By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
To celebrate our 5th anniversary this month I sat down with a few of our long-time members to chat about their community experience over the last five years. Today I’m happy to share my conversation with Heather Strout, Director of Product Marketing at Lithium. I’m actually lucky enough to know Heather in real life – we worked together many moons ago, and can personally vouch for her awesomeness.
In addition to her day job at Lithium, Heather is part of the team that hosts a monthly community manager breakfast in Austin, TX. If you’re in the Austin area tomorrow (4/3/14) you should join them!
1. How have you seen the community management space evolve over the past five years?
Community Management for business is no longer uncharted territory. We can rely on the documented experiences of others to shape a successful community today. Five years ago, we were still relying on other industries and precursors to community to chart community strategy.
Organizations like The Community Roundtable have allowed Community Managers to evolve their community, and thus the industry as a whole, so quickly. It’s still a nascent business strategy but is considered a core strategy to so many companies now. Five years ago, it still seemed as if many companies were in the experimental stage.
2. What are some of the biggest differences from when you first started out in community management?
Now, businesses take the role of community manager, and the value of community, seriously. It’s no longer a secret weapon for those who have figured out the value. In some industries, having a customer community is not an option; it’s a necessity to stay competitive.
3. What would you do differently in your first community management role knowing what you know now?
I would have been more insistent on making sure the business knew how to make a successful community and what it took to get there. Specifically, getting senior management buy-in to not just why a community can be valuable but the effort needed to make it a success.
Thanks, Heather! We are so lucky to have long-time members like you advocating for community management! If you want to connect with Heather you can find her on twitter.
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