This community management glossary provides a list of common terms and acronyms you'll encounter in the community world.
We're always on the lookout for new entries. If you have a suggestion, please drop us a line!
See also: ESN. A weekly Twitter chat that focuses on ESN (enterprise social network/internal community) topics and questions. Join in every Thursday from 2-3pm ET!
This theory states that in any group of 100 community members there is/are: 1 member that is a super active communicator, actively engaging everyone else in the group, 9 who are somewhat active, engaging the rest of the group occasionally and 90 who are content to simply listen or follow the 10.
TheCR's State of Community Management research has proved that this 'rule' is false. Data shows that in best-of-class communities, 11% of members are active, regular, communicators; 33% engage the group occasionally; and 36% passively absorb information (with 19% of members not accessing the community within the past month).
AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. These are community engagement programs that community managers often employ to facilitate question-and-answer exchanges between members and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) popularized by Reddit. AMA opportunities are common within the community building and social network space and can be set up in many different formats or variations. They are a great way to provide transparency, accessibility and knowledge sharing.
A real-time online conversation that takes place during a primary activity or live discussion. Example: Chatting on Slack while attending a webinar.
The measurement of the quality of an organization’s product, programs and policies. TheCR provides a Benchmarking to clients.
AKA: Advocate or Ambassador. Champion refers to a member who participates in formal leadership programs inside a community. Often these programs are called "Advocacy Programs". Champions are responsible for providing value to their networks in the form of thought leadership, program facilitation, and/or content. Champions often focus on a specific topic, industry, or member region.
A Community Manager, or other Community Professional. Often used as #cmgr.
The Community Maturity Model. TheCR developed this model as a tool for you to use to understand, plan and assess the performance of community and social business initiatives. TheCR uses the CMM to organize our research, curated content and other services.
A specific member engagement profile. Refers to the type of community member who collaborates in the community (i.e. creates value - this could be training materials, code/apps, events, product specs, marketing materials, etc) as well as creates content independently.
The ability to represent the needs of the community and provide support or recommendation for it in a variety of situations.
TheCR Community Engagement Framework gives structure to the process of working out loud and provides community managers with the goals and metrics they should focus on as their communities evolve.
Your rules of engagement. A list of encouraged and discouraged behaviors you share with your community members. A place to define which behaviors are expected and express the community's core values.
Community Leadership Program
See also: Champion This is often seen as an 'Advocacy' or 'Champion' program. These community leaders act as ambassadors of the community to help fulfill specific roles and support community goals.
The technology that hosts your community network. Examples include: Jive, Lithium, Higher Logic and Salesforce.
Community Skills Framework
The Community Skills Framework includes five skill families with ten skills in each family, that are used in community management.
An engagement profile. Members of a community who have commented on a blog, discussion thread, document or other item but don’t start discussions. They may also bookmark, rate, share or tag content, update their status or participate in events.
An engagement profile. Members of a community who have started a discussion, a chat or a blog post or participated in community leadership activities including content moderation, welcoming members or initiating programming
Customer Relationship Management. The approach to managing an organization's interaction with current and future customers. Often a CRM system exists as an online tool. Examples include: Highrise, Method, and Salesforce.
See also: Champion, Community Leadership Program “Employee advocacy is empowering your employees to support the goals of the brand”. - Liz Bullock . Like Community Leadership roles, employee advocates work as ambassadors of an organizational goal/project.
The process by which members interact with the community. Behaviors that constitute engagement include: Asking/answering questions, sharing resources, attending calls/events, welcoming new members, and Working Out Loud, among many other public community actions.
Enterprise Social Network. An online social network for an internal business community. An ESN platform can provide your organization with a place to collaborate, ask questions, track projects and share ideas.
The practice of supporting an executive's involvement in and understanding of a community. Executive Engagement skills include the ability to understand executive context and needs, speak the language of executives and identify how to assist executives in a way they can absorb.
Community existing outside of an organization, typically a community of practice, a support community, a customer community or a community of interest.
Extrinsic motivators encourage a person to do something for the purpose of obtaining an external reward or outcome. (Ex: Amazon gift card).
Gamification is the skill of understanding what game-based motivators may drive members and how to use those motivators to help members get value out of the community that they may not initially recognize. Often times gamification efforts appear in the form of points, badges, or 'games' that encourage gentle competition around engagement.
The theory that the visible activity of a community is only a very small part of the overall activity of a community.
An engagement profile. Members who have a profile in the community but who are inactive, which typically means they have not accessed the community in the past month.
A community that exists within an organization, generally comprised of employees, alumni, stakeholders, etc.
Motivation that comes from inside an individual rather than from any outside rewards. These motivations come from the pleasure one gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing/working on a task. (Ex: Sense of pride/ownership).
An engagement profile. A member who only views content.
Representing the needs expressed by the community or individual members to other stakeholders to ensure those needs are heard and addressed.
A person who moderates an Internet forum or online community discussion. Sometimes the Community Manager herself fulfills this role. Often times Community Managers/Community networks function with the assistance of volunteer moderators. These moderators could be considered champions/advocates. Examples of this work: Reddit is supported by teams of unpaid moderators who have a stake in the well-being of the community/discussion forums.
Developing and bringing together written, graphic and/or multimedia elements into strong, simple storylines that help people understand and put information in context.
New Member Welcoming
Building connections and creating content and programming to help members feel comfortable, connected and engaged in their first interactions within the community.
The process of bringing a new member up to speed in the community space. Community members, new community management employees and high-level executives all require on-boarding to help them maximize community value and functionality. Often happens in conjunction with New Member Welcoming, but is not the same.
A playbook is a living document that outlines and details the policies and practices that govern your community. Like a roadmap, a playbook exists for the use of your internal community team.
Managing a collection of responsibilities for a community or community program, which could include budget management, team management, vendor management, contractor management, reporting and P&L ownership.
A roadmap is your plan for operations and tactics that will allow the community to fulfill its strategic goals. (Think: Where are you going and how will you get there?) Roadmap development requires the ability to link strategic goals to the tactics that will successfully achieve them, within the limits of the resources available.
Return on Investment. Often discussed in conjunction with benchmarking. ROI is a relatively simple metric, calculated by dividing the benefit of an investment by its cost. ROI is a hot-topic in Community Management because most community programs find it to be a challenging metric to calculate.
Roundtable (Roundtable Call)
These are regular programming events hosted by TheCR. They are conference calls open to all members of TheCR Network. They are often hosted by an industry expert or fellow member.
Scalability is the capability of a system, network, organization or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged in order to accommodate that growth.
Search Engine Optimization. The process of developing and organizing content in a way that makes it easy to find via search.
Channels of communication that prevent collaboration or the re-use of resources. The most commonly talked about silo is email because the information shared within emails is only accessible to those on the mailing list, not the entire organization/community.
The State of Community Management. An annual research platform offered by TheCR that presents an analytical view of the community management discipline.
Start, Build, Grow
These are three stages of community development. You can use the CMM to assess the stages different aspects of your organization are operating at.
A highly-bought-in member of the community. Super users "drink the kool aid". They are regular contributors to community activities and generally become familiar faces on the platform. Community Managers often leverage Super Users for informal support, and tap them for involvement in formal Member Leadership Programs.
Generating, applying and managing the electronic tags or keywords used in your community to classify and describe content, to make it more findable and discoverable.
The classification that content is based, within a community.
The Community Roundtable (that’s us!). In addition to TheCR Network we help communities benchmark their progress, provide training and education online and in person, publish industry-leading research and help dozens of organizations around the world through our custom advisory services.
User Experience. The process of designing web pages, software applications or processes that make tasks and behaviors easy, enjoyable and intuitive for the user.
Work Out Loud. An engagement practice to create member collisions that allow participants to see what others are doing, ask for advice and give input to others. WOL programs are practiced in many communities and have a number of benefits. Check out this great blog post by John Stepper to dig a little deeper into the WOL philosophy.