Community roles & titles are underrated!
Each member brings a unique set of experiences & level of participation to a community. Identifying each of them and providing suitable titles and roles to create a sense of identity is critical.
Hey there! 👋
Hope you had a great week.
If you’re not a subscriber, here’s what you missed this month:
On the other side of the community world, august has been a great month. I was having a hard time keeping my excitement and why? Well, because the workshop held in August was all things community and more.
A huge shout out to our speaker Dani Weinstein, who gave us insights into the B2B world of communities, his journey in the community space and how his MCEE model helps de-code the way communities are built.
It was an interactive, insightful session. Thank you, Dani.
For those of you who missed the workshop, in this week’s edition, I will be sharing the workshop summary deck along with the recording session of the entire workshop.
Below is the video link to the recording:
Community Building 101 for every SaaS Business
Passcode for access: Z9zxy=5U
Now onto this edition’s topic, well you must have heard the saying “Everybody wants to be the king of the mountain” and fairly so. Well this saying, basically boils down to the psychological needs that Maslow’sMaslow's theory speaks about.
The way I look at it, through my personal experience I have always found the title “community manager” to be good but, imagine having something fancier or bigger like a “Community Evangelist” it automatically makes me want to work harder to justify that role and keep up with the responsibility that role carries.
It’s about creating a sense of identity.
When building a community, it can be tempting to see your community as a homogenous group without a hierarchy (do not mistake me, when I say a hierarchy it can be a vertical one too!) But this is where you are making a mistake.
Successful communities thrive when people are encouraged into roles that suit their personalities and skills, making them feel more belonging to their role and community, this helps create an environment that is vibrant, balanced, engaged and sustainable in the long run.
In this edition, I will make you understand - what are the different community roles that exist, How you can give the right roles to the right people and finally how you can build a successful community with such roles.
The classification of community roles
Communities are in the end, social systems. Whether within a business team internally or with online members, people naturally organize themselves into specific roles based on their personalities and interests.
Some people like to take ownership, while others thrive under leadership. Some are go-getters who strategise and enjoy the limelight, while others like to be spectators standing on the sidelines, getting things done.
So for your community to be successful, you should understand the different roles that can be taken up by members, decode the value that each of these roles can bring to the community.
Let’s have a look at the different roles your community members can take up, how they can be involved and what value each role brings to the table.
The roles can be classified into three categories:
Natural community roles – These are roles that people inherently want to take up, without any motivation as they feel they thrive best under this role. (organically, without any prompting or encouragement on your part)
Dedicated community roles – these are roles that you will specifically grant to the right people to scale your community and ensure sustainability. These roles play a key role in ensuring good engagement in your community.
Internal-team community roles – these are the in-house salaried positions within your business, that are involved in the overall community activities.
Let’s understand what each of these categories has:
Natural community roles:
1. The leader – These leaders are the organizers of your community.
They take up multiple roles and are usually the most invested in your community’s success. Their role is to contribute, communicate, moderate and encourage other members of the community. They stand up and take ownership when needed. These members are usually the most loyal, long-serving members.
2. The super contributor – They are the facilitators of your community. They play a critical role in creating a thriving environment with engaging and meaningful conversations. They contribute in every way - they usually welcome newcomers, have ice breaker conversations, respond to posts first and take part in all the events. They want to help others and promote healthy relationships among members.
3.The Competitive performer – They are competitive by nature and love being the centre of attention. These people want to be seen, heard and driven by a strong psychological need for approval. They thrive on attention and recognition. They are usually very active and keep engagement high by creating a healthy sense of competition.
4.The spectator – They are the opposite of performers, and shy away from any attention they get. They like to take more subtle approaches and like to take the back seat while someone leads. But they are not members who are inactive, they regularly participate and add great value to the community, but they do so in a way that doesn’t garner attention from others.
5. The Rebel
In other words, they are the antagonists of the community. They usually trigger strong emotions with other members by challenging their ideas and beliefs. While this is a great way to keep the engagement high, you should be careful to moderate them the right way, without which the environment can go from healthy to toxic real quick.
Granted roles for members:
Allocating dedicated roles is a great way to encourage and involve community members in the process of scaling and managing your community. This is a great way to create a self-sustaining community. But you need to be careful about allocating the role to the right person.
Of all the roles, this is the one that’s most important and hence you need to ensure that you choose the right person for this job. Moderators can make or break an online community!
You’ll need to pick someone you can blindly trust – ideally a loyal member who knows the culture and ethics of the community. They need to be smart enough to understand where they need to step up and where they can let it go. and have a high level of EQ (Emotional quotient).
It’s important to make note that moderation requires more observations and less of taking action. Heavy moderation is a sure way to kill your community before it even gets started.
Here is a detailed article on the Moderation Mandates you need to have for your community.
As discussed in our previous articles, User-generated content plays a vital role in your community strategy. Members trust what other people have to say over what you say about your own product.
Usually, anyone in your community can take up this role. However, this official title can be allocated to the most engaging member as a reward or badge.
3. Brand Advocate:
I personally call them the superheroes of the community! They protect and promote your community. They represent the core of your community and are usually the top word-of-mouth superheroes for your business. Their job is to promote your company and products wherever possible, so they need to be confident enough to represent the company on your behalf. There should be some rewards to the job too – tickets to events, early access to product developments, product launches etc.
These brand advocates can also be called ambassadors. Brand ambassador programs have become a sensation across the community space offsite. Community managers are now launching ambassador programs as a way to nurture and market their community.
This role includes onboarding responsibilities of community members. Think of it as a community HR specialist. On boarders are specifically allocated the job to welcome new joiners, answer any queries they might have, and guide them in exploring the community and the interface.
In the end, your community strategy should seek to understand all these roles and encourage the right people into them. If you want to take your community seriously, then have a dedicated team to support and achieve your goals.
Snippets of the week:
Do you have any tips/ suggestions about other community roles that you’d want me to add here? You can reach out to me via mail, Twitter or shoot me a question in the comments below.
Have a suggestion for a piece of content we should include next week? Email us and let us know!