Megan Smith, the community manager at Ovation TV, and I presented this week at the Online Marketing Summit on the fundamentals of community management. It gave me the chance to revisit and refresh my thinking. As part of the exercise, Megan and I identified the most common risks of having a community without a manager. We categorized the risks in the following way:
- A Ghost Town: There is no engagement and little to see after the initial community membership drive.
- Land of 1,000 Flowers: People have a space to do whatever they wish, so they do… but it makes it difficult for others to find valuable and relevant content.
- Drama Central: A certain set of people have a need for attention and others flock to drama, but it is not productive.
- A Circling Storm: A few people with entrenched issues, some legitimate and others irrational, build coalitions of the disgruntled that can simmer into a full boil
- A Clique: A niche crowd takes over the community for their own interests which may or may not match the goal of the organization and create a barrier to participation for new members
We have seen communities shuttered for all of these reasons and blame placed on the software, the audience, the culture, or the executive support – all of which can be legitimate challenges but often the problem lies in the lack of ongoing oversight, engagement, programming, and moderation which are all responsibilities of community managers. These tasks take time and resources that are often an after thought in social marketing, social support, collaboration, or other social business initiatives.
Here is our entire presentation:
Have you run across other risks that we should be including here? Let us know!