Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Future of Community Management: Thoughts from 2/29/12 #cmgrchat

I've recently started participating in the weekly Twitter chat #cmgrchat, hosted by lovely ladies Jenn Pedde and Kelly Lux. Today's chat focused around the future of community management, and specifically how we (as members of the Community Manager community) would like to see it develop as an industry and profession.

Here are some of my thoughts following the chat.

The future of community management still isn't clear. There's a lot of exciting and varied discussion around the future of the Community Manager role, with some common themes:

HappLand!There's general consensus that as CMs, we'll need to continue to increase our coverage and rally more resources around ourselves. Suggestions ranged from a universal tool for updates across all social media platforms, to easier analytics, to self-cloning, to caffeine IV drips, to unicorns. (Unicorns make everything better.)

Another point of agreement was that we need to stay focused on the human element of social media. Too many brands overwork the tools and forget the people they're trying to reach. This ties right in with my last post regarding individuality in community management.

There were many points of contention as well. Heated discussions arose around the pros and cons of outsourcing community management, as well as whether or not we envision the creation of a C-level position (Chief Community Officer). The pros of keeping community management close to the ground are clear: better brand knowledge, better connection to the pulse of the community, more honest human interaction. But many companies think they cannot afford to hire dedicated CMs, or believe that outsourcing to a dedicated agency will get them better results. In my opinion, as the web becomes increasingly social, pretty soon companies won't be able to afford not to have a community manager. And I see it as our job to convince them.

I'd like to give a shout-out to everyone who contributed to today's #cmgrchat. It really is one of the highlights of my workweek. If you're a CM, or interested in community management, I highly recommend it as THE place to hangout at 2 pm ET on Wednesdays. :)

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