Would it help to have a strategists community?

Hey everyone,

For the past few weeks, I’ve been noodling an idea to revamp Experts (finally!) to serve community strategists (rather than community managers).

I’m looking to create a place to discuss the finer points of scaling a community, technology questions, benchmarks/measurements, ROI, examples, and some of the advanced aspects of building a community.

In short, it would mean having a private place for some of the more advanced-level discussions.

Very open to ideas and suggestions here. Each year I’ve been meaning to do the ‘big revamp’ but become caught up in client projects to find the time for it. We made some progress last year, but the same thing happened.

Anyhow, very open to any ideas /approaches here that might work for you.

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The thing I most crave is fresh eyes. Some way to summon the others-with-experience, to swoop into my community/ies and then give me some feedback.

Like a scheduled “workshop” where everyone who wishes-to/has-time would look at the same community…

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Thanks @craig - interestingly enough, having regular live workshops was part of the plan. I like the idea of looking at just a single community though and doing a breakdown of it. That’s really clever.

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Love that idea @craig!

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I’m definitely up for this @richard_millington! I’m constantly trying to think big picture in the communities I run, and would love a place to discuss it.

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I like the idea from @craig as well.

I would also really appreciate a strategy group. I love how excited folks are when they get started in community, but it would be great to have a place where those of us that have been in the field a long time and working at scale can discuss topics that will help us push our communities (or our executives, haha) further. :slight_smile:

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Thanks Tom, appreciate that.

Thanks @dalmarus - good to know.

It’s going to be a challenge I find to narrow the scope just enough to make it useful but not so narrow that it excludes everyone. The last thing I want is a community where everyone is rehashing some of the older discussions (“WHAT’S THE ROI?!?”).

But something where people can share some of the things they’re working on, templates, resources etc…

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Very true point @richard_millington!

Anything that nudges conversations towards larger-scale topics vs day-to-day, frontline operations would be great - though I agree it won’t be easy! :slight_smile:

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Agreed, it’s important to keep it practical though. I think it’s pretty easy to start getting too theoretical when it comes to strategy.

My feeling is the biggest topics will be community tech, teams, and benchmarks/examples. But I could be wrong.

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Absolutely.

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To add to @craig’s suggestion, what do you think of a hot seat type of format where we go deep dive into someone’s community and everyone shares their suggestions? There will still be a main panel of expert strategists. But everyone can share their ideas in the comments.

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I like this, I think we can see some contours forming here of what we want to do:

So I’m envisioning a community strategists community. Not sure if it should be public or private yet. With a focus on:

  1. Community teardowns / sharing examples.
  2. Community technology.
  3. Scheduled weekly (or monthly) activities.
  4. Benchmarks.
  5. Community teams.

Anything else?

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I like this idea as well. Although I’m not “new” to community management, I still have many things to learn. Unfortunately, I find many resources to be at a beginner level. Being able to listen to peers who are more experienced discuss strategy would be ideal.

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What would be some of the topics you would be interested in learning more about?

Mainly, developing a community strategy for an already established community. Or doing a community audit.

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The most value I have got from conferences and events over the years has not been the keynote speaker (no offence @richard_millington !) but rather the case studies and presentations by other builders on their practical experiences and learnings.

You can read the theory but the reality of putting things in practice is always so different, and the nuances very niche and specific, that we’re all challenged when trying to put our strategies into place.

So I would love the opportunity to join a group of strategists to be able to go through our different communities and provide (and get ) critical feedback on them. If each member did this for their community, then you’d have a good amount of content/workshops for quite a while, and really you’re only asking members to do ‘work’ once in a while - for the other sessions they would be participating to provide feedback and observations, which is lower effort.

This type of workshop would probably need to be private, at least for me, if we’re really digging into the weeds of our strategy and approach. But I can see plenty of other things being public in terms of sharing templates, org charts, KPIs we use etc.

I already meet a number of other community teams to do this kind of thing, but not in any systematic way. And I am a member of CMX Pro (which I can provide feedback on @richard_millington if you want). But I still think there is an opportunity here for something more actionable and workshoppy!

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Thanks @loneliestcabin (interesting username!)

It sounds like deep dives has to be a big part of this with regular live events.

Maybe make the community public again, but keep these sessions private (perhaps invite only).

Feel free to share feedback on CMX pro if you like in here or in private, I’d greatly welcome it. I used to be a member there too by virtue of speaking at those events.

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Yeah I enjoy a remote cabin - ironic for a community builder perhaps…

Will message you re CMX Pro.

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The idea in general sounds solid for sure.
The thing to be cautious of, and I know that this is counterintuitive to things that you recommend at times - dialling in something niche, to be even nicher can work for or against you. Is there still enough of a delineation between the two roles or are there now a lot more community managers that need to think and work strategically than say 10 years ago? For whatever reason too.
Either way, I’m in :slight_smile: Hopefully :worried: