EXPERT INSIGHTS

Jul-11-2023

3 Key findings from The State of Community Management 2023 Report

Holly Lynaugh, Integrated Campaigns Specialist, Khoros

Introduction

In even the most advanced online communities, staying informed about the latest trends, challenges, and best practices in the field is integral for maintaining lasting success.

In the 14th annual report from The Community Roundtable: The State of Community Management 2023, you can get the latest scoop on online communities — with invaluable tactics and recommendations to help inform your ongoing strategic community planning.

The report is particularly useful for global community leaders and change management professionals, who can use the findings to support their business cases and make their online communities even more effective.

We highly recommend you take a dive into the full report to get all the best insights, but here we’ve provided an overview of some of the top takeaways to help your organization thrive in the ever-changing community landscape.

1. Define and level up your community program

The first step to defining your community strategy is aligning it with business goals and objectives. Keep in mind that community management strategies may vary depending on the type of communities you create. In another blog, Khoros breaks down the steps required for creating and implementing a community management strategy, regardless of community type.

Here are the basic steps to get started:

1. Build a roadmap

After defining your community strategy, build a corresponding roadmap that details the community tactics you will use to realize your vision; this helps justify the necessary resources when trying to get buy-in from other stakeholders in the company.


2. Tie your roadmap to larger organizational objectives

Another important consideration is aligning this community strategy with larger content and program planning to maximize the impact of efforts across different areas of the organization. This helps share the responsibility of program planning across the organization while also exploring novel ways to engage with your audience.


3. Create a community leadership program

Implementing a community leadership program is vital when trying to grow and scale your communities.

Introducing a leadership or superuser program has the potential to boost loyalty and provide a compelling case for why your community deserves recognition. Diversify your community team by involving experts and passionate individuals from both within and outside your organization.


4. Define community policies and guidelines

Lastly, it’s important to clearly define the policies and guidelines in your community. According to The Community Roundtable’s research, 69% of all surveyed communities reported having policies and guidelines in place. The research also found that 100% of best-in-class communities, those who met The Community Roundtable’s advanced community criteria, reported having defined policies and guidelines. 

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Confirm that your members understand what is acceptable and encouraged in your community, to help safeguard long-term success. Additionally, make sure these terms of service and community guidelines are aligned with overarching goals. These solidified guidelines and boundaries benefit everyone involved — you, your members, and the community. For a starting point, try asking peers for examples of their policies and guidelines, customize as needed, and make them your own.

2. Harness the power of evangelism

With the myriad of responsibilities shouldered by community managers, internal evangelism often takes a backseat. However, simply advocating for the value of a community may not be enough. It's imperative that the community manager isn't the sole voice singing the praises of the community within the organization.

In The Community Roundtable’s research, 90% of best-in-class communities surveyed reported positive perceptions from executives. So how do you foster this support from leadership? Start by coordinating efforts and identifying team members who can act as champions to get support from middle management and executives. Holding the interest of stakeholders is essential to the long-term success of any community program.

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Why is internal buy-in so important? To start, building a thriving community is difficult. Not every business considers it a necessity, and some stakeholders may view it as a nice-to-have rather than a mandatory investment of time and resources.

Tailoring your communication to different teams within the organization is key. For example, marketers tend to care about how a community can grow its audience or generate positive sentiment, while product teams care more about how the community will help them receive feedback from customers and further innovation. When each department understands its role in community building, they can allocate the necessary efforts and resources for a healthy and successful community.

Above all, never stop evangelizing — seize any opportunity to speak to others within your organization about your community program. Although this can be challenging with the growing prevalence of remote work, make sure to communicate your message whenever and wherever possible. The more community evangelists who understand the language of community, the easier it becomes to promote the program throughout the organization.

3. Weather the storm of economic uncertainty

Recent global economic slowdown and uncertainty have affected businesses across various industries. According to The Community Roundtable’s research, many survey respondents reported increasing staff and budget cuts in 2023. Despite these challenges, the research found that 73% of best-in-class community programs are still being funded with dedicated budgets, and they are increasingly able to prove the value of their communities.

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In the face of economic uncertainty, your community team has to be adaptable and aligned with the changing priorities of the organization.

Be prepared to pivot when necessary during challenging times to maintain an effective community strategy. This can include expanding your community planning to include new use cases. In order to navigate the current economic climate successfully, continuously explore new ways of utilizing community within your organization while aligning them with your business objectives.

Conclusion

Proving the value of your online community is paramount today more than ever before. By staying proactive and up-to-date on community management best practices, trends, and strategies, you can keep your community program healthy and thriving in the months and years ahead.

Take advantage of The State of Community Management 2023 and implement key findings into your own programs. Download the full report here to help navigate impending challenges and lead your online community to thrive in the dynamic digital world.

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