Advice for New CMs

31 Jan

Rawn Shah, who heads the Social Software Adoption team at IBM, noted some good advice for new community managers in an interview with His thoughts directly relate to what we’ve been discussing in class. A successful community manager should know and be passionate about their community in order to build effective relationships and best business practices. Below is the excerpt, and the entire interview can be found here:

Q: What advice would you have for a beginning community manager?

Community management is both a learnable skill and a personality trait. The best community managers (CMs) that I know have survived the long term are active listeners, strong relationship builders, and see themselves as a voice for the members. They are resourceful people and always looking to find ways how members can help others rather than trying to be gatekeepers or central clearinghouses of information. CMs generally “work” for the sponsor, whether officially or otherwise. They voice the ideas, feelings and pulse of the community to the sponsoring organization, but they are also not “willows” who bend entirely to the will of the community.

As a new CM it is important to understand not just how you are to serve people, but also what you need to produce or deliver and how to measure them. If these are countable in distinct ways, then you have a way to capture metrics. Otherwise, if these are qualitative ideas and results, then you have relevant stories that may be representative or repeated across the community. My suggestion when it comes to metrics is to look for repeatable ideas or artifacts relative to what your community is doing. They should be meaningful towards delivering the end business goals, even if they are only parts of the whole picture.

One Response to “Advice for New CMs”

  1. Karen February 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    This is a great excerpt. It hits on two points that I think are critical: first, there are no shortcuts…good CMs need to be active members of the community so that they can listen, hear, and become an accurate voice for the members, and second, your analytics should be relevant to your business goals (as should all of your “methodology”).

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