There are numerous blogs and technology now supporting the growth of the ever evolving role of the community manager, but how many are tackling the internal communications process necessary for mapping connections and real time external engagement? Very few. You see, policy and process are not sexy. They are not cool.
While there may not be a silver bullet technology or cookie cutter process, we can learn from those lessons and perspectives of those doing the heavy lifting. But few are sharing. Yes, you may find a directory of social media policies, but I challenge you to find policies that are fresh and reflective of the culture instead of copy and past versions of other policies. But, process? Unless it is related to a shiny new platform, few people are talking about how they make real time engagement work and scale across multiple business units.
The workflow is a key ingredient of a community manager’s toolkit. We cannot plan for every scenario that may play out online, but you can review past topics and conversations that have occurred online and in other communication channels. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The function of a workflow is to streamline your communications, eliminate layers, and clearly depict process in simple, connected steps.
As if you needed another hat to juggle, think of yourself as a trauma surgeon and you must navigate all the nerves obscured by trauma or disease. You need a map to navigate your approach. It would be helpful if those nerves were tagged with a fluorescent compound to reduce the number of nicked nerves accidentally nicked or severed during surgery. As a community manager, you are navigating the nerve paths in your organization so you can engage in real-time external conversations. Sometimes these communications paths are blocked because of hierarchy, miscommunications, and a host of other problems common to internal communications.
Build a workflow mapping the connections of the nerve paths in your company and how communication is passed among the business units. Similar to the fluorescent compound surgeons use, highlight those paths a community manager will need hooks into to meet the expectations of your community, so you or another authorized representative can respond at the right time with the right information.
What communications / nerve paths are you highlighting in your workflow? Are you mapping the connections by phase and function? Please share your lessons learned.