to community strategy, design and execution.

  • Community is a group of people with unique shared values,

    behaviors and artifacts.

    - The Community Roundtable

    What is community?

  • External community ecosystem has business benefits

    Best practices evolution

    Customer stories

    Customer and partner


    Top line growth

    Market relevance

    Bottom line growth

    Richer customer


    Greater visibility,

    richer partnerships

    Better decisions

  • Internal (employee) communities make companies more adaptable

    Better customer


    High performing


    Engaged employees

    Business transformation

    Market relevance

    Better communication

    Stronger innovation

    Business agility

    Employee advocacy

  • But.. communities arent yet strategic

    Value hard to quantify

    Lack of resources

    Unhealthy communities

    Poor ROI

  • When done right, they have tangible benefits

    Source: McKinsey

    Source: University of Michigan

    collaboration with stores in shopping


    employee community makes better burgers

    membership in customer community

    increases spending by19%

    largely untapped opportunity in social$1.3 Trillion!

  • but without proper planning and resources, your community may not

    reach its potential; even worse, it may backfire.

    These benefits are achievable

  • 1. Lack of supporting resources: people, technology, finances

    2. Low engagement; vocal minority drowns out the community

    3. Negativity: can be cultural or ongoing, driven by culture or bad fit, habitual trolling. May be situational or temporary negativity.

    4. Content sprawl: Too many resources across too many spaces can feel confusing and daunting to members

    5. Lack of direction: People dont know what to do when they get into the community or why its relevant to them

    For more pitfalls, check out the Community Roundtable

    Potential risks without active and strategic community management

  • What do we do now?

  • Community managers: you must elevate community building as a strategic discipline

  • Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    What a community is Engine that mobilizes and empowers, gives people what they need, speeds up your business and helps you make better decisions

    What a community isnt

    A marketing, broadcast or one-way communications channel

  • A community strategist is an individual who has tacit or explicit authority to define

    enterprise-wide standards for social media and community engagement. This includes

    approaches to strategy, leadership, culture, community management, content and programming, measurement, policies /

    governance and tools.

    - The Community Roundtable

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Community managers strategic goal:

    Facilitate an environment where members work together to build shared outcomes, driven by a common vision

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • A CM facilitates this kind of environment by:

    Building an environment of trust to convert tacit knowledge into shared artifacts

    Being a cheerleader, anthropologist, connector, leader, detective, conductor

    Giving people a voice, inspiring and mobilizing to act Curating stories and celebrating members success Handling negative situations Upholding the communitys mission and vision; builds community

    WITH community Educating, paying it forward, nurturing community Ambassadors Collaborating internally, getting support for initiatives and removing


    Role of a community manager

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Internal Communities Internal hierarchies and politics come into focus Need to help teams and business units think through use cases

    External Communities Bridge gap between company and external stakeholders Help stakeholders meet each other & form a working relationship

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    Internal and external communities possess some differences, but behavioral foundations are very similar


    Well-connected Has credibility

    Understands existing business process

    Industry and market expertise


    Tactful and diplomatic Confident and shrewd

    politician Creates structure without

    stifling Can make difficult decisions


    Empathetic Passionate

    Inspired by people Inspires others to act

    Patient Approachable

    Honest, transparent

    The community manager mindset

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Examine culture as the foundation to community

  • Communitys health (internally and externally) is a manifestation of companys culture. Being open magnifies the good and the bad; culture can enable or hurt

    community efforts. Community orientation can help shape culture.

    Community Culture

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Engaged and informed employees

    are a source of knowledge

    Engaged companies

    5x higher shareholder


    Engaged employees

    37% more likely to stay with

    their employer

    Engaged customers

    3x more likely to

    recommend product


    71% of employees are


    Engaged employees drive

    customer engagement

    To be effective externally, get your house in order!

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    Source: Gallup Source: Constellation Research Source: Constellation Research

    Source: Dachis Group Source: Kenexa Source: Gallup

  • Strive for community-centric culture

    Collaborative & open



    Honesty from leaders

    Mutual trust & accountability

    Ability to communicate without fear of


    Comfortable with working

    out loud

    Hierarchy doesnt define

    flow of information

    Aligns to higher purpose, the


    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Instead: Focus on a few behavior changes Take actions every day as individuals and teams: work out loud Discover pockets of people practicing the desired behaviors Focus on changing behaviors you can change To change your behavior, change your mind

    Be realistic about culture change

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    Culture is highly ingrained in the ways people work; any company culture has assets. Honor your cultures strengths, focusing on changing just a few critical behaviors rather

    than attempting a wholesale transformation. Harvard Business Review, Cultural Change that Sticks

    Focus on helping each other to turn narrating your work into a habit

    Harold Jarche

  • Catalyze change through observable actions

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Post a draft, update or what youre working on and ask the community for feedback and insight. Do this often and encourage others to do the same.

    Working out loud requires courage and comfort with making mistakes publicly. Trust is necessary to work out loud, and transparency, in turn builds trust. "

    Working out loud = Narrating Your Work + Observable Work Bryce Williams

    Narration is making ones tacit knowledge (what one feels) more

    explicit (what one is doing with that knowledge). Narrating work is a powerful behaviour changer

    Harold Jarche

  • Community is not a one-way communication or broadcast channel It takes time to build a healthy community; ROI wont be immediate Communities are messy You have to learn to let go Feedback is a gift You cant control what members do, nor should you try. But you can

    increase purposefulness by helping people be their best Expectation setting is an ongoing process internally and externally. Have a vision and stick to it

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    Set expectations for your community

    DO IT

    Determine your communitys mission and vision before you set up and build the community.

  • To create the conditions that can support a self-sustaining community, you must be deliberate about community design. Community design guides members to outcomes and helps them iterate and make the community their own.

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Be deliberate in community design

  • Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Needs, jobs that need to get done (official and unofficial)

    Expertise that exists, expertise thats needed Intrinsic motivators; is there a higher purpose

    that binds? Where they are in employee / customer life

    cycle What other informational sources compete

    for their attention / time

    Understand your community

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Get to know your community, their goals and motivators