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Community Management Case Study: The Evolution of a Community Advocacy Program

By Shannon Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.

One of the perks of being a member of TheCR Network is access to fresh community management programming every week. Our community manager, Hillary Boucher, does an amazing job of tracking down interesting and engaging case studies from every stage of the community journey.

This past year Hillary and members of TheCR Network sat down with Erica Kuhl and Matt Brown from Salesforce to discuss a case study of Salesforce’s MVP program. While I can’t share the whole Roundtable call with you here, there are three key best practices I wanted to share for building out a community advocacy or leadership program.

Note: Matt is also one of the case study participants in the Community Manager Handbook, which was released February 4.

If you don’t current have any formal community advocacy or leadership programs, they are something to consider for your to-do list: community advocacy and leadership programs correlate to overall community maturity, the number of full-time community managers, the ability to measure value, higher levels of executive participation, higher levels of product team and subject matter participation, more user-generated content, higher levels of conversation vs. content sharing and more robust community tools

1. When building a community advocacy or leadership program, avoid over-governing the program with too many policies at the beginning. In this case, Salesforce wanted to grow the program with their MVPs. As they started to grow and enlist new MVPs, they added policies, guidelines and expectations in tandem with the growth.

2. Understand from the onset of the program the plan to leverage your advocates. This is critical in order to guard against the advocates feeling used or abused. It also contributes to a successful transition from an informal to a formalized program.

3. Ensure the organization elicits the feedback of the top advocates in the creation of the program. If this group likes the program and has an opportunity to refine it, it will be accepted by the greater population of advocates.

Do you have a formal community advocacy or leadership program in your community? What tips would you add for someone starting on the ground floor with a new program?

We recently had a great discussion over at #ESNchat about how to make the most of community champion programs. You can check out the Storify from the chat here, or review the mini-deck for highlights from the five questions we discussed, which included:

Looking for more case studies like this? Members of TheCR Network have access to weekly community management programming and our complete archive of over 200 expert-led sessions. Learn more about being a member in TheCR Network.

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