#SWCONF: Internal Community Management

More and more organizations are hiring Community Managers. These employees are often charged with the responsibilities of managing your company’s presence on social channels like Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes working under a Manager (or Director) of Social Media, they take care of day-to-day tasks. They work across many departments:

  • Customer Service: Answering questions, handling issues, solving problems, etc.
  • Marketing: Suggesting products, promoting content, etc.
  • IT: Reporting website issues, quality assurance, etc.

Some companies are taking this to the next level, hiring an Internal Community Manager. While the roles of these two may sound very similar, the jobs themselves are very different. Instead of customer service, an Internal Community Manager deals with employee service. They still answer questions and solve problems, but this will be for associates instead of customers.

The best way to think of this is using a classic “hub and spoke” approach. The Internal Community Manager serves as the hub, with contacts in all other departments acting ask the spokes. When an employee has a question but isn’t sure which department to go to, the ICM can direct them in the right direction. But an ICM is more than just a social media help desk. Ragan.com offers some key roles of an Internal Community Manager.

Some of them I’ve already mentioned, but there are many more tasks to be done. An ICM acts as a “referee” when employees get into a debate on internal forums or wikis. When posts lead to name calling or start going in circles, the ICM steps in and re-focuses the conversation. An ICM acts as a “cheerleader” when a certain department completes a project or exceeds a goal: they serve as a new way of boosting employee recognition.

For more on internal community management, refer to Yammer’s blog on what makes a great internal community manager.

Will the role of an Internal Community Manager get mainstream in the future, and start replacing job titles like Employee Communications or Internal Communications?

Some of these thoughts will be shared at the Social Workplace Conference, taking place on the 1st November 2011 in London. I will be there curating content! Hope you’d join us.

4 thoughts on “#SWCONF: Internal Community Management

  1. Helen Magnay

    I do think internal comms will become much more about enabling individuals to communicate rather than initiating it, however there will always be a role to educate the value of good communications, encourage participatation and upskill our employees in good communication skills.

    There will also be the need to enliven communities with cross company activities that reflect the goals ambitions and vision of an organisation. Internal socal networks are a method by which to communiate, but do not provide a purpose and vision, this still requires leadership  and co-ordination.  Giving someone a tool by which to communicate does not make them a good communicator.  

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