Have a plan! Managing an online community requires forward-thinking and strategic planning.
Without a solid plan, things have a way of falling through the cracks or the cracks of cracks, never to be seen again, and in online communities, that’s a real faux pas.
The primary purpose of community management is to establish an online community that feels seen and heard. Whatever your company does in face-to-face customer relations should translate to your virtual community — this builds consistency and trust with your audience.
Going about this part haphazardly is like ghosting your customers after attracting them to your community and letting their queries hang in the void (hello, did you get the message?). That’s bad business. It’s also crummy human relations, and community management is all about maintaining awesome relationships.
To be effective, you need a solid understanding of the organization’s brand story, mission statement and target audience. With these secret weapons, you’ll know who to engage with and how to manage your online community. Build it, and they will come!
What does a Community Manager do?
You can think of a Community Manager as a cross between the town mayor and a rock legend’s agent. That is to say, they are dedicated to the organization’s mission statement like a mayor is to their campaign message and in creating excellent public relations as an agent fosters with fans.
Your business’ online community is the star of a Community Manager’s life.
These professionals are experts in social media and specialize in managing online communities on various platforms. As part of their role, they understand how to optimize social media presence — they know where to be and when. On top of that, they have a toolkit of remarkable skills. For example, they:
- Keep an active eye on an organization’s social media community
- Engage with members and establish new relationships
- Educate the community about the brand and its offerings
- Form a link between the social community and the company
- Manage the online reputation of the business
Good Community Managers track the competition and stay current on industry trends to keep their organization’s community vibrant. Also, they foster business-to-business relationships whenever appropriate, for collaboration.
They will know the ins and outs of social media management tools like HootSuite, Postling, Socialboard, SocialSprout or TweetDeck. Also, they measure and optimize campaigns, so efforts are maximized, and strategic changes can be made as necessary. Above all, they are excellent communicators.
Do you need a Community Manager?
The short answer is yes. Unless you have multitasking superpowers, you likely need a committed Community Manager. While the smallest companies might be well suited for an individual community manager, large and medium organizations may require a whole team dedicated to the task.
The perils of a patchy social media presence or confusing online image are loss of brand trust. A dedicated community management plan helps build trust with your target audience.
If you haven’t given much thought to your social community or how to keep it vibrant and engaged, consider adding this component to your digital marketing strategy.
Don’t have the staffing? No problem. Consider outsourcing to a specialist (like Jester, hint hint) rather than have an inconsistent social presence. After all, your organization and your customers deserve the best.