Saturday 10 December 2016

Friday Five: On-The-Ground, Real-Time Community Management

Why It Matters by Christine Cassis

Community Managers can (and must) wear different hats – the analyst, the author, the therapist and the translator to name a few. We spend countless hours researching, reporting and redefining our strategies to manage customer relationships. But, when it comes to real-time, on-the-ground engagement, it’s a whole new ball game.

With that said, prevention and planning is key. As many of us community managers are headed to SXSW and other large-scale events in the coming months, it’s imperative that we keep the following tips and key learnings in mind:

1. Consider logistics

Make sure your mobile devices are juiced up and backed up; the only thing worse than low battery is no battery. Bring a charger and consider investing in an additional power source, like a back-up battery or a battery-extending phone case. Look into wireless alternatives and anticipate cell service interruptions. The more alternatives you have readily available, the better.

2. Survey the layout

Whether you’re planning to snap some photos, get great video content or just need a good seat to catch some quotes, doing your research can help when arriving early cannot. Knowing the seating arrangements, size of the stage or where the podium will be located can help. Get in touch with event organizers; they will be able to provide details you’ll never dream of. Oh, and seek out the AV director – you can thank me later.

3. Make friends

No, really. Don’t just mingle among clients and contacts, get out there! Meet new people, make new friends and see what’s going on outside of your bubble. You’ll be surprised by the creative ideas you can come up with if you step outside your comfort zone. Plus, you don’t want just one angle, but instead an all-encompassing overview for those tuning in at home.

4. Read up

When it comes to live-tweeting, you’ll want to know brand guidelines by heart. This not only includes any relevant hashtags and handles, but also style, voice and tone. How else do you expect to tweet on-the-go if you’ve got to flip through a binder of brand guidelines each time you hit send? Not only will doing your homework speed up the process, it’ll prevent mistakes.

5. Expect the unexpected

It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Be ready to make decisions on the fly and don’t be afraid to veer from your itinerary if the story or conversation has gone elsewhere. When capturing an event, it’s essential that you allow for some flexibility in your schedule. Without it, you’ll miss some great opportunities.

In addition, it’s important to have fun! You’d be surprised how much your outlook can affect your content. Keeping a positive attitude and enthusiastic approach will organically create more genuine engagements. And while we’re trained on how to take control if things go wrong, it’s equally as important to remember how to handle ongoing community management when it goes right, too.

What key learnings you have taken away from real-time community management?

Image credit: Wayne Large

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