Back in July I posted my Beginners Guide to Community Management where I tried to cover some of the basics around what a community is, why its important, especially for video games and what a community managers general tasks might cover. In concluding I put forward the belief that community management is a key department in any business and was in fact taking over many of the traditioanl functions of Marketing. This is still very much the case and if you are building game worlds without it I would worry about their longevity. However Community Management itself is an unruly beast and can devolve into trudging round fourms, posting half hearted tweets and updating facebook, so its important to keep reminding ourselves that it is actually one of the most dynamic and influential places to be, at the heart of what makes great games work well and for a long time.
Below I have collated some interesting infographics and presentations covering the discipline which you will hopefully find useful. It is important to remember that there is no universal truth as to what a community manager in your company should focus on because as the role dictates this should be driven by the community and your overall business objectives, which themselves should ideally align.
Inside the Mind of a Community Manager
This is an interesting infographic from get satisfaction which I like with the exception of the “ban hammer/crush trolls” piece. Its generally better if the community manager doesn’t have to play the part of troll hunter and as an activity this is not particularly a good use of resources. Trolls love recognition be it negative or positive, don’t feed the trolls! Some games now hand over the power of banning players directly to their community which not only empowers them to make the game a better place to play but means community staff don’t have to run around with a big stick all of the time.
GDC 2014 – You Own the Game but the Community Owns You
Great slideshare presentation from this years GDC by Bob Holtzman Director of Marketing and PR at Squad. In this presentation Bob shares some fantastic thoughts on transparency and how this should be a key part of your community strategy, except where is can lead to player pain e.g. release dates or new features that never materialize etc. He also goes on to talk about how hiring players both in the traditional and non traditional sense can both help you better serve your community and save you money.
The Online Community Manager – A Jack of All Trades
A slide from a more brand centric view of community management but one that nonetheless conveys the myriad of touch points for the discipline. Due to its encompassing nature and because your players will have a view on all aspects of your business and be ready to share them that means the community team are the closest to understanding player sentiment on everything from gameplay changes to stock prices. If your CEO publicly buys a new speedboat and your servers have been down for 2 days you can be sure there is a meme about it somewhere on your forum.
GDC 2014 – Volunteers – Collaborative Engagement at its Finest!
A fun presentation from Linda “Brasse” Carlson Director, Global Community Relations at Sony Online Entertainment (Everquest, Planetside). The title of the presentation is Volunteers but for me most of what is discussed could be covered by just the term community engagement. The word “volunteer” for me conjures up an alternative relationship, however semantic differences aside it gives real insight into online game communities that have been around for more than a decade and a half and stayed strong as well as the programs and initiatives that helped them do it.
Community Maturity Model – The Community Round Table
Developed by The Community Round Table this chart shows the various levels and stages of community management integration within a business, how it is blended with strategy and what tools and metrics it is using and providing. According to the creators First, it defines the eight competencies we believe are required to build successful business communities. Second, it articulates how these competencies progress from hierarchical organizations to those that have embraced a networked approach to their business.