By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
One of the greatest challenges for many community managers is a feeling of isolation in their role. We know one internal community manager who is officially part of the IT team her company – leaving her few colleagues that have a true interest or understanding in the issues she faces on a day to day basis. As community management continues to emerge as a discipline we think we’ll see a shift toward more involvement and investment from many different job roles and departments, but for now too often community managers are left without a team to collaborate, brainstorm and/or discuss challenges with. Asking for advice is almost impossible when you’re the only one on your team that understands the problem.
Enter TheCR Network.
In addition to tangible resources like case studies, templates, worksheets and action plans, TheCR Network provides an intangible, and invaluable resource in the form of dozens of community experts – all tuned in and eager to help. Recently a member posted an urgent plea in the forums:
“Hey everyone, would love to get some thoughts on the importance of having a water cooler on an online community…
If some of you who are farther down the road than I are able to share some of your experiences, I would be grateful.
I should add that I also have a deadline of the end of today in order to put together a convincing argument on this. Not that it stops this discussion from persisting beyond tomorrow, but I appreciate any urgency from others sympathetic to my cause.”
Within the hour (literally 44 minutes) members started posting advice, offering their support and time, providing the original poster with email templates, blog posts and supporting documents and generally being awesome. Within 24 hours there were over 20 voices in the conversation – essentially creating a team around the member in need and helping him solve his problem in the absence of an internal team.
It’s hard to articulate the value of a peer network until you’re in a bind. We’ve found the members of TheCR Network are eager to jump in and help brainstorm a solution, offer their advice and mentor each other through times of need. This story also has a happy ending from a issue-resolution perspective.
About a week later, the original poster shared an update:
“After I compiled all the great stuff that you provided here I presented it to my boss. It appeared to win her over and she took it up the chain.
Initial response was that we would still proceed to remove the water cooler.
It was a dire time.
I was dreading have to come back with defeat in my hands, so I left it a bit to give it some time to play out further.
About a week later, our sponsoring executive appeared to have a change of mind. Realized we are the communications department, and thus shouldn’t be afraid to make recommendations to the business on how we should be doing communications in the future. The decision was made to keep it, but make it less prominent in the hopes of not drawing so much attention.
– a partial victory?
Thanks again to all of you, regardless of what the senior leadership team here decides, your input has been invaluable to me in solidifying my own framework of what makes a successful community.”
When we founded The Community Roundtable we were interested in (and still are interested in) advancing the business of the community. But when an interaction like this one takes place (and this is just one example of member interactions that are happening every day) we realize that the business of community really is the people that are making it happen. The community practitioners on the ground, living community every day are the business of community.
If you’re silo’d in your role as a community manager and think you could benefit from an instant team of dozens of experts membership in the Network might make sense for you. You can learn more about the Network here or reach out to chat with us any time – we’re even happy to connect you with a current member to get an inside take on the advantages that membership brings.
TheCR Network is the leading community for business leaders exploring the opportunities and challenges that come from applying new media and communications approaches to their organizations. In addition to access and introductions to the smartest practitioners in the market the Network provides:
- Roundtable discussions with leading thinkers and peers, exploring a wide range of relevant topics.
- Access to our extensive library of reports from past roundtable calls and case studies
- Curated lists of the most important public content and reports
- Discounts on training, conferences and events
- Professional concierge service and access to Rachel Happe & Jim Storer
- Read more from TheCR Network Members themselves
- Hear tips from TheCR Network Members (video)