Masters of Community with David Spinks

Managing a Million-Member Enterprise Tech Community with Monica Lluis

Episode Summary

In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Monica Lluis, Global Community Lead at Cisco. The Cisco community has evolved from a single support forum to a million-member-strong enterprise community in several international languages in two decades. Monica shares that goal-oriented processes and protocols for community management are more important than the tool you use. Monica also shares that communities can evolve over really long periods of time in all aspects, so don’t worry about getting things right quickly at the start because there’ll always be room for growth. A community in a tech company can help identify specific issues (through customer questions) that can be sent to the product team to fix. Cisco used active feedback sessions with their community to introduce and integrate a background noise cancellation feature in Webex, which has been in high demand since the start of the pandemic. Monica suggests to make events such as “Ask Me Anything” and webinars a part of your community engagement strategy because these events generate a lot of useful support content and can be used to encourage community participation. Who is this episode for?: Community Managers, Enterprise Tech Community, CCP Community, Event Managers 3 key takeaways: 1. How to internationalize your communities: Identify the need for a local community based on the number of questions you have for that language, regional sales, internal feedback, and if there are enough people speaking that language in a community. Provide a space for participants to not only ask questions but also allow them to create their own content. Keep translating the most popular content into the new language for the first few months to keep the community active until they start doing it on their own. Appoint a local community moderator for each language. 2. Cisco Community Reward program: Monthly recognition with member’s choice award, rookie award, the best publication award, the Developer of the Month award, an award for a champion of small businesses, another award for the CCP community, and a WebEx community champion award. Local communities have smaller awards. Cisco VIP is an elite annual program for people who have won many awards across categories who get perks such as t-shirts, conference passes, and Cisco certification vouchers. Event contributors also have their top contributor awards. There’s also a lifetime “Hall of Fame” program. 3. Community metrics used at Cisco: Their community team tracks traffic, contributions to the product, and case deflection. Their marketing team tracks the conversion of community participants into customers. They have reported that active community participants are twice as likely to buy from Cisco when compared to non-participants. Notable Quotes: 1. “You have to be open to that change because if you don't evolve, you die” 2. “The community is a gold mine of data that can be used to [do] many other things” 3. “It is only when you come and see valuable content that you will stay. And you may be able to ask your question in that language, and then we better get those answers quickly because otherwise, people may not wait [for] enough [time]”. 4. “Events are a key aspect of the engagement. There are two reasons for that and it's part of the strategy. It helped us to keep building the intellectual capital in the community because the people that deliver those events.. all the content .. becomes a very valuable resource. The other part of the strategy with the events is we .. promote .. the community implicitly. [If] people want to attend this event, they have to come to the community to register. So it is a way to make awareness campaigns without promoting the community directly” Rapid-fire question answers: 1. What's your favorite book to give as a gift to others? “Drive” by Daniel Pink 2. What advice do you have to new community managers about any key mistake or something that they should aim to avoid? Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Don't get into the trap of trying to grow very fast. 3. What's a go-to engagement tactic or conversation starter that you like to use in your commute? Always start with praise and acknowledgment and be very grateful for their time because we don't pay them to participate in the conversation. 4. Have you ever worn socks with sandals? Yes, during this pandemic and around the house in the winter. 5. Who in the world of the community would you most like to take out to lunch? Her globally distributed team of community managers. 6. What's the proudest moment of your day? Her Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert certification because it was tougher than her two Master's degrees combined. 7. What is a community product that you wish existed? Seamlessly integrate community content and databases with other digital properties at the click of a button. 8. If you were to find yourself on your deathbed today, and you had to condense all of your life lessons into one Twitter-sized piece of advice for the rest of the world on how to live, what would that advice be? instead of just thinking about your worst-case scenario, think about what is your best, worst-case scenario.