5 Steps To Awesome Community: Leaders Go Social

Some time ago, I wrote about employees as brand ambassadors and how they can help – or hurt – an organization’s global and social brand. It depends on how well the lines between personal brand and company brand are drawn.

Once a company and leadership has the brand issue sorted out, it’s time to think more deeply about social community and the actual role of community managers.

Many of my clients have created community manager roles. In fact, my friend and colleague Tim McDonald (and several other talented, hard working people listed here – Take time to read the stories of those who are in the social trenches making this role a reality) is a living, breathing example as a Community Manager for HuffPost Live. I believe this role may be a necessity for any company which relies on the good will and contributions of many people, including those who aren’t even employees. Think of the many brands that fall in this category: Apple AAPL -0.56%, TOMS Shoes, The Linux Foundation, too many tech companies to mention (ok, Canonical, local Boston area heroes Google GOOG -0.71% here in Cambridge, Black Duck Software, HubSpot and Acquia) and the gazillion other consumer brands who are waking up to the power of collaborating with loosely-coupled online social communities.

Companies which value collaboration, understand the value of social buzz, and see the need to add (or subtract) a step in the sales process are all ripe for social community development. So are brands which have sustained brand damage. So what are the guidelines for establishing a community manager role in your organization?

Here are 5 ways to empower a great community manager(s):

1) Know the boundaries of your existing community. Is there a Facebook page? A corporate Twitter handle? How about G+, LinkedIn, YouTube, wikis, or a customer portal? Good, then you have community. At least the start of one. Now it’s time to show them the love. It’s time to manage it actively (and positively) with a community manager.

2) Build guardrails around your community with a very light touch. Don’t tell your various communities of interest that you’re putting them in a big box – craft a community entity (think brand) by gradually bringing them closer. Try surveys, outreach, and blogs asking people what they’d like to see from your company’s brand, and build from there.

3) Hire carefully. There are lots of self-styled community managers out there. Look at Jono Bacon’s book The Art of Community. Use it as a guide as you build the job description. Or better yet – start “actively listening” in on social channels about what people are saying. And take the time to figure out what you want to accomplish with the community.

4) Don’t forget the importance of process. Communities work best when all understand the ground rules. Craft a community manifesto or a similar guidebook and share it.

5) Empower your communities. Once you have the community manager in place, and the goals, build an action plan. Make the goals both short and long-term; monthly, yearly, five years. Know what you want, and put the plan in place to get there. Make it measurable, and make sure your leadership and the community manager is accountable. This is a team effort.

Communities are critical to building a business which can navigate channels – direct to customer, social, sales, partner and employee. Leaders need to act now to gather community around their brands.

It’s 2016, talented people. Time to climb in the social sandbox. Maybe it’s time to show the community manager some love and respect as an essential and valued role within your organization. Let’s keep talking. This is only the beginning.

A version of this post was first published on on 10/22/12

Photo Credit: doeperjohn via Compfight cc

Hiring: Moving Forward With Mobile? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a full recap of the week’s highlights and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: “Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane.”)

Several weeks ago at #TChat Events, our community discussed the rapid rise in demand for mobile recruiting.

The statistics are mind-boggling. Already, it’s estimated that 1 billion job-related searches are initiated each month from mobile devices. That kind of volume means organizations everywhere are racing to make their candidate experience more mobile friendly.

Mobile Recruiting Leaps Forward: Can Hiring Keep Pace?

These explosive mobile adoption figures lead us to wonder — what happens after the recruitment phase?

Are HR organizations committed to mobile-friendly hiring processes — from the offer letter to onboarding — and beyond? What will it take to connect the mobile workforce dots across the entire employee lifecycle? And how can we get there from here? That’s what we’ll explore this week at #TChat Events, with two talent acquisition experts:

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Industry Analyst at Brandon Hall Group and
Todd Owens, President and COO at TalentWise, a next-generation hiring platform provider.

Todd took several minutes to help frame this week’s issues in a “sneak peek” hangout with me:

This is an important issue for talent-minded professionals everywhere. So we hope you’ll join the conversation this week. We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Mobile Devices + Hiring = Good Match?


Tune-in to #TChat Radio

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 13 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Todd Owens and Kyle Lagunas about how mobile hiring processes extend the candidate experience and improve HR effectiveness. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 13 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What exactly is mobile hiring, and how it is being applied today?
Q2: What are the advantages of hiring anywhere, anytime?
Q3: How can mobile hiring showcase an organization’s corporate culture?
Q4: How can companies get all generations to adopt mobile recruiting/hiring?
Q5: Is mobile hiring a revolution, while mobile onboarding is an evolution?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Impact of Social, Mobile and Video on Workplace Culture: #TChat Preview

I remember way back in the fall of 2009 (yes, it feels that way), both at the HR Technology Conference and Onrec, that the three technology workplace culture rock stars of 2010 were going to be:

  • Social
  • Mobile
  • Video

And for the most part, they were.  Not in a mass adoption sense — it’s still too early even today for that.  But we definitely saw a lot of cool new applications and lots of talk about all three — from business leaders, HR and recruiting icons, HR technology suppliers and individual contributors.

But how did those rock stars affect everyday workplace culture in 2010?  For better or for worse?  Did they make us feel more interconnected and interdependent, or did they just continue to disrupt and destroy any semblance of productivity and growth we convinced ourselves we had?  Did they help better recruit and retain?  Grow the business?  Or not?

Last week on #TChat we talked about workplace culture and what makes them magnetic.  This week on Tuesday, 12/21, from 8-9 p.m. ET (5-6 p.m. PT) we’re going to talk about how social, mobile and video impacted culture in 2010.

And then we’re going to talk about what’s in store for workplace culture in 2011.  More of the same?  Or how about more c0working as well as dispersed virtual teams?

Learn more about what #TChat is here.  We hope to see you this Tuesday, December 21, from 8-9 p.m. ET (5-6 p.m. PT).  (Please note, we’ll be taking a #TChat holiday on 12/28, but will be back live on Tuesday, January 4, 2011.)