In a recent webinar with BMC Software’s Matt Laurenceau and inSided’s Remco de Vries, we discussed how to go about building your community team. Matt shares his biggest takeaways from his 25 years of community experience on bringing in extended teams, which department community should sit under, and what characteristics to look for when hiring a successful community manager.
Want to see the webinar in full? Click here to watch it on-demand.
Takeaway 1: Hire the will, train the skill.
People may assume that someone who can resolve conflict is the number one characteristic you would want to look for in an exceptional community manager. However, according to Matt, the most important quality he looks for is empathy. “If people care a lot and want customers to succeed, then they will indeed find ways and tactics to make sure it works out,” he says. “People who join the team need to be willing to do something and have a goal broader than say case deflection or pushing content.” In addition to empathy, he also points out other soft skills like creativity and a willingness to learn.
Takeaway 2: The department best suited for community to sit under is…
The answer is there can be MANY teams that community can sit under when it’s just starting out within an organization. Product, Customer Success, Support, and even Marketing all have their own benefits from having the community role as part of the team.
- Product: community fuels new ideation and customer feedback.
- Support: community is a place for peers to answer questions, self-service and customer education.
- Customer Success: community helps you scale your business. Your 1:1 interactions can now be 1:N.
- Marketing: community can be a great place for customer engagement, content generation and evangelism.
Even though it makes sense to place your first dedicated community hire under any of these teams, as you grow, it’s important to carve out community as its own department. Like we said, community doesn’t just help one singular team, but it helps all of them.
Takeaway 3: Content should be co-authored with members
You should not feel obligated to create all of your community content. In fact, the most helpful or engaging content will probably come from your community members. That being said, you should view your community as a part of your team. Share the lift!
Like we mentioned in our last webinar recap with Erik Martin, you can even nominate superusers to create content for a finite period of time. This will: make it easier for them to accept your offer, let you see if this content is resonating with your audience, and evaluate whether you want to continue to work with them or enlist others to help.
Takeaway 4: Your community team shouldn’t be an island
Like the great Bon Jovi once said, “no man is an island.” This goes for community too. In order for your company to be community-led, you’ll need more than just your community team to be involved. But the good news is that everyone can benefit from community. You just need to emphasize the value to each respective team and find your biggest community advocates within those teams to rally behind you. It could be someone from Product looking for more feedback on a new feature or your CMO looking for new referrals and testimonials. Regardless of who the individuals are, Matt advises breaking it out by your “core team” (your community managers) and “federated teams” (advocates on other teams). This federated team will help integrate your community goals into the rest of the organization so community isn’t floating on its own. ️
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