Written by Rachel Happe, Co-Founder and Principal of The Community Roundtable
I have long joked that when I go to social media events I am the ‘enterprise’ person and when I go to enterprise & collaboration events I am the ‘social media’ person. The reality is that I am very fortunate to be connected to both worlds. When we started TheCR Network, I was very clear that I did not want it to be just for those building communities for marketing, or support, or innovation, or collaboration, or knowledge management. From my perspective there was both enough to learn about opt-in participatory environments that I felt it was too soon to get too specific but I also felt strongly that we have a lot to learn from people who are applying similar principals in different environments, which harkens back to my new product development days and lead user research.
Now that our network includes a rich set of all of those people managing communities in all sorts of contexts, I am even more convinced that this is true and I’ve seen more explicitly what each group has to teach and what each group can learn.
Community Marketing Professionals:
- Know that packaging matters. For products, for content, for experiences.
- Understand the visceral trumps logic much of the time.
- Understand good storytelling is essential and that context is key
- Don’t typically appreciate group dynamics vs. individual and audience dynamics.
- Tend to discount the complexities of enterprise infrastructure, processes and culture.
Community Support Professionals
- Understand metrics, lean management techniques and tracking.
- Understand the complexities of tracking customer touch points and experiences.
- Tend to have limited time horizons for planning and investment – i.e. want ROI now.
- Tend to err on the side of depth and completeness in content rather than appeal.
- Don’t typically think of their work as storytelling.
Collaboration Community Professionals
- Appreciate complexity – in individuals, groups and organizations.
- Understand how policies, technology and culture can make connecting challenging.
- Tend to be thorough and thoughtful.
- Can over-complicate things – content, conversations, metrics.
- Are often more comfortable planning than doing.
It is my hope that by connecting these people together in TheCR Network they have learned from each other. After all context is great, but if you’re selling to the c-suite you need some of those good old fashioned metrics and an understanding of what is realistic in terms of changing cultural habits. And while keeping it simple is often better, not understanding the complexity and accounting for it can submarine the best business efforts. On the other hand, if you are trying to change culture, over-thinking it sometimes doesn’t help – every marathon is run one step at a time and taking each of those steps is a simple task. By interacting with people who see things from a different perspective, hopefully we can all better appreciate and respect those various perspectives. After all depending on context, every strength has the potential to be a flaw and every flaw has the potential to be a strength.
At the end of the day, people are people. We all have our own quirks and as community managers we are dealing with a lot of people, and a lot of quirks. We all need to appeal to and balance the needs of a diverse set of people. We all have something to learn from each other because the chances are, someone like them is someone important to our community and the better we understand and communicate with them, the better we can do our jobs.
How do you balance the various personalities that are important to your community success? How do you help the various constituents in your ecosystem appreciate each other?
TheCR Network is a membership network that provides strategic, tactical and professional development programming for community and social business leaders. The network enables members to connect and form lasting relationships with experts and peers as well as get access to vetted content.