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Plan Your Community Rollout

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Identify the phases of a community rollout.
  • Recognize the importance of a community manager.
  • Plan for the community implementation.

Phases Don’t Phase Me

An online community doesn’t just spring into life as a full-fledged, functional, perfect creature. Specific people take specific steps to help it thrive.

Like with everything communities-related, so much in implementing a community depends on your own specific use case. However, we can give you a general outline of what things you can do in a perfect world.

Think of the community rollout framework as a four-step cyclic process. In each of four phases—establish, manage, engage, and measure—the company and the customer interact. Many players have roles in each phase that help the community grow and flourish.

A screenshot of the community framework

Let’s examine the first two phases. In the establishment phase, the company identifies use cases and defines a community purpose. This phase involves:

  • Creating a community mission statement
  • Developing member journeys
  • Planning executive engagement

In the management phase, the company focuses on promoting the community and having an awareness plan at every phase of growth. Activities in the management phase include:

  • Developing a promotion plan. Promotions commonly include videos, social media, emails, and website updates.
  • Preparing resources for the community.
  • Adhering to the crawl (launch), walk (engage), and run (build value) process.

We’ll come back to the engagement and measurement phases later in the module. First, we want to introduce two of the most important people in any community, the community admin and community manager.

Know and Love Your Community Manager

One of the surest ways to build a thriving community is to assign people in your company to maintain and care for its well-being. The person who sets up and maintains the community is your admin. The person who feeds and waters the community is your community manager.

Linda, the Salesforce admin for Cloud Kicks, is also the awesome admin for all Cloud Kicks communities. Although Linda plays a vital role, in this module our focus is on Erica, the community manager. Cloud Kicks, a maker of custom tennis shoes, isn’t a huge company, so Erica wears many hats. Her biggest hat for now, however, is She Who Must Make the Community Rad. And let’s be real: This role goes way beyond just posting on Facebook and Tweeting.

Erica is informed and in touch, and she’s deeply connected to the Cloud Kicks customer base. She loves that customers love Cloud Kicks shoes, and she also knows that a happy customer is a returning customer. Her fervent wish is to have community members buzzing about the Cloud Kicks product and becoming brand advocates.

Happy woman using a computer

Erica uses social and analytics tools to keep on top of trends in the industry and gauge the mood of her audience. Because she’s also used Salesforce at Cloud Kicks, she is familiar with some of the tools for developing a community on the Salesforce platform. At the same time, she knows how to work with Linda to make advanced customizations to the new community.

Establish and Manage Phases

In the establish phase, Erica meets with many folks from around the company to understand everyone’s expectations and how to best meet them. She already knows that the main goals of the Cloud Kicks customer community are to reduce costs, engage customers, and increase brand loyalty.

Working in collaboration with the marketing department, Erica starts gathering brand assets. Here’s a list of things she has so far.

  • High-definition logo
  • Color scheme, closely related to the Cloud Kicks logo colors
  • Preferred font
  • Email templates (approved by marketing!) for all community-related communications. These templates include a welcome email, a “sorry to see you go!” email, and notifications for engaging with the community
  • Links to media showing Cloud Kicks products worn by celebrities
Erica also held meetings with the sales, service, and marketing departments at Cloud Kicks to figure out what goals this community will serve:
  • Marketing: Announcing new products, offering promotions and discounts
  • Service: Listening to customer complaints and taking customer cases
  • Sales: Tracking market trends by geography to plan sales strategy

Next, Erica and her team identify who needs membership and access to the community:

  • Current and potential Cloud Kicks customers
  • Current Cloud Kicks employees from the Marketing, Service, and Sales departments

Finally, they discuss and agree on access options:

  • Access using the Cloud Kicks employee login
  • Access without a login to some public parts of the community
  • Self-registration for immediate access