There’s a Bundesverband for that!

In preparation for the panel “Job Title – Community Manager” at Social Media Week, I have some thoughts floating around my head.

First of all,  I’m exited to meet and talk to my co-panelists (David Noel of Soundcloud, Surya Santhi of Nokia Maps, and Floian Zühlke of TLGG), and get the chance to ask some questions about their experiences on the job. I think we each come from a very different perspective on Community Management, which will make the conversation all the more interesting!

From what it looks like, the relevance of community management will continue to grow. The following topics in CM are on my radar right now:

Community Management Outsourced vs. Inhouse

To companies whose community is at the very heart of their business model (such as jovoto and soundcloud) its the most natural of things to handle community management from within. But what about traditional companies, who have only just learned the basics of being social? Rather than building that expertise up in house, can they effectively outsource it to a third party, like an agency? What are there shortcomings of that model? And there’s another aspect to it, too: do companies need to build up their own community, or is it all about access to relevant, already existing communities?

Community Management: Formalization of Training and Education

Germany has a reputation for being very structured. Think of an issue and there’s sure to be hundreds of Vereine dedicated to it and perhaps a Bundesverband. And yep, there’s a Bundesverband for Community Management! (Why are they not on the panel by the way?) The Bundesverband Community Management was founded last year and as far as I can tell they are doing important and good work.They are part of the Community Summit each year and initiate regular Community Stammtsiche (another one of those handy German social insitutions). But most importantly, they build up expertise and create visibility for this emerging profession through conducting surveys and blogging.

I believe this formalization of the profession will continue, perhaps leading to a certified “Ausbildung” as Community Manager, to standards for job profiles and wages.

Chief Community Officer / Community Strategist: More Responsibilities as Businesses Grow Social

At the other end of formalization, I believe the need for Strategic Community Managers will rise, as CM cannot be viewed as something peripheral and nice to have (“Oh, let the intern handle the blog”) but will have increasing strategic importance for any business in this fantastic era of social.

In the US, there’s already a small debate about the arising need for Top-Level Community Strategy. DDB’s calls for a Chief Community Officer and Dell employs a Sr. Manager, Community Strategy and Execution while others think this should be the role of the CMO.

Third Party Tools for CM

Social Media analytics tools are mushrooming but at the same time this has become an entire mushroom jungle. Community Managers talk to their community on Social Media, on their own platform, on blogs or in support centers and forums. There’s no central cockpit for tracking or managing all these interactions and making the most of all that channels is one of the great challenges a Community Manager faces. Getting a better hold of relevant data on your own platform as well as across platforms and smart user management systems would really really help. What’s out there so far?

Daniel Langwasser describes a solution called Basecom Community Cockpit - it sounds interesting and I’d like to learn more about it, but who can tell me why they chose such unwise wording? Creating a “Nutzerakte” for each user does simply not evoke the right associations. There’s gotta be a way to make the work of a Community Manager sound less Stasi-like!

Come to think of it, God was a pretty lousy community manager. Ok, so the idea of boiling it all down to 10 rules was good. But he screwed up the relationship with his betatesters, isn't exactly present and accessible for his community and literally communicates "top-down". Not to mention how he let down his best moderator, Jesus.









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