Strategic Community Management

Select Your Key Tactics

The next step is to list these tactics by order of priority and select the biggest priority tactics. You will find you will not have the time or resources to execute all of these tactics.

Instead, you look for the key few tactics which will have the biggest impact.

This stage is also important if your resources change. If you later find you do not have the time or resources to execute tactics, you can begin removing them from the bottom up.

Reach , Depth, And Length Explained

Reach: The % of the total target audience reached by the tactic. A one to one discussion has very low reach. An email that goes out to every member has very high reach. This is the % reach within the targeted audience (i.e. newcomers or existing members). A big part of executing a tactic is to figure out how to reach the maximum number of peopleTweet This .

Depth: This is the impact of the tactic upon each member. Depth is the extent to which the tactic affected the behavior of each person it reached. A one to one discussion might have low reach but a lot more depth than a generic email that goes out to everyone.

Length: This is how long the tactic continued to affect the target audience for. A webinar, for example, might have good reach and depth, but may not have an enduring impact upon the community. Length is either the length of time a tactic continued to reach and change people, or the length of time the behavior is changed for.

Tactics List

Strategy

Get regular members to feel jealous of top experts and encourage others to share their tips to also be recognized as an expert by their peers

Category

Tactic

Reach

Depth

Length

Events and activities Create a customer council of top community members. Publish the list and allow for nominations. (8) Medium High High
Content Interview experts who share the most tips. (7) Medium High Medium
Moderation Add a ‘star’ or ‘recognized expert’ next to those who collect the most likes on their tips. (7) Medium Medium High
User Experience List the number of tips shared or likes received next to each contribution of experts. (7) High Low High
Moderation Provide top experts with moderation rights. (6) Low High Medium
User Experience Provide guest columns to top experts that appear in a featured area. (5) Low Medium Medium
Content Solicit the opinions of top experts on regular news items. (5) High Low Low
Influence @Mention a top expert into relevant discussions. (4) Low Medium Low
Moderation Turn tips created by top experts into sticky threads more frequently. (3) Low Low Low

 

Strategy

Ensure regular members feel confident to ask questions

Category

Tactic

Reach

Depth

Length

Growth Create and maintain a list of first-time questions for newcomers to ask to get started. Insert this into the onboarding. (8) High Medium High
Growth Create a clear guide to asking for help for the first time. Highlight what not to say and what to say. (7) Medium Medium High
Growth Enforce a strict don’t bite the newcomer policy, even for the really obvious/most repeated questions. Ensure first contributions get a warm, positive response. (7) High Low High
User Experience Create a list of current members the newcomer might already be connected to / know through social accounts. Medium Low Medium
Influence Recruit volunteers to reach out to newcomers and ask if they have any questions. If they do, say where they can post them and connect them with people they should meet. (6) High Medium Low

 

Strategy

Ensure newcomers feel respected when they ask questions

Category

Tactic

Reach

Depth

Length

Influence Create a culture of those who give help being thanked by those who receive it. (7) Medium Medium High
Content Personally message members who contribute and  acknowledge the effort they went through to create it.  (6) Medium High Low
Influence Create a list of people by expertise and tag them into future relevant discussions. (5) Low High Low

You can see above how we’ve scored each of our possible tactics. This is a very subjective process. You and your team might differ on the details. In which case, you can average the score amongst your team for each tactic.

Narrowing down the tactics

Now we have our list of possible tactics ranked by order of priority. But you can see the problem.

This is a list of 17 distinct tactics(!) you’re trying to execute every day. This is far too many to execute. Yet, this is exactly what most people do. They try to execute many possible tactics each day instead of deciding which are the best tactics to execute and allocating their resources towards them.

You want to narrow these down now from the bottom up. Your goal is not to test several things at once to see what works. Your goal is to cluster your resources to test each tactic at a time to see what works.

Do Less Than Today

This is a core philosophy of strategic community management. You need to do far less than you do today. You need to be ruthless with your time and resources so you can deploy them in areas that will make a decisive difference. This applies at the tactical level as much as the strategic level.

Ideally, you want to execute three to five tactics for our main objective and one tactic for our secondary objectives. This simply means cutting out the tactics from the bottom up that aren’t the best way to achieve our objectives.

You can also now put a resource to this effort and elaborate on the tactics in a little more detail. This might look like this:

Strategy

Get regular members to feel jealous of top experts and encourage others to share their tips to also be recognized as an expert by their peers

Category

Tactic

Resources

Events and activities
  • Create a customer council of top community members.
  • Publish the list and allow for nominations. (8)
  • 12.5 hours p/w
  • $5500 p/q3 emails p/m
  • Programmer/designer in house
Content
  • Interview experts who share the most tips. (7)
  • 10.5 hours p/w
  • $2100 p/q
  • 2 emails p/m
User Experience
  • List the number of tips shared or likes received next to each contribution of experts. (7)
  • 3 hours p/w
  • (spread over several months)
  • 1 email p/m
  • $1000 dev
Growth
  • Create and maintain a list of first-time questions for newcomers to ask to get started.
  • Insert this into the onboarding. (8)
  • $1,950
  • 6 hours
  • 1 email
Influence
  • Model ideal thank you responses and nudge original posters to reply similarly. (7)
  • $1,300
  • 4 hours
  • 1 email

Now you have reduced your efforts down to five core tactics that meet your strategic goals and which you can execute really well. Imagine how much more focused your work becomes when you can concentrate on a core few tactics that will achieve your goals instead of trying to do everything.

Face down your discomfort

This feels ridiculous, right? What about all the other daily work you need to do? What about welcoming newcomers, replying to every discussion, resolving member disputes, helping members who are having technical trouble, etc?

This is the kind of thinking that might make it impossible for you to execute your strategy. All of the above tasks we just mentioned are important, but they are not as important as the tactics you will spend your time implementing.

For example, you might spend 30 minutes talking to a member who is having trouble using the website. But this is 30 minutes you cannot spend in creating a culture of people who receive help thanking those who give it. And it’s the latter which will have the biggest impact.

Believe us when we say we know how difficult this way of thinking is. You’re going to have some members who are upset and complain. But, understand that every second you spend in these situations is a second you cannot spend on activities which help the entire community.

We did say that strategic community management would make you feel uncomfortable.

You can see below how the tactics become far more effective when we can spend more time on fewer tactics.

Upgrade Your Tactics

There is just one more thing we want you to do. Look at the tactics you listed above and upgrade them to the best possible version of this tactic. You’re not just creating a customer council any longer; instead, you’re going to fly the top members to meet the CEO, learn the roadmap, and give exclusive input.

Likewise, you’re not just interviewing top members. You’re going to film professionally recorded interviews with the very top experts and publish these in a professional format on YouTube and have them embedded on partner sites. Go through each of your standard tactics now and upgrade them to the best possible version of that tactic.

Strategy

Get regular members to feel jealous of top experts and encourage others to share their tips to also be recognized as an expert by their peers

Category

Tactic

Resources

Events and activities
  • Create a customer council of top community members.
  • Fly the top members in to meet the CEO, learn the roadmap, and give exclusive input.
  • Publish the list and allow for nominations each year.
  • 12.5 hours p/w
  • $5500 p/q
  • 3 emails p/m
  • Programmer/designer in house
Content
  • Create filmed interviews with the top experts in our field sharing their best advice.
  • Publish these in professional format on YouTube and embed them within the community.
  • 10.5 hours p/w
  • $2100 p/q
  • 2 emails p/m
User Experience
  • Create a unique feature next to designated expert profiles which shows the number of tips shared and the number of likes received. This is only for the top members.
  • Use badges people can display elsewhere and send out certificates by standard.
  • 3 hours p/w
  • (spread over several months)
  • 1 email p/m
  • $1000 dev
Growth
  • Create and maintain a list of first-time questions for newcomers to ask to get started.
  • These appear as members begin typing their question and in pop-up boxes on their first visit.
  • $1,950
  • 6 hours
  • 1 email
Influence
  • Implement a thank the experts program, whereby all people who receive an answer are pressed to thank the person who gave them the answer.
  • Continually nudge at individual level to get to a sustained 50%+ gratitude rates.
  • $1,300
  • 4 hours
  • 1 email

When you reduce the number of tactics you will execute to just five, you can do each of them much better than time would otherwise allow. This requires the same amount of resources, but you’re deploying them to have a bigger impact.

The reason most people do not pursue tactics like the above is they believe they do not have the budget or resources. The reality is they spread the resources too thinly hoping that something will work. Yet, it’s that exact approach which prevents anything from working.

Free Up Time

Any tactic you’re undertaking now which does not match the strategy can be removed at this stage. This might include many of the things that work on a one to one level (welcoming newcomers, for example). They help, but you need to cut them to fulfil the strategy above.

This should immediately save you a significant amount of time that can be spent on other tasks.

Summary

  1. Prioritize your tactics by the percentage of target audience affected, depth of impact, and length of impact.
  2. List your tactics by the resources required to execute the tactic well.
  3. The difference between a good or great tactic is huge. Cut out the tactics at the bottom to focus on a core few at the top.
  4. Stop executing on any tactic which isn’t listed here.

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