If you took a room full of online community management experts and had them write down their most valuable tips on 3×5 cards you could get something like “The 2011 State of Community Management Report“. Each finely tuned sentence only hints at much bigger concepts and issues at hand. Indeed, the authors know 95 pages is not enough and thankfully include forty or so links to additional references.
That said, this is a great way for someone starting out to get a sense of what community managers are currently concerned with. Those already in the field will recognize many of the recommendations, but may pick up a few tips. I think it makes a great checklist for anyone that has a community and wants to make it better.
Some things that struck me:
- Hats off for coming up with a Community Maturity Model to keep discussions of communities organized and offering a roadmap for others. Setting a foundation will really help the field.
- In the Community Roundtable survey, executives were quite positive about online communities, but the organization’s culture was not so enthusiastic. I would have thought one would more closely mirror the other.
- Medium sized enterprises had lagged behind larger ones due to lack of resources, but SaaS may help mitigate this. Great news for folks wanting to participate.
- When creating guidelines for members, the use of examples of what shold and shouldn’t be done speaks volumes. I’ve worked on formal governance documents and guidelines but hadn’t thought of including examples. I will next time.
While not a quick read, the report was well worth spending the time with. This is a reference I will return to.
[My thoughts on some of the material that Online Community Consultant Richard Millington posted in his “Free Online Community Management Resources On The Web“.]