Community Management Best Practices

Having a variety of different groups, stakeholders, departments & functions on one platform can be challenging since different needs & wants need to be met. In order to cater towards these demands it is beneficial to establish a certain level of community management. On top, managing the community from the very beginning will allow the project team to steer the network into the desired direction around the established use case(s). 

Community Guidelines

A great starting point would be to define community guidelines. These guidelines can include all sorts of information such as the appropriate behavior on the platform, what kind of content can be shared, best practices, references to company policies and so on.

An example can be found here

Categories

Adding categories will help users navigate the available content on the platform. The chosen category names will be available to users when asking questions or filtering search results.

The establishment of categories has various benefits. Some of them are outlined below: 

  • An end user can easily assign his or her question to a certain category
  • An end user can filter the feed based on the available categories
  • An end user (includes project managers & moderators as well) can subscribe to a category to always be notified if new content is posted
  • The project team can issue category based custom reports

In order to find the best solution for your network, analyze your community to get an understanding which groups are a part of it and what their interests are. You should also take a look at the goals you’re aiming at with the creation of your network and if you can influence them with the choice of the categories. 

To give some examples: If you have a lot of people from the same department or background on your network and your aim is to foster the exchange of expertise on technical subjects, it is a good choice to choose categories around the subjects they are discussing. But if your network is particularly diverse with users from very different departments or countries, it could be better to choose the department names or countries as category names in order to make the sorting through the content easier. 

Based on the findings it is recommended to establish content categories. Depending on the size & type of your community there are different approaches on how to structure them. Some examples are: 

  • Company structure based (e.g. Division, Department, Location)
  • Project based (e.g. Project X, Project Y, Project Z)
  • Function based (e.g. IT, Product, Marketing)
  • Topic based (e.g. Covid-19, Office 365 Rollout)

Please note that the naming and establishment of the categories is not final, they can be renamed, changed or deleted whenever necessary. 

Especially the topic based categories can be temporary, you can install them to accompany a larger communication strategy around an issue that will likely lead to a lot of questions for a certain time period (like a new software rollout) and then lose interest by the users again. For these types of categories it can be beneficial to pair them with sets of FAQ around the temporary subject.

How to setup categories can be found here

Moderators

Managing a large community with thousands of users can be a challenging task. Therefore, it is recommended for the project team to split this responsibility and incorporate so-called ‘’moderators.’’ Ideally, a moderator is responsible for one or more category/ies. The job of a moderator is to observe the user generated content on the platform and perform some the following tasks:

  • Manually allocate unanswered questions to the right experts
  • Intervene if false or not suitable content is shared
  • Orchestrate with the project team or other stakeholders in order to upload new content
  • Occasionally comment on questions & answer to provide additional context
  • Analyze the content and deprive relevant insights which can be shared with business leaders & the project team

The following admin roles are perfectly suited for a moderator: Content & Communication Admin

Communication

Occasionally it might be required to issue some form of communication to the entire community. The announcement feature allows the communication with the entire user group in a simple manner. This feature is ideally suited for:

  • Accompany a communication campaign in the company as part of the communication strategy
  • Inform about upcoming events or contests (e.g. gamification / webinars / festivities)
  • Announce new user groups joining the platform
  • Inform about upcoming platform changes
  • Inform about current topics on the platform (e.g. Covid-19)
  • Share tips & tricks
More information about this topic can be found here
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