Communities thrive today because the various reasons people join or form them are being met. These results are even enhanced when there is someone to handle the community management squarely.
At the start of a community, the owners joggle many roles to keep the group alive, which is typical. But as the community increases in size, the time and effort required to manage it increases too. Hence the need for a community manager.
In this article, you will learn the nitty-gritty of community management, the difference between community management and social media management, community manager roles and responsibilities, and how to become a community manager.
Why is community management important?
Communities bring people together to learn, collaborate, share interests, stay informed, support each other and even network. Companies also use communities to drive conversations around their brands.
It's important to be able to create a comfortable space for the community members to freely share ideas and engage in line with the purpose of the community. This ultimately makes the group more valuable to the members.
Community management helps to guide conversations, uphold the values of the group, and to ensure that group members follow the rules of the community.
How to do community management
Online and offline communities pretty much have to be engaged to stay vibrant. While offline communities engage via organizing meetups, summits, workshops or conferences; online communities engage mostly on social platforms.
Nonetheless, a community can be both online and offline. The possibilities around building communities are endless and very impactful.
Here are tips on how to manage a community:
1. Ask your community members what kind of contents they would like to see
A community is mostly about the members and it matters that they get value from being a part of it. When the right content is posted in a group, the members are better able to engage with it and optimize it.
2. Post regularly
When you have understood the needs of your community, start generating content often. The frequency of post is at the discretion of the community management. But do take cognizance of the best times and days to post, according to the group analytics or insights.
Encourage members of your community to post contents too. Also advise them on what kind of content works best for the group: images, text or videos. Depending on the social media platform or what works best for your group!
3. Measure success for your community
Decide what you think defines success for your community beyond the number of followers. You might want to consider the number of engagement on a post: reactions and comments, the number of user-generated content and the success stories of the members etc.
The difference between social media management and community management
A lot of times the terms social media management and community management get used interchangeably.
But here is a key difference between these roles:
Social media management (SMM)
This entails managing the social presence of a brand, not as yourself (as the social media manager), but as the brand. Yes, strictly the brand. More like saying, you are the superstar behind the social media handles of a brand—You do all the good work behind the camera.
Community management (CM)
As a community manager, you go beyond managing the interactions and engagement in the community (both offline and online) to actually representing the brand in your own voice. You become the spokesman for the brand, on the brand's social media handles and also on your social accounts.
A quick way to remember this key difference between SMM and CM is this:
- Social Media Management - Behind the camera
- Community Management - In front of the camera
Here are some community management skills every community manager should have:
1. People skills
As a community manager you have to be able to freely interact and relate with people, especially as you will be attending lots of networking events, and helping to create valuable connections for the brand you represent.
2. Readiness to work overtime
The role of a community manager in all honesty is a round the clock job. This means you have to be passionate about the company you work for, and what they do. Else, your job would feel like a log of work. You may sometimes have
to work overtime or over the weekend, but if the work is fun for you, working overtime will most likely be no issue for you.
3. Strong communication and analytical skills
Communication is the core of what a community manager does. It is important that one is well-groomed in the nitty-gritty of effective everyday communication. The tone of your voice, best choice of words, and the right time to communicate, is equally important. A community manager should also be able to think things through, analyze metrics and be able to make informed decisions.
Understanding how people feel and how to appropriately respond in diverse situations makes a great difference. Also, a community manager should be able to freely engage the community members without any judgement or bias.
5. Time management skills
Community managers have a lot in their hands from content writing, social media management, event planning, to public relations etc. So knowing how to effectively manage your time and meeting up with deadlines is a valuable skill needed.
Community management is fun and is something I have been into passionately for about two years now. I am a community manager for the community, Facebook Developer Circle: Lagos, and I get to engage members both online and offline (via meetups).
Recently, I started a community for introverts in Nigeria, and the experience has been amazing.
If you are looking to become a community manager, the tips shared above will really go a long way to help you build your community with ease. Do feel free to chat me up if you do have any questions about community management, I will be happy to assist. Connect with me