Cross posted from the OC Report:
The topic of online community team organizational structures seems to be getting increasingly hot.
The two main questions seem to be:
• Where does the community team “belong” in a corporate structure?
• What are the roles on that team?
I’ve explored the former a couple of times, so I thought I would spend some time on the roles of the team, and in particular, the community manager. I would really love to hear what you think about this. I know leaving comments on this blog can be a bit of a pain (working on it), so if you have any issues, please email me.
The role of Community Manager seems to be evolving in the following ways:
• The role is less about moderation and more about product management.
Most thriving communities need little action by the moderators. Management tools are (in general) sufficient enough to combat spam, and most communities have empowered the members with tools to flag abusive or inappropriate posts. Simply put: with adequate and findable community guidelines, active moderation can (and should) be in the hands of the members. strategy, features, UX, platform, budgets, marketing (and a hundred other things). In short, very much like the role of a product manager.
• An expectation of communicating value (ROI) rather than stats
Community managers are now expected to not just report stats (page views, membership growth), but also to report on other points of value, and to contextualize that value, at least in part, in terms of progress on business goals.
• Community managers are expected to grow relationships with the influencers in the community
Community managers are increasingly expected to know who their lead members are, and what effect their influence has on other community members.
• Community managers should be thinking about “portability” of their team
In some companies, sources of community funding, and even the reporting structure of the community team is changing every few quarters. We live in evolutionary times, so it is good for community managers to reach out to senior staff on teams outside their immediate reporting structures.
In some cases, seasoned community managers are evolving into the Community Director, with several functions reporting in to him / her. My Community dream team would look something like this (YMMV):
• Content Manager / Community Editor
• Developer / Ops
I’d like to hear from the community managers out there. What are you experiencing in your day to day work? What am I missing here?