Here is a common story. You’re hired to run a community from either a different department or from a different company entirely. In the recruitment process, your boss tells you how important the community is to their business and how much they value the community. You feel a valued member of the team working on a critical project to the organization. Your boss frequently comes by your desk to see how things are going.
Six months later, you notice your boss’ enthusiasm has waned. She spends less time talking to you and asking you questions about the community. Communication from the executive team goes quiet. Then you receive emails asking for the latest community metrics from your boss.
By this point, it’s usually too late to turn things around. Once an attitude has been formed, or an opinion has been expressed, it is very difficult to change it. We came across many variations of this story in our research. Community managers who had not been invited to a meeting, or even asked for metrics, were abruptly let go or had their budgets cut with little warning. There were usually signs, but you had to spot them.
This is a problem for community professionals who do not send through evidence of the community’s value until it is requested.
Evidence is only sought when the value of community is in doubt. Once this attitude has been formed (or an opinion to this effect expressed), it will be very different to change.