Community Management: Are You Certified?

Lithium Alumni (Retired)


Update 4/16/13: One week out, we're 90% full. Looks like we'll have another great session! 


This time last year, we had the idea to create a certification program for community managers -- those often unrecognized heroes of enterprise social efforts.


We conducted the first session in May at LiNC, our annual customer conference. Over the course of 2012, we conducted six more sessions in different cities around the world: London, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, and Sydney.


Today, I'm delighted to say that almost 200 people -- 182, to be exact -- have successfully completed the certification program.


In addition to passing the exam, many have also offered their feedback, suggestions, and ideas -- some of which have already made their way into the program.


For those of you who've wanted to certify, but haven't had the opportunity, we're running another session at LiNC this year. Two weeks from tomorrow, we'll be onsite with our biggest session ever. There's still time to register; you'll want plenty of time to do the on-demand component before the live session, so as they say on late-night tv: don't delay, register today!


More info on the structure and contents of the certification, see my blog post from last April.


For those of you who haven't heard or read about the session yet, below is a quick Q&A.



 Am I a good candidate for the certification?


The session is open to anyone who wants to attend. The majority of attendees, not surprisingly, have been people responsible for community management at their company. So if your title is "community manager," this is definitely for you. But we've also had social strategists, social program managers, analysts, and consultants -- and even, my favorite, people who own the budget for social and community programs, who want to learn more about what their direct reports are or should be doing.


But I'm very new at this role. Or very experienced.


Most community managers who have taken the course have some experience in community management. Some have had years of experience -- in a few cases, more than a decade. But we've also had people who have recently been given the role of community manager, and have never performed the role before. My observation is that, while it's an advantage to have experience, anyone can pass the certification if they are willing to devote the necessary time and attention. And experienced managers are glad to finally be able to systematically compare their experiences with the learnings we've drawn from hundreds of other companies.


My community is different -- will it help me?


In fact, all communities are different. For that reason, you should think of best practices as a starting point, not a destination. It's ok -- even desireable -- to do something differently than other communities do it. But it's not ok to not know how other communities do it. Just keep in mind -- the exam will cover the way most community managers work, not the way you might do it differently.:-)


How soon will I know my results? 


For every session, we commit to reporting your results within 24 hours of completing the exam. However, we often report results much sooner -- often within minutes. For the LINC session, you can trust that you'll know your results by the end of the first day of the conference.


What if I don't pass the exam?


Like most certification programs, we can't share details like passing rates, but we can say that, in cases where candidates do not pass on their first try, we try to accommodate a retest so that everyone has a fair chance to succeed. Retakes have to be in person, which is why taking the certification at LiNC is a good idea -- if you need it, you'll have the chance to retake the exam during your time onsite at the conference. 


Hope to see you there, and -- shortly afterwards -- displaying the handsome icon below.








Joe CothrelJoe Cothrel is Chief Community Officer at Lithium Technologies.  He is Lithium’s top expert on community and social best practices and has helped more than 300 companies execute successful social efforts.


He is active on Twitter @cothrel and is a regular contributor in the Lithosphere where he is JoeC