By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
This is a short and sweet (as in “Sweet! Best practices I can use!) post on one of the most common questions we get at TheCR: “How do I convince our executives to invest in community programs? Help!” Through the State of Community Management 2014 we identified three best practices for getting executives on-board with your community initiatives.
1. Define what success looks like.
The best way to help people see your vision is to define what success looks like. Use the State of Community Management 2014 research and the Community Maturity Model to help define which initiatives you think your community program will need to be successful. The Community Maturity Model provides the eight core maturity competencies that provide a framework to assess your strengths and weaknesses in your community program. Defining these success metrics against standard competencies helps you plan a comprehensive roadmap – and manage the expectations of your team.
2. Audit your community management capabilities.
We found through the SOCM 2014 research that overall community maturity has been evolving rapidly especially in the area of community strategy, confirming that some of the basics about what a community is and what it can do for an organization are more widely understood and accepted. There are still wide gaps in organizations’ ability to execute on community strategies with the biggest opportunities in developing content and programming approaches and in developing measurement techniques.
You can use the SOCM 2014 research to compare your community management capabilities against the market average and best-in-class data to demonstrate to executives where your program strengths are, where opportunities lie and why those opportunities will impact performance. (For more info download the free report and use the chart of p 67 as a starting point for plotting your current community state.)
3. Build a roadmap.
Once you’ve completed an audit or community performance benchmark you can use it to build out a community roadmap that links specific activities and initiatives to the opportunities you have identified. Use this roadmap as a discussion tool during budget and planning sessions. This can help move the conversation of ‘why should we invest’ to ‘what should we invest in’, which is a powerful change that enables you to make progress.
Do you have a best practice that has helped you secure executive investment? What challenges have you faced in getting executive buy-in?
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