Steps for managing an internal online community

1. Prepare

Organise a first meeting to help people know each other and get connected:

  • Co-create rules.
  • Identify champions and share the burden – give responsibilities, it is a collective initiative.
  • Define the vision and key success factors.

2. Design

  • Offer a central workspace for the work which has to be done.
  • Invite some co-workers – champions, those who are keen to start the journey, the “that’s a great idea!” people, to have a first look. Based on their feedback, review the collaborative space and develop guidance material.
  • Structure – a “top content” section, a library, conversations…
  • Keep the technology simple to be successful and invest in « killing » functionalities – quick polls, metadata, co-authoring, for instance.

3. Implement

  • Invite all co-workers.
  • Promote training opportunities – for self-learning also.
  • Welcome – behind the scenes, in an intimate fashion – and remind co-workers to complete profiles and set-up alerts as well as following models to get the most of the tool.
  • Accompany the development of successful cases.

4. Develop

  • Work mainly behind the scenes. A healthy community should not need a community manager, in theory.
  • Gather success stories in a dedicated space.
  • Inspire Trust, and Model respectful communication techniques that co-workers can learn from.
  • Send an email digest on a regular basis, linking directly to conversations happening in the space.
  • Curate content.
  • Make content gardening – tag, notify people, new titles for documents, etc.
  • Follow the Community’s lead.

5. Animate

  • Foresee a community management action plan. Make building relationships a priority in this community management plan.
  • Organize events – chat sessions, webinars, quick polls, crowd-sourcing activities,..
  • Notify experts to reenergize conversations – if need be!
  • If you need to energize the community, one option is to let co-workers swap roles and perform another function for a day. They will gain a better appreciation of how people need to work together.
  • Actively listen « if you read, like »
  • Invite new members. Inject new blood who will then « revigorate the community ».
  • Use peer-engagement techniques.
  • If conflicts or misinterpretations arise, be the first to seek a resolution.

6. Monitor

  • Monitor activity on a regular basis. Compare with the average activity in other groups.
  • Identify influencers.

7. Wrap-up

  • Close the space and archive content.
  • Reward most active participants.
  • Promote best conversations yielding business outcomes.

8. Analyze

  • Exchange lessons learnt with other community managers.
  • Compare results.
  • Develop a business case for the organization.
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