Building a Rock Star Community Team

One of my favourite parts of day 3 of Enterprise 2.0 – Santa Clara was the talk “Building a Rock Star Community Team” from Bill Johnston (@billjohnston) Director of Global Online Communities at Dell and Dawn Lacallade (@dawnl). Bill and Dawn pulled on their experiences of running global community strategies and gave real world key advice. With the launch of Interact Teams earlier this year I felt that the points they raised were really personally interesting.

When things (communities) pop-up organically just let them play out. – What Bill meant by this is that naturally within an organisation, pockets of individuals will create their own ‘unofficial’ communities. As this happens give it room to grow and foster and only move it when it’s appropriate to moderate or help them.

Community is not free – to succeed communities need ‘community time’ and expenditure on software. Very rarely does a community succeed without invested resource and free applications.

Community Managers are a rare breed – There aren’t pools of these people sitting around, it takes a long time to recruit. Even with the global reach and kudos of Dell it can take six months to find a community manager. Bill suggested that you should just “suck it up and do it with less staff” as the role is critical to the success to individual communities. Bill had some useful tips for managing community managers: grow from within – if you have to take a chance always do it on an internal candidate rather than external.

Finding that sweet spot – A community needs to overlap the core business objectives with something the community care about.

Launching a community – Every new community that launches has to be staffed heavily at the beginning until you have had the chance to build up a reserve of members. As you grow your reserve of members you can scale back members.

If your using terms that your executive team doesn’t know about then you have failed – If you establish a community on your intranet to reduce internal support calls to the IT support desk don’t tell your executive team about the number of questions that have been answered by the community this week or the number of people that have been engaged. Instead speak their language – explain that the community has reduced the number of support calls by 7% this quarter.

Have a strategic community policy in place, this will provide you with the framework to govern and align your communities.

Most of the discussions that have taken place at Enterprise 2.0 – Santa Clara this year have been focused around SoMoLo – Social Mobile Location, with a significant focus on mobile.

Maribel Lopez (@MaribelLopez) of Lopez Research LLC made some very true remarks on how mobile is shaping the enterprise landscape. We are now seeing a significant level of maturity with the convergence of Mobile, Social and Cloud. This coupled with the rise of BYOD (Bring Your own Device) organisations are rethinking their IT strategies.

Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer) made a profound point that both large and small organisations are now bringing in consumer products such as the iPad for the very fact that they are mobile, cheap and have a much less continual management costs than the conventional PC or laptop.

Maribel commented that the mobile landscape was evolving at a period of 1 – 1 1/2 years, this has now shifted to a 6 month life cycle. This truly is the beginning of a mobile revolution where we will see major changes in “What we connect with, how we connect and how we engage”