Management and control of your Online Community

large__380840630We have come to the point that it is important to discuss management and control. (stage 10 in my decision matrix). Your organization can launch a wonderful community, with great content, and even better tools, but if the community is not managed well, it will probably become a failure. “New technologies make new economies, and new economies make new jobs” says blogger Daren Brabham. Community management is an “emerging and fast growing profession, especially given the growth of branded online communities” (MacAlpine).

I like to recall Richard Millington’s advice:  “My message to non-profits on social good day is to switch their social media managers to community managers”. Dachis Collaboratory, a social business design and strategy firm, asserts that: “The relatively new role of the community manager has become business critical in today’s dynamic business environment”. Dachis further states that: “For businesses to extract real, measurable value from a community, the community has to be integrated into the business and the business has to be both willing and able to collaborate with the community”. “Community managers are expected to guide their organization through the community development process” (Millington). So, how can nonprofits professionally manage their possible online community?

“The naive farmer farms as his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did. He/she plants, hopes and harvests. Anything that goes well or poorly is the work of the gods. The professional farmer measures. He/she tests and understands how systems work and is constantly tweaking to improve them. When failure happens, the farmer doesn’t rest until he/she understands why. Mostly, the professionals ask questions. What’s next? How to improve? What’s it worth? Why is this happening?” (Seth Godin).

According to Seth Godin, professional community managers should “have a deep and broad knowledge of their sector. They know the theory behind their work. They know the case studies of success and failure. They test, measure and adapt. They work to understand what is and isn’t working and why”. Millington advises managers to follow the “10 principles of professional community management”. I have listed them in figure  below. It is important to note that these principles can change over time. Technology changes, so does the role of the community manager. Nevertheless, I think these principles are a good start for nonprofits to follow when managing their possible community.

Model: 10 Principes of Good, Professional Community Management

Until next time,

Anne-Sophie Gaspersz

Photo credit: tofslie via photopin cc

Photography: Edwin & Kelly Tofslie

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