Much like the traditional web property, organizations will soon recognize the need to build a team around their Social Media offering. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out as there's not a 1 to 1 correlation of skill sets when you move from a 1.0 to a 2.0 model. You'll likely focus more on the social capabilities of the team and less on more traditional web responsibilities (HTML, production, editorial, etc). You'll need individuals who understand the very nature of community engagement and social interaction.
I've been thinking a bit about the team I'd like to pull together as we evolve our social offering and thought I'd share for input and comment...
It probably goes without saying - but the first ingredient here is executive buy in. If your organization has yet to identify Social Media as a critical component of your overall strategy, you have some work to do. It's rather important that your executive team agree to the need before tee'ing up the big asks.
I differentiate the role of community manager to internal and external responsibilities. While the job is very similar, I believe there's a slightly different mindset in play as you move outside the firewall. In my model, I'd look for two internal community managers and two external community managers.
Again, the roles have significant overlap. Regardless of internal or external focus, these community managers need to have a deep understanding of Social Media in general - Why it's important, how does it fit into our overall strategy, how can I help ensure a warm, inviting and vibrant place to be. The individuals would be responsible for contributing to the overall SM strategy representing their different view points.
There would be unique challenges between internal and external focus. The internal CM's would be responsible for helping to drive adoption of Enterprise 2.0 behaviors throughout the company. In itself a big challenge but one that's not only necessary for internal success - but also sets the stage for the right behavior on the external community side.
External CM's would have a different challenge. They'd have to recruit SME's from throughout each business / product team to actively participate in external communities. Without passionate and committed voices participating in an external community, it will most certainly suffer a less than optimal fate. So, while internal folks are busy teaching behavior, the external team needs to leverage the behavior but also work to gain commitment to participate in the external side. Of course, external communities also have an added element of sensitivity that may or may not require a different set of policies.
What about Blogging?
In addition to community management, there's a need to have someone focus exclusively on the blog side of Social media. In my model, the individual would have responsibility to look both internally and externally - but with more focus on the external side. Internally, I'd task this individual with developing voices... Helping employees establish themselves on the internal side and, once proficient and comfortable, helping them establish a blog presence outside the firewall.
The Blogging Manager would also have responsibility to look out into the blogosphere and understand the conversations. What's being said about us? About our products & services? About our competitors? What's the overall sentiment towards EMC? There's tremendous value in simply *listening* here - and depending on the size & reach of your company - it's likely to take up a considerable amount of someone's time. This individual would be tasked with not only understanding the ongoing dialog, but also organizing our external bloggers to ensure they're at least aware of, and better yet participating, in all of the right conversations.
Metrics & Analytics
IMO, there's work to be done around validating the impact of Social media in the enterprise. I believe we're in a bit of a grace period... There's tolerance to test the water but, as you look to further invest, tangible ROI needs to be established.
Such metrics can be elusive. While there's plenty of analytics packages out there, I've found that their value is more around identifying the conversations taking place. There's a need to tie that back into the business and apply real world analysis of the overall impact. In other words, no package will help you determine if you're getting better reach through your social activities versus your advertising campaigns - nor can they tie case closure rates in online support communities against metrics from the support desk.
Net net - There's a need for a human here. Yes, there are tools that can help. But to truly justify impact of your SM offering, someone needs to dig deep into the data and create KPI's, dashboards and the like.
A Project Manager & Some Dev Help
Depending on the size and complexity of your communities - there will be a need to integrate with existing systems. You'll also have to have a resource to help organize across business units - ensuring contributors meet milestones, staff the necessary resources for success, etc;. You'll need someone coordinating some of the larger efforts such as not to distract your community managers from their primary focus.
Of course, you'll have to account for some dedicated development folks as well. In my world, we've stayed as vanilla as possible with our current offering - BUT, there's always an inevitable need to dig into code. Be it integration with your single sign on systems, critical customizations, DB work, upgrades, etc;. I'm purely speculating here but, with the size and complexity of our community road map, I'll need a minimum of two dedicated developer resources before long.
So, taking all of this into account - and if I were given license today to go off and pull together my SM dream team, it would look something like this...
Of course, your world might be different - and this model needs to be vetted against the size and complexity of your road map. We're a rather large company with aggressive plans through 2008. Our internal community already has upwards of 5k active users with thousands more lurking about. We're in the throws of rolling out external communities but already have a captive audience of about 500k users through existing platforms.
Among the real keys to the success of this model is buy-in and commitment from other business units. A centralized SM team can enable, can drive strategy and can provide best practices - but success will ultimately require active participation from SME's across the business units.
Thoughts? To be frank, this is a bit of back-of-napkin thinking. I'm very much open to your thoughts and comments about the model... How do you do it? What are the challenges you've faced? Certainly, there's no 'right' answer to this.. Rather a general model that must be flexible given your maturity in this space, the culture of your company, diversity of your audience and many other influencing factors.