Playbooks – whether for sports teams or businesses – contain a variety of tactics and detail to help those using them perform at their best in accomplishing their objectives. Playbooks continue to gain in popularity and use by community managers for online communities. They are useful both for those managing external communities as well as internal communities used by employees of a business.
I’ve known for years that we’ve needed a playbook at Humana to better document our efforts at managing and growing a successful enterprise social network (ESN). We’ve certainly been successful with our ESN (called Buzz) even without a written playbook for its first five years, but there has always been room for improvement. After all, having things only in my brain with just a few written pages to pass on to others who have had to manage Buzz when I’m away is not a solid, long-term plan.
It was, therefore, a top priority for me once I hired Brenda Smith in March of this year to have her devote a significant portion of her first few months with us developing a great playbook. I had some ideas of what needed to go into it. I shared with her all the documentation I had cobbled together for Buzz through the years. We researched other publicly available resources related to playbooks. We spent many hours discussing the playbook and debating its contents and organization. She did the writing, though, and all the heavy lifting. As she had drafts ready, we laid them out on a large conference room table and went through it changing the contents, structure, details, etc., until we finally landed on the playbook we’re happy to share with you today.
The brilliant idea of how to organize it was completely Brenda’s. While I had previously shared with her my love for Rich Millington’s work and his book Buzzing Communities, Brenda had the insight to arrange the playbook by the major categories Millington uses in that book. We also debated the option of arranging it according to the components of The Community Roundtable‘s Community Maturity Model (CMM). While we still use the CMM in the playbook for evaluation of our maturity (and we share those evaluation results in the playbook), we decided to stay with the Millington framework for the overall structure.
So what is in our playbook? Here are the major sections, with many of them including levels of detail around objectives, strategies and tactics:
- Introduction (history of Buzz and role of the community manager)
- Overall goal of Buzz and how it integrates with the company’s values and goals
- Road map
- Influence and relationships
- Events and activities
- Business integration
- User experience
- Community Maturity Model assessment
- Daily tasks
- Weekly tasks
- Biweekly tasks
- Monthly tasks
- Quarterly tasks
- Annual tasks
- On-demand tasks
Of course, we have removed from the publicly available version of the playbook all sensitive or proprietary data. For example, we removed the details of the ROI calculation, although we still include the overall percentage result. We have removed roadmap details, internal URLs, administrative access login detail, internal phone numbers, etc. So the actual internal version of the playbook is about 10 pages longer than this 50-page playbook, but you still have all the detail in this public version that you need to get your mental juices flowing about what a helpful playbook for your organization and community might look like.
One of the greatest joys I get professionally is when I feel like I make a small difference in some way in the field of enterprise social networking. That is why I started the weekly Twitter chat #ESNchat in 2013 and it is the reason I’m eager to share this Buzz playbook with you now. Will our playbook be exactly what you should use for your community? No. But reading through it will certainly give you some food for thought that you can take back to the key stakeholders in your organization and use to develop a great resource that fits your need.
So it is with a bit of a sense of being a proud papa and with great thanks to Brenda Smith that we offer this playbook to our ESN-loving friends and acquaintances around the globe. Click the button below to view and download our Buzz ESN Playbook. Please share your thoughts in comments here or with us on Twitter – @JeffKRoss and @brendaricksmith. What would you change, add or remove?