Hello fellow community professionals and enthusiasts!
First, a huge apology for my epic delay on getting these updates to you, and also for missing a meet-up for August. We did meet in July and again just yesterday. I'll get you a link to those recordings ASAP but below are some highlights.
July Meet-up: State of Community Management recap w/ special guest Nicole Saunders.
During this meeting, we talked about the State of Community Management report which gets published annually by the peeps at Community Roundtable. We were joined by Zendesk's Director of Community, Nicole Saunders, who also contributed to this year's report.
What's in the report?
- Broken in 8 “key findings” areas
- Community Management
- Content & Programs
- Policies & Governance Tools
- Community & AI
- Metrics & Measurement
- Also includes models and frameworks for assessing communities and a course too
- Maturity Model
- Engagement Framework
- Skills Framework
- Technology Framework
- Community 101
The report also provided a “key findings” area, broken down into these 3 elements.
Create definition to level up your community program
The need for a strategy is not new, but still remains a common thread in defining success
Evangelism may be a hidden task, but it’s also a secret weapon
Often community teams are small, and in order to make the impact known you have to advocate for yourself
Times are hard, but it’s not just communities that are tightening their belts
Communities are not being trimmed down across the board, and in fact, many are thriving
- Even under the current economy, the best communities are expanding, not contracting
- CMs continue to evangelize and build small wins to gain even more community support
- Community and content strategies have loads of intersections
- AI is here to stay, and is NOT the enemy of communities but an ally
- Its likely not as hard as you think to use metrics to prove the ROI of your community, you just gotta look
It was a great convo, and a pleasure to have Nicole on the call. Looking forward to seeing where communities are headed into 2024.
September Meet-up: Community Outreach & Campaigns
During this meeting we touched on some of the successes, failures, and shared tips on outreach efforts with regards to communities.
What have ya'll tried? What's worked or not worked?
Most of the conversation here stemmed around email campaigns targeted largely at either to existing members, or invites to non-members, though we did talk about getting some face-time at in-person and virtual events to also promote communities. What worked best was simple, short, and personal emails. What didn't work great was lengthy emails with too many choices and non-human feel, or too large an audience for too small a community.
Metrics & Benchmarks
The most common metrics used were pretty basic for email campaigns, i.e. open rates and click rates. These have the benefit of having industry standard benchmarks, which were roughly 20% open rates and 2% click rates. Slightly more sophisticated metrics were conversation rates, and engagement rates, meaning those who joined and/or engaged in the community as a result of a campaign. There is a desire to set benchmarks here too but less industry standards are known.
In other news, I've booked out our meetings for the rest of 2023. As we draw nearer to those events, I'll update them with the topic of discussion.That said, I'd love to know what sorts of topics you'd like to chat about so definitely let me know here or send me a note. Here's the dates for our meetings for Q4.
My biggest takeaways I shared were:
- Don’t be afraid to fail - Its ok if a campaign doesn't work like you expect, just keep trying; regroup, analyze, and try again
- Be patient and don’t go big too soon - when starting out, it can be easy to want to invite everyone you can but you need to develop the community incrementally; you want their first experience to be a fun one
- Automate, but keep it human - automating email sends is a huge time saver, but don't sacrifice a human feel; find a healthy balance
- Keep it fresh, fun, and for everyone - try and keep your email copy up-to-date and have your own unique flair; and try to make sure there's something in there for all the varied personas you are sending to
It was a great conversation and enjoyed learning what others are doing, and it continues to reiterate that we are all experiencing the same problems--in short, we're all in this together [insert hand holding gif here].
Q4 event dates and times
Last but not least, I'm booking out our meet-ups for the remainder of the year. Here's the dates and times for those.
- Oct. 11 at 10:00 am CST
- Nov. 8 at 10:00 am CST
- Dec. 20 at 10:00 am CST
I'll get these events added so you can start registering and as we draw nearer to the meeting dates, I'll updated with the topic of discussion. That said, I'd love to hear what ya'll wanna talk about. If you've got suggestions, just let me know below or send me a note.
Thanks all and keep up the good work! You rock!!!
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