Thursday 29 September 2016

Lessons from a Community Manager

Yesterday, community managers around the world celebrated the third annual Community Manager Appreciation Day with tweets, online gatherings and a new report outlining everything you need to know about your local community manager. Last year, we celebrated by crowdsourcing some of the amazing knowledge and insight from community managers with various backgrounds and expertise. At Edelman, I’ve been a part of big communities, small communities, niche communities and even created a few communities here and there. To celebrate Community Manager Appreciation Day I put together a few thoughts from my own learnings as a community manager.

Go Where The Community Is

Many companies limit themselves to participating only in Twitter and Facebook because they assume this is where their community is participating. In reality, communities exist everywhere and conversations are taking place in many more embassies than most brands would even consider entering. Take the time to do an audit of the social space to determine where the community is currently engaging and to find opportunities for community growth. Leveraging insights from an audit could open a brand up to more engagement opportunities through forums, blogs, and even niche communities like Instagram and Pinterest.

Know The Community

Before diving into a community headfirst, research and evaluate the community to identify common themes and issues. Each community has their own unique set of needs and issues, and as a community manager you’ll find that you often encounter the same situations over and over again. Some of the most frequently seen issues and conversations include; competitor brand bashing, cyber bullying, brand innovation requests and customer service inquiries. To help better manage each of these situations, create a running FAQ document with a list of all common community issues and questions. For each situation that you experience frequently, have a suggested response plan in place so you can easily engage in an efficient manner.

Authentic Voice In The Community

It is important for the community manager to have an authentic voice and identity within the community. A community manager should be a natural fit in the community, and the brand voice should reflect that of their personal tone. Community managers should establish a brand identity that is authentic and recognizable to community members. Community managers can make their voice more personal by pulling in content from experiences, responding to small talk, and speaking naturally with the community while using common lingo and mannerisms.

Monitor Existing Communities

Content creation and ideation are some of the most time consuming tasks for a community manager. Community managers should utilize features like Facebook and Twitter lists to help curate content and invoke inspiration. Personally, I “like” more than 800 brands on Facebook so I can understand how other industries (big and small) are engaging with their communities daily. Each of these brands is sorted into custom Facebook lists by industry and practice on my Facebook account. Throughout the day I refer to these lists for inspiration and to evaluate best and worst practices.

As a community manager, what tips do you have to share?

Image credit: kdonovan_gaddy

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