Community Managers in Internal Communications

Wow! We had a fabulous internal communications/social media chat on Wednesday. (Twitter: #icchat)

The topic centered on how to be/become/evolve as a community manager for internal communications. We started off discussing what the role definition might look like:

  1. Jeremy Schultz had several thoughts: 1) an active connector: a person who brings people together electronically and face-to-face; 2) a strategic leader: owns and executes a plan to lead and inspire conversations on specific topics; and 3) Internal commty mgr needs to direct people to the lively forums, blogs, discussions. Folks don’t hunt internally as they do online.
  2. Beth Harte: I see the internal community as being as important as the external comm & the comm mgr needs to connect the two
  3. Linda Russell: Someone who fosters discussion, encourages communication, etc. Wouldn’t want “control” in job descrip

The chat also went on to discuss how to create the community manager role. Does it evolve? Does it need to be a formal position? Does experience matter? How do and from whom do you obtain buy-in?

The group thought that the position of community manager could evolve or be formally named. There did tend to be more experiences where the position evolved rather than be named.

When asked about his experience, Jeremy Schultz felt that his position had evolved. “Half my job is integrating social computing into employee communications strategy”, he said. “I also spend a lot of time helping biz groups and programs use social computing to reach employees.”

We also got into experience. Paula Cassin asked if the Community Manager for Internal Communications is a high-level position, mid-career responsibility, or one you’d pay a newbie/intern peanuts two do? The job takes a lot of time.

Many of us agreed that it was definitely not for a newbie/intern. Examples include:

  • susancellura I don’t think you pay a newbie/intern only because this is a strategic position as well as tactical. Other views?
  • jschultz Agree, not a newbie job at all. Need connections, good writing, and the big picture.
  • BethHarte I think that a lot of cos. see SM as a 20-something job. They don’t connect biz to it. The ICM needs biz exp

It was also agreed that buy-in should come from both levels: top and bottom.

And another good question: The title of Community Manager – could it be confusing? Linda Rollins agreed that “general biz may see community as external”, meaning donations, etc.

Finally, a great thought from Lisa Baehr, ” Many IC folks have worked hard to craft top-down msgs that horizontal CM requires *letting go*?”  I ask you, could you let go?!

Basically I think we may be continuing this topic during next week’s #icchat.

However, here are my questions to you: Are we on target? What do you think?

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Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

3 thoughts on “Community Managers in Internal Communications”

  1. Susan, thank you for all the kind words! After the IABC World Conference, I thought about creating a Twitter chat on these very topics. Then, I discovered #icchat–a new weekly highlight!

    I just wrote a quick blog post promoting the chat in my blog, and I posted it in the IABC group on LinkedIn. With hope, I can help bring some more folks into the discussion. Keep it up, and I look forward to our next discussions.

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