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We're discussing why the IT team owns the Community when there isn't a community manager to answer technical questions? Is this standard? It's been my experience that Community is typically part of Marketing as long as it is not used as a platform to annoy the community members.

  • MS

    Martijn Scheijbeler

    8 months ago #

    What teams is best suited to really handle the questions well? If that's IT why not ask these people to answer the questions from the community. A community manager can't always know all the answers, in the end it's their job to make sure the best response is there. If that's not posted by a community manager, who cares!? I think it's a bit too oldskool to think that a community manager should sit with a Marketing department. I've seen many teams and have been part of teams too where community managers could be part of Operations, Engineering, Growth or Event Planning teams. They should sit with the people that can help them do the best job possible.

    • JH

      jeanne hopkins

      8 months ago #

      Yes, IT does not wish to answer the questions. I think the manager of the Community should be able to reach out to other team members for support.

  • MN

    Malaika Nicholas

    8 months ago #

    I was the community manager at a fin-tech/security company and I encountered technical questions I didn't have the answer to all the time--and I was very honest about that to the user. The key is to help that user get the answer they're looking for--even if you don't have it. That means I had to work closely with our dev team to answer questions about bugs and app updates, work with our customer service team about the status of their help desk ticket, worked with our product team about feature requests, and our sales team about ongoing promotions or pricing.

    This all goes to say that a Community Manager may be under the marketing department, but they should work closely with every department to help users find the information they're looking for.

  • DS

    David Spinks

    8 months ago #

    Great question!

    Community can live in many different departments, or often it lives in its own department and integrates with other departments.

    The community manager doesn't have to have all the answers. Their job is to facilitate by getting community members the answers from the people with the expertise. Ultimately, the goal is to empower members to answer questions for each other, rather than the community manager or the IT team having to answer everything themselves. If the CM or IT is answering all the questions, you should just have a traditional support channel, it will be much more efficient. The point of taking a community approach is to scale support, save on support costs, and leverage the collective knowledge of the memberbase.

    What it will usually look like is a combination of question answered by members, by the CM and by IT, in that order depending on who can answer it more efficiently.

    Community can touch and often should everything in the business: support, product, marketing, etc.

    If the goal is support, it's likely a support focused community manager.

    If the goal is growth and awareness/engagement, it's like a developer evangelist in this position, and it may live under marketing.

    If the goal is collect insights and feedback from members, it may live under product.

    If there are multiple goals (there almost always is) then it may be better as its own department.

  • TK

    Thomas Knoll

    8 months ago #

    I'll give you my most honest answer first, and then try to followup with an answer that is more helpful.

    1. No person or department at any company owns any community.

    Yes, I understand that I am being a little pedantic. But, I think most brands don't actually understand this, and that misunderstanding leads to a lot of unnecessary debates that only serves to harm the community and the brand.

    So, who owns the community? The community owns the community. It exists in the hearts and minds of the people who actually participate. It exists in the shared language and passions and inside-jokes and life changing moments of the people who participate.

    2. Ok, now to try and be more helpful.... IF we believe that no one owns the community, except for the community itself, then what is left for people in the company to do? If neither marketing, engineering, product, sales, support, or growth OWN the community, then why show up?

    Because all of those departments, any of those people can bring passion, support, encouragement, and joy to the party. They can all find their own ways to share -- generosity of time and energy and the willingness to listen to others -- into the community. They all can learn from the community. They all can *be* in the community.

  • SK

    Scott King

    8 months ago #

    You shouldn't view ownership of a community unless you need a business budget for it. A community is a group of members with a common interest. If there is interest, then answers will be posted by the members (just like this site). If you force a community to have a manager based in marketing then the community doesn't work.

    There is not a community manager here nor on the first page of Reddit. Posts are upvoted by the community.

    • JH

      jeanne hopkins

      8 months ago #

      Yes, that makes sense. Marketing does have the business budget for it and I agree that the community needs to ask the questions of each other. We're hands off with the Community manager (who used to run the community until three years ago when IT took it over.) He came back because he loves it and we are thankful for his help. It's up to him on how to engage, not anyone else. Thanks for your insight.

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