Driving a successful digital transformation strategy is one of the most difficult activities in business. Collaboration and various communication tools have been widely deployed across companies but results are showing us pockets of significant use without the adoption these companies were hoping for.
This is not a matter of poor technology but rather poor support and change management, two factors that are required to obtain digital transformation success.
One required ingredient in such projects is the formalising of community manager roles within the business. That does not mean community managers are in charge of digital transformation projects, but they are on the frontline and the first to feel and detect the pain points when things start to go awry.
This article explores the different roles a community manager can play in a digital transformation project and why community management is a big asset in your digital transformation plans.
An information source
The job of community manager is changing in scope and importance and has gone beyond monitoring, responding to questions and facilitating interactions and collaboration.
Stevie Dove, VP, social and content marketing at Publicis.Sapient said: “Today, we see this role as a critical resource for any brand, company or service that puts customers first, especially those with a digital-first business strategy.”
When it comes to a digital transformation project, a community manager is the one to inform the communities – whether they are internal or external – about what is happening and to broadcast alerts for important actions such as the latest releases of the digital collaboration platform, if and when the system will be down, alternative methods that can be used to communicate, what’s in it for these communities once the system has been changed, and so on.
They are also in charge of publishing company-related news in the activity stream of your digital workplace so the news is not missed by anyone (be it an employee, a potential customer or a community member) and centralising social media posts from all your social channels within your digital workplace.
People and activities connector
For a community manager to be an effective information source, they need to be connected to everyone and to enjoy people and relationships as the job requires a lot of hand-holding.
Community managers are advocates for the brand but also advocates for the employees and the customers. They can build internal and external relationships and get closer to the company’s potential customers.
Stevie Dove said: “They have the power to help move a customer closer to purchase at just the right moment; they have the power to win a customer back when they have had an unpleasant experience.”
Naturally, a community manager becomes a strategic connector between the company and potential customers and even between the company’s employees themselves by connecting individuals with shared interests to the same collaborative spaces and communities of interest, facilitating the information flow and enabling social connections between peers.
By being a strong connector, a community manager can help you bring your people closer together and empower collaboration initiatives and projects.
An employee engagement driver
The same way community managers can be the voice of customers, they can also feed back employee’s concerns to management.
By creating valuable and unique content that engages the communities within your digital workplace and placing relevant knowledge at your communities’ fingertips, a community manager can strengthen teamwork and encourage your employees to share and be more active.
They will be there to energise these communities by offering members the necessary space for collective potential to be expressed and enabling increased productivity and communication.
That way, your employees are encouraged to post more, whether it’s complaints or ideas, in an open forum where it’s less intimidating for them to speak their minds. Of course there must be a strong internal culture, good moderation and leaders have to be open-minded enough to hear and take into account their employees’ feedback.
By building strong relationships and a secure place for your communities to interact and engage, a community manager can have an impact on your satisfaction and employee recognition program, if you have one, and thus help boost your employee engagement.
An early adopter
As digital transformation project adoption happens gradually, the digital workplace manager will need someone to report honest feedback about the platform, the features, what’s missing and what should be improved, reviews and other information about the platform.
In this case, a community manager can be among the first users of a new platform and play the role of an early adopter to drive changes in the tools and help the project team attain their realistic goals faster.
By providing constructive criticism, the digital workplace manager can maximise the use of product features and have a platform that everyone uses, that is easily adopted and that adds value to the company’s teams’ workflow. In addition, the roadblocks to adoption can be easily predicted and thus avoided.
Greg Perotto, VP of corporate marketing for Hootsuite said about community managers: “They can talk with the community and ask what is on their minds. They ask what things they’re hoping will be accomplished through the digital transformation, whether it is creating a better customer experience or removing unnecessary administrative tasks for employees or making things easier for future searches.”
Getting your teams up and running on your digital transformation project as quickly as possible will help you achieve company-wide adoption.
Digital transformation success is possible when energy is spent creating a caring environment where employees feel they can communicate and share knowledge.
When organisations grasp that and fully invest in change management, including community management, digital transformation projects have higher adoption and success rates.