By Shannon Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
Whether you’re starting from scratch with a brand new community, or working with a mature community that doesn’t have well defined programs and processes defining and managing community rules of engagement can be a struggle. We often get asked for a cheat sheet when creating these community rules.
While it’s hard to prescribe a single set of rules for engagement that make sense for different organizations, we put together three best practices for creating rules for engagement that make sense for any type of organization:
1. Define what success looks like.
Make an exhaustive list of everything you don’t want to see in the community – and everything you do want to see, including who participates and how. Be as specific as possible and include stakeholders in this brainstorming. Don’t be afraid to share this guide with your members!
2. Involve community members.
Communities with playbooks and mature policies are more likely to include members in strategic, tactical and policy related decisions. While the relationship between the two things is cyclical – getting members involved early can help drive policy maturity.
3. Develop enabling policies that encourage desired behavior.
Of the communities surveyed that can measure value, 67% have enabling policies. Think of these kinds of policies as a “to-do” list vs. just a list of restricted behaviors. Research shows that it doesn’t take years to develop mature policies and guidelines. 44% of communities that are only a year old have policies that promote positive behavior – and developing these policies early helps you shape and define your community culture before unwanted behaviors take hold.
Do you have a formal set of rules for engagement in your community? How did you go about defining these rules, and how do you actively share and manage these rules inside your community?
Want more insights like these? Download the free State of Community Management 2014 report, and learn more about how community managers approached this issue in The Community Manager Handbook: 20 Lessons from Community Superheroes.
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