I am still buzzing after last month’s CMX Summit in Los Angeles – the experience was exhilarating and full of positive energy. 

My greatest memory of the event was the scavenger hunt, but I can leave that for another blog post! Instead, I’ll give you my top 5 takeaways from the main community management event of the year.

1 Community management is no longer an unknown territory

To kick off a very good conference, David Spinks (CEO at CMX) set the tone of what was a very inspiring couple of days. As someone who has been involved in community management for nearly a decade, I can’t describe how encouraging it was to hear that experienced community professionals are in very high demand.

Many companies are working on new tools to make our job more effective and we can now see that some of the most disruptive companies in the world have a community at the heart of their business.

2 Community management and innovation are at the core of big businesses

I must have heard the word ‘innovation’ a million times during the CMX Summit 2017, either from a speaker or during networking time.

It’s really inspiring to see more and more companies recognising that communities have a part to play beyond customer support. They are starting to explore the potential for innovation through community management.

As a result, by connecting brands with consumers’ ideas, Community Managers are stepping into a whole new territory. Crowd development is the new hype!

3 Community is transforming marketing and relationships

Consumer reviews are a key influence in purchasing behaviour – buyers want to know what others think before they buy. Effectively this means that community has found a well-deserved place at the heart of marketing. We know this well, in some of our communities referrals account for more than half of all customer acquisition.

Community Managers are in a perfect position to encourage honest conversations between brands and customers. Consumers want to belong and be listened to, companies want customer retention and innovation – it’s a perfect match!

4 Communities are created from the stories we share together

At this summit there was a particular emphasis on content narratives. Michael Margolis (CEO at Get Storied) delivered a really good talk on how storytelling can humanise and amplify the value of community management.

My main take from Margolis’ talk is that Community Managers have a key role to play in unlocking great User Generated Content. We can do this in two ways. First, we can empower community members to share their voice (and their stories) and second, we can elevate the value of community to drive business change.

5 In the age of automation communities are key to empathy

The CMX Summit reminded me that, as Community Managers, we have a great responsibility to nurture meaningful interactions and help people achieve great things.

Malcolm Ribot (Founder of FTM Traveler and Gorillashrimp Designs) travelled to 49 out of 50 states in the US to build and spread the visibility of his community. Leila Janah (Founder & CEO at Samasource) took 36,000 people out of poverty with her ‘give work’ project (not a community per se, but I see a culture of global community in her idea). Lola Omolola’s (Founder at Female IN (FIN)) community supported a member that was having suicidal thoughts.

But what’s the future of community management in the era of automation? Bots are cool, but they are unable to create meaningful connections with humans – at least for now. Shared values, beliefs, experiences and dreams are still the engine of humanity.

My hope is that together we can change the common view that tech is making us more isolated from each other. Whether online or offline, communities are essential to human development. But behind a great community there’s usually a great community manager 😉

Carla Arend, Chief of Communities @ Standing on Giants

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Standing on Giants

Standing on Giants

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The Standing on Giants team is an eccentric group of passionate brand owned community experts comprising community managers, techheads, trainers, and various other crazy people