What roles can a company play in a Community?

by Alison Michalk October 23, 2019

When a company launches a community, or if they choose to support an existing community, they should have an idea about how they will contribute to the life of that group.

Thinking about this holistically helps ensure the business doesn’t frame the community reductively in terms of an asset (it is one, but it’s more than that), and steps up to take shared responsibility for its success.

Let’s break it down in terms of core community management functions, and some of the hats a company can wear within those areas.

  • Strategy
    • Visionary – sees the potential for community as a strategic asset for the company and starts the conversation.
    • Catalyst – turns the vision for community into action and gets the balls rolling to make it happen.
    • Learner – gathers and absorbs the knowledge it takes to create or support a community from relevant experts and exemplars.
    • Planner – plots out a community strategy and program over a time period, including all the elements needed to succeed.
  • Engagement
    • Recruiter – demonstrates the value of the community and invites membership and participation.
    • Producer – gives the community and their team the tools they need to drive growth and conversion.
    • Connector – facilitates valuable peer connections, introduces new ideas and knowledge.
    • Evangelist – shares the story of the community’s value around the business and via external networks.
  • Culture
    • Gardener – incentivises behaviour and content to grow the community positively and prunes any weeds that threaten that growth.
    • Model – Mirroring the values and social norms the community is expected to uphold.
    • Advocate – representing the voice of the community across the business and aligning this with business goals and needs where possible.
  • Analytics
    • Analyst – gathering and analysing metrics and measurements that help the community succeed.
    • Diagnostician – using data to identify risks and opportunities, and help the company profit from its investment in community.
  • Governance
    • Regulator – setting up the necessary policies, safeguards and processes for the community to succeed and operate healthy (and legally).
    • Patroller – monitors the community consistently for behaviour or content that creates cultural, social or other types of harm.
    • Meditator – manages conflict and its resolution in the community.
    • Judge – takes judicious actions and steps to protect the community and help it survive (such as removing a community member).
  • Risk management
    • Responder – escalates or deals with issues and crises on the front-lines of community.
    • Caregiver – providing adequate care for community members and community staff in the wake of risks or crises.
  • Technology
    • Technician – Making sure the community has the right digital tools to achieve its mission and keep everyone safe and engaged constructively.
    • Assessor – regularly checks to make sure technology is doing the job it should for the community, and helps improve things if it isn’t.

These roles should give you food for thought when thinking about how you can get involved with a community – whether yours or someone else’s.

If you’d like to explore which strategic approach works best for your business, reach out for a conversation with myself or one of our team.