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Archive for August 1st, 2012

OK, here for the second part of the Community Management (four parts are planned).
My previous post tried to focus mostly on WHAT. What was it? Who ran it? Who were involved? I’ll return to that and possibly with some interviews… (It would be very interesting to see what CMs made of their skill!)

So, today it’s about HOW. How did we do it all? How do you know if your action will succeed. Well, you don’t. There was a lot of trial-and-error! Lycky thing: We CM’s were noobs, rookies and so was our members. A kind of Klondyke (in the positive aspect). And yes, I had a feeling “this is good stuff to learn” – i didn’t really know why, but in some way all this we did for fun would sooner or later make their way into organisations.

We off on a straight path into the unknown. Yes! We were thrilled! Time was perfect, as needed “collagues” to talk to – being new as consultant wasn’t all that ease in a recession. So, Social Media made a perfect entre. I ran seven groups in total but will focus on the group “Cafe life”.  That was my main goal: to gather in groups and for discussion at cafes, preferably covering work. I was not alone – less than a month later we were 100+ and we peaked at 670 members in 2006.  Then came Facebook 🙂 Nah, not really true. A number of changes to the platform struck our groups heavily. Parallel to this other networks like Yahoo, Jaiku took its tooll. In Sweden “Lunarstorm” was huge as well. I guess that’s true everywhere – we all started in national communities – and now we’re attracted to huge networks.

Goals?
Dialog. Coffee. Great cafe’s. It’s easy to forget when you’re part of a development. In parts of town we had very few cafes – let alone even fewer wifi’s.

Intentions?
My hope was to encourage, empower and breathe for more air. Cross-functionality with other groups. Especially the groups “Skärgårdsaktiviteter” (The Archipelago Group) and a few others.

Purpose?
Nutcracking. Philosophy. Engineering. Blogs, sites and more. Bring your stuff and tell us. We’ll figure something out. And it’s amazing – most groups do! Trust the process, trust the group.

Channels to communicate?
This is probably one of my clearest views ever. After my first meeting at Shortcut I grasped the pen and signed in. The fantastic this case was the hazzle-free communication – almost no problem if you don’t attend. (Well, some – these were still the days of on-off. Not calledup modems, but we did disconnect from the service from time to time. Would you do that with your electric connection?

The tremendous change was – if you attended a meeting but didn’t manage to talk to all – you could continue on the community. It’s easy to forget the importance of this!

Communicare
The first and the last – the most important in Communities are the same as always: First expressions last. I’ve seen many communities and they treat their members in different manners. The care you share with your members are immediately and over time reflected to you. Here’s probably one of the most important skills!

Critical level
All groups of people need critival levels. How? People are funny. Watch gatherings of people. Some people love it – some not so much. We’ve found events to be slow in start if they start from zero (or one). We people have at sticking surface. Attract more and it will grow. We co-operated cross-borderwise – all arrangements then start with a number of REAL people, participating. For a “fika-paus” (coffee break in Swedish) 2 – 4 may be enough. Travelling to an island in the archipelago probably would need 8-10 people.

Welcoming new members
No matter our volume as a group – we all appreciate being welcomed! Nowadays my community management is limited to our showgroups’ “Club Jambalaya – new group”. We still welcome new members as often as we can. I attended other Communities but no matter how much you offer – if the heart is not there the community will die. It’s hard to fake passion. And I believe a CM should have a lot of that – still not dominating.

Restart after breaks
I realised during the first year or so how important a little extra spin on the wheel is needed in summertime and over  Christmas and New Year. On the second year we gained so much speed that we made it past those phases of lower activity. It’s also extremely important to level this with member’s activities (see below)

Invite others To act (delegate)
Under the first year of “Cafe life” (and the six other communities incl Gardening, Freelancing and four more) the number of arrangers grew steadily. It takes some guts to arrange something in a fastgrowing group. This may be just the same in an organisation. Who’s the one kick-starting projects? To grow and prosper a lot of people need to act – release them!

I’ll stop here. More very soon!

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