Note: This content appears in a slightly different form in our ebook: CMGT 101: 17 CommunityLeaders 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.
Jerry Janda, our Community MVP 2017 shares best practices for smart communications.
Engagement builds trust with members. Without this trust, you can lose support for the community — especially during times of change. Communicating is the core of engagement (and a key component of change management), so community success is dependent upon effective communications.
DO LISTEN AND PARTICIPATE
Make a daily habit of checking member comments and feedback — and not just their responses to whatever news you share. You can get a feeling for general sentiment by following the chatter in forums and other community conversations.
DO BE OPEN, HONEST, TRANSPARENT
Anything that affects members requires change management, and anything requiring change management is something that members need to know NOW. Withholding information is one of the quickest ways to lose trust.
DON’T IGNORE THE BAD
Few people welcome confrontation, so it’s very tempting to ignore negative community comments or exclude painful truths from communications. Don’t fall into that trap. Remember that even harsh criticism can provide an opportunity for positive engagement.
Communicate early and often and through every channel you have available. Come up with a plan that includes cadence, key messaging, and desired outcomes. And watch community reaction, respond accordingly (and quickly!), and revise your communications plan as appropriate.