community management playbook

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Communty Playbook Created wth love by the Yammer communty team for communty managers and busnesses they support. A comprehensve gude to communty strategy, desgn and executon.

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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

    Design with the purpose of creating value for each member. Start by profiling your members. You need to know:

  • Your community needs to be healthy and deliver business value

    Discover the sweet spot

    Organizations needs and


    Target member needs and


    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    What is your sweet spot? Map needs of company to needs of members

    Striking the sweet spot between the interests and needs of the community and the interests and needs of the organization is critical to the long term success of business communities.

    - Rachel Happe, The Community Roundtable

  • Build community WITH community

    Charter & vision: co-create with community

    Enlist founding members

    Evolve best practices

    Make it about the members

    Result: Healthy


    Founding members are the early members of your community. These early Ambassadors are stewards of communitys vision and culture. Their behavior

    informs & shapes behaviors of those who come after.

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Come up with a list of 20-50 early members. Work with them to define the vision and purpose of community. Grow the community as culture congeals

  • Work with your early Ambassadors to design spaces to bring like-minded people together Design wider spaces for purposeful mingling across interest and work groups May need separate communities if value sought is too different

    Create light structure without stifling

    By expertise levels

    By geography

    By function

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    What do your members have in common and how are they different? Map out groups inside of communities & work with Ambassadors to seed them

  • Provide guidance in group creation; help members become leaders

    Help members make it their own

    Ask Does the group have a specific purpose? Is someone responsible for making sure

    the group thrives? How will you measure the success of your


    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Encourage community members to create their own groups; create a group creation guide and list of responsibilities

    Encourage To choose the group leader / administrator To determine group settings To set the tone To keep engagement levels up

  • Set people free by providing guardrails Focus on what TO DO, not on what not to do

    - People want to do the right thing, they just dont know how - Clarify roles, expectations and etiquette - Help evolve best practices and community culture

    Think through governance and policy internally and externally - Involve IT, Legal, HR and Comms early on - Understand and address fears and plan scenarios - Work together, but be careful of voting by committee - Understand how policy fits in with existing policies, but dont be

    afraid to tread new ground.

    Hold people accountable - take action when necessary

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Work with stakeholders to create a policy that creates a safe and productive environment for all members

  • In external communities, think through vetting

    Vetting process impacts engagement: the higher the hurdle, the higher a sense of purpose, participation and engagement Dont invite all customers at once; allow culture to evolve first

    Think through an exit process, if necessary

    Figure out flow between communities; what are the triggers?

    Think through community sunsetting at the beginning what happens to content & members?

    Be thoughtful about membership

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    Beyond a certain level of activity, it becomes difficult for all members to believe they can influence the community. Members no longer feel

    a genuine sense of connection with another member. Richard Millington, FeverBee

  • Onboard new members Outline a 30-60-90 day plan

    Example: NAB has 10 day plan overseen by a Yammer mentor. Helps people go through daily milestones

    Public and private welcomes set the tone, orients, gives information

    Socialize new members with existing members

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Create an onboarding plan to welcome members, integrates them into the community and provides insight into how to get the most out of the community

  • Educate and guide

    Employees Educate employees

    through onboarding Bring together

    stakeholders and champions

    Educate and reiterate purpose with and group leads

    Externally Educate the community

    around vision Educate members about

    community through onboarding

    Align to existing training programs and certifications

    Executives Address fears and

    concerns Get the right resources Encourage execs to

    participate Reiterate purpose,

    provide updates

    Onboarding, expectation setting, & open communication are an ongoing process

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Collaborate internally to power external communities

    Establish an active work channel to support activity in external communities Example: we work closely with internal

    teams (product, marketing, customer support, PR, legal, IT) to be proactive with issues, inform, and operationalize feedback. Each teams ambassador posts as subject matter expert

    Encourage execs to engage with customers

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Establish an enablement board internally. Set up collaboration groups with all the jobs that touch your customers and partners.

  • Global communications are complex: Languages Time zones Customs and cultures Subtle peculiarities

    Solutions: Work with ambassadors in local areas Create local groups digitally and

    physically Localize content

    Can someone translate?

    Expand your global reach

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Get to know your international community. Surface Ambassadors in each local area and nurture them. Conversation more meaningful coming from a local.

  • Help members get to know each other. It builds trust. Uphold your vision and policy to ensure its a trusted space.

    Make meeting people and exchanging stories and experiences easy, connect & facilitate

    Engage silent majority, avoid vocal minority from taking over Create and curate engaging content

    Start dialogue that moves the conversation forward (nascent community)

    Curate members stories, Ambassadors start dialogue (mature community)

    Model healthy behaviors, encourage others to do the same Avoid unilateral moves; ask Ambassadors to think through and

    implement change with you

    Design to self-sustain

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Think of ways that you can connect members online and offline. Ask good questions to uncover stories. Make it easy to share.

  • Commit to daily action

  • Aim, fire, adjust!

    Befriend change & be comfortable with ambiguity. You wont have all the answers, and you will be wrong sometimes. Design with purpose and take cues from

    community. Listen, learn and iterate quickly.

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Diversity of members in external communities - Balance of company & customer

    representatives - Across industries and job types - Community manager should be

    invisible as much as possible

    Strive for balance Diversity of content - Questions, answers, statements - Discussion of big picture - Tactical problem solving - Dialogue, narration of work

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Facilitate a mix of conversations and problem solving. Resist the urge to answer everything yourself; ask other members to contribute. In external communities, select members with same purpose, but different experiences.

  • Let champions emerge & become Ambassadors. Ensure diversity from across members.

    Pay it forward; invest in Ambassadors Understand and meet needs Understand motivators: recognition,

    ability to help, drive, influence Be clear around expectations

    Relegate control to Ambassadors; its more meaningful & authentic Help ambassadors model behaviors by


    Give up control to Ambassadors

    For more on ambassadors check out this post.

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Look for people who are most helpful to others; dont look at level of activity only. Create an ongoing channel where you can work closely with them.

    For more on working with Ambassadors, check out this post!

  • Engagement activities Celebrate members by building

    activities around them Be purposeful; dont do it for

    engagements sake Help members share their stories; make

    sharing easy Dont do it for them, but ask good

    questions. Design daily / weekly activities

    Let Ambassadors lead Build trust first; make small asks first, ask

    bigger questions later Measure success and iterate

    Build engagement

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Think about activities that can boost your communitys engagement. Look to your Ambassadors for suggestions and ideas. Pull quieter members in.

  • Via community-wide and small-group activities On a conversation basis; draw people in to contribute by tagging

    them publicly or privately If people trust you, and you take the time to bring them relevant

    questions, people are more likely to participate As community matures, the environment itself will allow people to

    connect, without CM brokering introductions

    Connect community members

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    Get to know your members first. Understand their needs and expertise. If an opportunity arises, ask a member to display their expertise to help others. DO IT

  • Create Stories are the kernel of the

    community Make sharing easy Ask good questions

    Connect people with issues to people with solutions

    Celebrate successes and learn from failure

    Help create artifacts and history Curate Tagging, categorizing and curating

    makes things easy to find Help people make sense of

    information and adapt it for their context

    Encourage remixing. It increases shelf-life of information and makes it more useful

    Tyco publishes a

    success booklet to inspire through personal stories

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Ask Ambassadors to post and encourage others to do the same. Develop a tagging scheme to organize. Let people know the content is there.

  • Look for ways to partner with external community: Innovation / product ideas Marketing campaigns, social sharing Running & designing the community itself Heres what weve done with our customers: Customer named annual conference Source & co-create content Celebrate customers, facilitate sharing Work with champions to evolve dialogue Advisory boards for innovation & high-level strategy

    Partner with customers

    Become outside-in vs. inside-out. Ditch campaign mindset; communities dont want to consume campaigns, they want to create with you.

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Employees want to know how they can contribute; they want to be respected, listened to and not handcuffed in process. Help them translate high-level strategy to their daily actions. Design around these sources of motivation Autonomy: Are employees free to get their job done the way they need to? Do they feel trusted and empowered? Mastery: Do employees have opportunities to get better at their craft? Formal training is not enough; allow them to learn from each other daily. Purpose: Do employees feel like they are part of something bigger? Do they feel like they can directly influence the direction of the company?

    From Daniel Pinks book Drive

    Engage employees in internal community

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • Create a balanced culture by working with Ambassadors early. Have a clear set of guidelines, expectations and etiquette

    To find source of negativity, ask yourself Why? If unfounded or troll behavior have a private

    conversation, then take action as necessary. Ambassadors should come to the rescue

    If compelling reason, fix issue & create the feedback loop back

    Never make it personal Take it to a private channel

    Turn those frowns upside down Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Have a plan for how you will deal with negativity as it arises. On a daily basis, remind offenders about your common goals and expectations of members.

  • Blend online and offline


    Enhance physical events with online community elements.

    Examples: All-hands meetings, exec breakfasts

    (internal) Customer and partner events,

    conferences, roadshows (external)


    Catalyze online relationships in person. Physical space should match

    online interactions & community personality Examples:

    User groups, meetups (external) Innovation jams (internal)

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

  • 1. What does it look like? What does it mean to the community? What does it mean to the organization?

    2. How will you measure it? Tell the whole story with: Quantitative metrics Qualitative benefits and impacts

    3. Understand and quantify value to your business

    Check out this FeverBee article on community health metrics

    Measure success

    Strategic CM Cultural foundation Community design Day to day

    DO IT

    Go back to the business goals that your community supports. Measure quantitative indicators, as well as ability to meet business goals.

  • Wrapping up

  • What will you get in the end?

    Awesome culture


    Engaged employees produce

    Customers are partners

  • 1. Be realistic about your culture 2. Take baby steps and be patient; behavior change takes a long time. Prepare for a marathon, not a sprint

    3. Thoughtful community design should free and enable; not handcuff

    4. Be the change you want to see; model behaviors 5. Pay it forward


  • Six Risks of Not Having Community Management from Community Roundtable Community Managers, Don't Try To Do It All On Your Own on The Yammer blog Measuring an Online Community from Feverbee The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies,

    McKinsey Global Institute Firms' own social networks better for business than Facebook, University of

    Michigan Narration of Work, Harold Jarche Three Principles of Net Work, Harold Jarche How to Engage Your Customers and Employees, Ray Wang for Harvard Business

    Review Majority of American Workers Not Engaged In Their Jobs, Gallup How Employee Engagement Leads to Higher Stock Prices, Kevin Kruse for Open

    Forum Change That Sticks by Harvard Business Review When Will We Work Out Loud? Soon by Bryce Williams


  • Slide 9:[email protected]/2542767294/ Slide 11:[email protected]/4465392937/ &[email protected]/1464005913/ Slide 15:[email protected]/1048905340/ &[email protected]/2703980776/ Slide 20: Yammer Engineering Blog Slide 22:[email protected]/2575986601/ Slide 24:[email protected]/5726726600/ Slide 26:[email protected]/3120385357/in/set-72157606844282993/ Slide 27:[email protected]/6231641551/ Slide 31:[email protected]/2137729430/ Slide 34:[email protected]/4388984995/ Slide 36:[email protected]/128655796/ Slide 37:[email protected]/4772347311/ Slide 40:[email protected]/148849801/ Slide 42:[email protected]/2601694302/ Slide 44:[email protected]/4962969492/ Slide 46:[email protected]/7496765660/ Slide 48:[email protected]/2741652353/ Slide 49:[email protected]/2477396306 &[email protected]/2265050966/ Slide 50:[email protected]/3306421665/ Slide 52:[email protected]/7625639974/

    Photo Credits

  • For more Community Management tips, connect with us on:

    Twitter: @Yammer

    @TheMaria @MollyBugler


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