By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
Last week we hosted our first AMA (ask me anything) webinar with Hillary Boucher – like your typical AMA we asked Hillary questions that our audience sent in (either ahead of time, or in the stream), but unlike a typical AMA this was not just a chat – we held a live webinar so Hillary could provide a little more color on some of the questions that were meatier. As usual we’ve archived the event here in case you missed it (or loved it so much you’d like to relive it again!)
In addition to the questions Hillary tackles in this webinar (including “What fun or creative ideas have you used to drive member engagement?” and “What do you do when your community goes “quiet?”) we had a handful of questions that we ran out of time and didn’t get to answer. I chatted with Hillary after the event and have her answers to these extra questions included below the archive.
And now the bonus questions!
Q: What’s one lesson/aha you’ve learned from a member in the past year?
A: Be prepared for anything on a live virtual event with your community. I was facilitating a call and we lost our presenter. Poof! She was gone. I did my best try to stir up some conversation while we waited, but it was rough. One of the participants is an expert facilitator and she jumped in and requested that we go around the call and answer a question having to do with the topic at hand. Obvious to me in hindsight, but harder to implement without having thought it through head of time. I have now added “what will I do if I lose my presenter” to my list of preparations for calls!
Q: Who is one famous non-cmgr person (celebrity/historical figure/fictional character) you’d love to have as a member of the network or as a roundtable facilitator?
A: Rosa Parks. I’ve always known her story, but was recently re-engaged with it while reading The Power of Habit for a book club inside the network. The author is talking about how to initiate large scale behavior change and points to her as an example because she wasn’t the first person to refuse to move seats in that place and time, but she was a well-networked person providing the optimal connections needed to trigger large wide scale behavior change. I’d love to have her in to discuss how she built and managed relationships with such a large network with so many diverse stakeholders because as community managers that’s exactly what we need to be doing.
Q: How do you see the future of community management?
A: The role is becoming more operationalized. We don’t need to play guessing games any more but can build off each others’ work and the research we are doing at TheCR. As we have a more experienced pool of community professionals moving into leadership roles we will see a more community minded approach coming from the C-suite which will allow community programs to be better funded, more successful, with bigger, built out teams. As a result I think the role will become more specialized based on the needs of the team.
Q: What features are current social media tools missing that could be useful for community managers?
A: I don’t manage social media tools professionally so I’m not the best person to ask that question though I imagine if we asked this one on Twitter we might get an earful. As far as community platforms: I would personally love to see a tool that was user friendly enough for a non-techie community manager to be able to customize with a built-in crm for member management and built-in customizable email notification system.
Q: What vendor/platform do you use for weekly “newsletter” – is it automated or is this manual via email?
A: Right now we use Constant Contact and it is a manual email I spend 2-3 hours on weekly. It’s also the main trigger we use to reach out members on a weekly basis.
A big thanks to Hillary for being our first AMA guinea pig! Stayed tuned for more AMAs in the future.
Did you know that TheCR Network members work with all kinds of communities? In fact, about 25% work in either internal or external communities and 50% work with both! No matter what kind of community you work with membership in TheCR Network will save you time and improve the quality of your work by connecting you with peers, experts and curated information. Learn how joining TheCR Network can improve the work you do.