Note: This content appears in a slightly different form in our ebook: CMGT 101: 17 Community Leaders Share Their Secrets for Success. CMGT 101 is packed with engagement ideas, governance tips, career advice, and more from community leaders working at innovative organizations like CA Technologies, Aetna, Electronic Arts, SAP, Pearson, Akamai, and Atlassian. Download the ebook here for free.
Heather Ausmus, Director of Community at Ciena shared her tips for successfully incorporating research into a community management program.
Why is published research an important tool for a community management program?
Using industry research to guide your work is critical for community managers. Vetted research from a trusted source can help you define goals and objectives and understand accepted engagement benchmarks. Use research strategically to build a roadmap and optimize your strategy to find innovative solutions and make better decisions.
Do find trusted experts.
Sign up for emails, participate in their research, join their communities, attend their events, and follow them on your preferred social channels.
Do make staying informed a priority.
Reserve time each week to read industry information, new articles and blogs. I typically reserve time on Fridays to review relevant industry blogs and reports.
Do familiarize yourself with the source material.
Make sure you are comfortable with the research before you present or discuss within your organization. Be prepared to answer questions about the findings and how they relate to your program, and your plans for the future.
Do connect with peers.
Even if you feel silo’d at your organization there are lots of other people facing the same challenges you are. Ask other community managers in the industry what they’re doing and if they’re willing to discuss their program with you. Don’t have community peers? Find some! There are great groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and of course, TheCR Network.
Don’t limit yourself.
Find multiple sources in your industry, and the wider community world, and leverage what fits best for your community use case, stakeholders, and you.