We are working with a client who uses Khoros for their community. The community is bloated with unused/inactive groups. The Head of Community agrees with us that the unused/inactive groups should be culled or archived.
The problem is, when they presented their recommendations to the company executives, they said something like, "The groups are already there. Let's just keep them."
We are looking for two things:
Thanks in advance!
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The way I see it, you really have two issues. One is way harder to deal with than the other. Here goes:
1. From the outset, there were no clear rules, guidelines, or standards for the Community team in regards to boards / groups justifying their existence. A stalwart fixture within Community Best Practices is to follow the 'less is more' maxim when expanding Community discussion areas. So this is a huge oversight that it ever got this way. There is nothing more uninspiring than a vast Community with limited activity. If you have ever been to a dead city or a burnt out town that has fallen on hard times, you know how foreboding it feels. If the Community continues down this way, it will eventually fail. However, this is all very manageable. There are plenty of threads in our Community outlining the best practices around Community Structure. Many of them are customer-facing and affable enough as to be convincing. You will need to find those customer-facing threads that make your point and research them. Then, exposing the best of those threads to the Community's business sponsor *could* be helpful (it actually depends on how empowered the business sponsor is, and also how much they are really watching their Community investment)
2. The business is not empowering the Community Management team, and conversely, the Community team is seeking permission to do their job. THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM! It is a problem that the business sponsor of the Community initiative will have to weigh-in on. It is a problem that the Community Management team will have to also solve for the future. And lastly, the business will have to confront the fact that if they have been warned, and if they are choosing to ignore the experts, that they are unashamedly providing a poor customer experience when it comes to people socially interacting, on-domain, with the brand.
There are no 'negative metrics', per se, so I would not use that kind of terminology when speaking with the customer. It should be re-phrased as 'the opportunity for sustained and healthy growth is being hampered by bloat'. Make sure you are clear when you use language like 'metrics', 'trends', and 'benchmarks'. Be even more clear when you start talking about 'KPIs' and/or 'Business Value' too.
I dont mean to come down on you. Please do not take it personally. But anytime I encounter this kind of overt denial of best practices, I am forced to conclude that there is negligence afoot. It is negligent on the customer's part. There is sheepishness on the Community Management team's part, and by virtue of that, it is also negligent. There is no other way to articulate it, even though I know it sounds rather harsh. But please consider how much time and money are being spent on this endeavor. Sobering speech seems appropriate here.
I am sure the customer does not want their Community to fail. If nobody will do anything, then there needs to be multiple escalations across numerous business units. Now is not the time for hesitation or cowardice. This needs to be figured out. Proving the case starts with educating the customer. Sharing whitepapers, blog articles, or other testimonials on the subject of a taut Community Structure may be in order. Diving into Community benchmarks from similar Communities can also make a point. Data and perspective are the levers to use. But you need to use them. You are the Paul Revere here. Ask for help if you need it, but make it happen!
And please let us know how it goes. I would love to hear the follow-up. These situations have a way of either getting much better or much worse. I am, of course, hoping for the former rather than the latter. Good luck and Happy Holidays.
@JakeR - Thank you for answering and please accept my apologies for not responding sooner. I take no offense whatsoever. I appreciate straight talk.
The business is not empowering the Community Management team, and conversely, the Community team is seeking permission to do their job.
I completely agree with you. My question isn't about the health of the situation, it is more about what can be done now. Does that make sense?
PS - I am not working directly with this community. Another member of my company has that dubious honor.
No worries on a late response. I hope you had a nice Holiday Season, Piper!
To me, it does sound like there is a bigger internal problem within the business at this point. Leadership not empowering (or worse, not trusting) the team to do their job and make the right decisions around best-practices is likely to be a combination of both personality and business-culture issues.
Generally, in these situations, appealing to the business sponsor is the best course of action. If the business sponsor tends to be feckless or is not a position, politically, to put his or her foot down within leadership circles, then finding allies within leadership across other business units (or other business divisions!) is the next course of action.
I might also add that the Khoros CSM and/or the Khoros Account Executive might be another resource to tap. I certainly do not want to send any of my fellow employees into a dysfunctional situation, but sometimes a voice-of-reason from outside the business (and in this case, a voice that represents deep knowledge of both Community platform and Community practice) can help sway opinions....or at the very least, get people to revisit their previously entrenched opinions.
And, lastly, props to you for trying to help the Community (and its team) deal with this. It is not for the faint-of-heart, so I salute you.
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