Community Moderators are super-members of any Community that use their enthusiasm and experience to help other members of a community succeed. The moderator program also helps the HQ team keep an eye on things, and help keep the community running smoothly.
In May 2021, the CMX HQ team built and implemented the first-ever moderator program into the CMX Community.
We call them Communiteers.
Our Communiteers volunteer their time to answer questions in our community, post valuable resources and discussions, and help other members find the answers they are looking for. They do this by welcoming our new community members in dedicated threads and channels, participating in community conversations on a daily basis, and moderating chat at virtual CMX HQ events, such as CMX Summit and CMX Masterclasses.
Our Communiteers also keep an eye on things, and help keep the community running smoothly. They help us to remove spam posts, flag things that need attention from the CMX Community Team, and give us valuable feedback to help shape the overall CMX Community Experience.
The Communiteer program empowers our community members to become more involved within the CMX spaces, and helps us to maintain a consistent standard to bring cohesion across all CMX community spaces.
And how did we build this moderator program? How did we find the right people to fill this role? Well, here are the steps we took and how CMX built our moderator program!
- Ask for Feedback
- The Application and Onboarding Process
- Keeping the moderators engaged
At CMX, we begin every program or project with a brief. This first step gives us the opportunity to strategize and answer questions like, “Why is this project important?” “How will we measure success?” and “What deliverables do I need to have?”
It was important to outline why this program is important for the CMX community, because it helped shape the whole program. In our case, the Communiteer program is important because:
- It gives us a direct connection to valued members
- It will allow for the HQ team to focus on program-level tasks
- Creates a sense of ownership and leadership among the community
- Helps us to maintain consistent community standard across our online spaces
Ask for Feedback (and listen to it!)
After all the documentation was built, landing page copy was written, and the onboarding process was decided, we invited a handful of super active members from our community to check out the program and ask for their feedback. We wanted their feedback about the expectations, time commitment, and benefits we were going to be offering.
With the feedback in mind, we came up with the proposed responsibilities for our program.
Communiteers volunteer their time to answer questions in our community, post valuable resources and discussions, and help other members find the answers they are looking for.
Participate in community discussions and conversations posted in our Community
Welcome new community members
Attend the monthly team meeting with your respective Communiteer team members, to share insights and learnings, pain points, and brainstorm contribution ideas for the next month
Engage in and moderate chat at a virtual CMX HQ event when the topic is relevant to you and you are interested in attending
Remove spam posts, flag things that need attention from the CMX Community Team, and give us valuable feedback to help shape the overall CMX Community experience
We don’t talk about our proposed responsibilities without including a note about self care:
Big thanks to Kara Cronin, Community Manager at Facebook for the idea to explicitly include the note about self care!
Application and Onboarding
When we introduced the moderator program in the community, we did not market it externally. The role was purposely only made available to people who were already familiar with and members of the CMX Community.
The application form asked basic questions (name, email, timezone) and then we asked questions specific to the CMX Community:
- How long have you been a member in the CMX Community?
- Which CMX programs and products are you familiar with? (With an exhaustive list from which they could select all the programs and products they have used)
- What are you an expert in? Go ahead, toot your own horn: (Another list from which they could choose as many topics as they liked)
- Why are you interested in being a CMX Community Moderator? (Keep it brief, 1-2 sentences)
- Please provide a link to a post or comment in the CMX Community, when you helped another member, or provided value to the community
In our case, we knew we wanted about five moderators per community space (five in Facebook, and five in Slack), and because we were building a smaller team, made room for one-on-one interviews with each candidate. This is obviously not scalable, but for us it was important that our founding team of Communiteers be personally vetted.
Once we had our Founding Communiteers, we hosted an onboarding meet and greet for all of them – one for our Facebook team, and one for our Slack team. We did an icebreaker, where everyone answered a fun question, then did short intro about the program, went through the expectations and benefits again. We also made sure we had some time for breakout rooms so the Communiteers could get to know each other on a one-to-one basis.
Keeping our Communiteers Engaged
Big thanks to Diane Yuen, Community Apprentice at CMX who has taken the Communiteer Program from good to excellent since its inception. Diane helped write this next section of the blog post!
As with all community initiatives and programs, we were prepared to adapt and change things as needed. What we implemented in order to keep our Communiteers engaged:
- A tracking dashboard to track and report on each individual’s engagement
- One-to-one feedback calls with each individual
- Weekly updates shared in the Communiteers private channels
- Monthly team meetings for each Communiteer team (Slack and Facebook)
- Building a public recognition program for Communiteers
The Tracking Dashboard
We built a dashboard that shows the number of comments and posts of each member of the Communiteer team. We can also track this information back to the engagement metrics of the greater community to see how the Communniteer’s actions affect overall engagement of all our members. Over the first 6-7 weeks, we started to see trends in engagement, as well as who was the most engaged Communiteer of the week. With these varying levels of engagement from each individual, we decided to schedule one to one feedback calls to see how everyone was doing.
One-to-One Feedback Calls
This allowed us to connect with the Communiteers more personally. It gave each individual an opportunity to let us know how they were doing both inside and outside the program. It also meant a chance for them to provide us with invaluable feedback on how we could improve the program – this was our first time doing it after all! One piece of feedback was to implement some kind of weekly summary of engagement, and the overwhelming majority of them wanted us to host monthly team meetings for them to meet and chat!
Posting the update in our private group message on Facebook, and using the Block Kit Builder tool and a private channel in Slack, we now send weekly updates every Monday to each Communiteer team. In Slack, these engagement stats include number of messages and reactions sent and the percent change compared to the previous week, as well as the average time until the first reply on posts. In Facebook, engagement stats include percent change in posts and comments, as well as conversation rate compared to the previous week.
As a way to provide recognition and positive reinforcement, the weekly updates also highlight the top overall Communiteer in each space, which includes total engagement (posts + comments), the Communiteer making the most new posts in the previous week, and the Communiteer with the most engagement growth from the previous week. Additionally, these weekly updates include announcements from the CMX team, as well as specific action items (like deciding on ownership of posting rituals for the upcoming week or month).
Monthly Team Meetings
The monthly team meetings are conducted separately with each Communiteer team (Facebook and Slack) and are a way for the Communiteers to come together to share insights, learnings, and pain points from the previous month, as well as brainstorm contribution ideas for the next month.
We highlight the “top” Communiteers for the previous month, as well as the most popular posts and topics/themes in the community. We leave time in our monthly meetings to brainstorm ideas for engagement. These monthly team meetings help each Communiteer team feel more like a team, as they provide a consistent way to stay in touch and work together.
Recognition is key, and we’re always looking for ways to provide our Communiteers with meaningful benefits in exchange for their time. Communiteers receive special swag, and free entry into all paid CMX events. They also receive LinkedIn badges, as well as opportunities to be featured in CMX Content, like on the CMX blog, The Community Corner Podcast, or speaking at events.
Build with your Moderators
Of course, the only definite thing about building a moderator program like this is that things will definitely change! We built the foundation of a program with a specific purpose and specific goals in mind. When we put the idea out to our community, a group of passionate community builders put up their hands and volunteered to help. By asking for feedback, and listening to the ideas of these folks, we are building a better moderator program, and building a better community as a whole!
Want to contribute to the CMX Community? Apply to join us!
The Communiteer program wouldn’t be where it is today without our incredible founding members. A very heartfelt thank you to our CMX Founding Communiteers:
Tirza Austin, Online Community Manager at American Society of Civil Engineers
Pixie Cigar, Director of Online Communities at Teach For All
Jeremy Crisp, Founder at Map Careers
Location: United Kingdom
Prerona Sanyal, Community Manager and People Success at SquadStack
Nilesh Shinde, Associate Consultant at KPMG
Clare Simmons, Community Manager at Migraine Again
Joanna Buchmeyer, Head of Community at Alms
Arun Teja Godavarthi, Community Manager at Google
Mary Green, Community Marketing Director at Demandbase
Sanmaya Mohanty, Program Manager (APAC) at PowerToFly, Inc.
Katie Ray, Community Manager at Sales Hacker
Cesar Romero, Head of Community & Partnerships at myBasePay
Jennifer Serrat, Community Marketing Manager at myGwork
And of course, big thank you to the CMX Community and our members who helped me brainstorm and ideate, and shared their best practices about building a program like this. Special thanks to these fine folks who looked at my first draft and gave me feedback:
Shana Sumers, Principal Marketing Manager, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Community Programs at HubSpot
Melissa Mosher, Founder Support Savvy – consultative community and tech operations manager
Kara Cronin, Community Manager, Community and Impact at Facebook