A community manager is responsible for growing and nurturing people around a brand, often as the voice of the company. However, given the relatively flexible nature of the role, many community managers handle a wide range of responsibilities, such as customer support, marketing, writing, and social media management. With the ever-growing number of companies relying on an online presence, the addition of a community manager to the team has become increasingly important.
How to Achieve Community Management
Depending on the company, a new community manager may find that his or her role is not exactly defined. However, the following are general tips that can lead to successful community management.
1. Be Natural
Online communities are extremely sensitive to fake personas and personalities, and stray away from forums that are dominated by a corporate personality. Community managers should not have to worry about presenting a façade in front of their audience. By using a natural tone and demeanor, this can show that the community manager is comfortable speaking in front of his or her community members.
2. Take the User’s Point of View
It’s easy for companies to get caught up in progress, forgetting the needs of the audience. But communication is a two-way process: in addition to serving as the mouth of the company, community managers also serve as a voice for the audience. Given the degree to which the manager works with the community, he or she is often the most suited person to serve as an advocate for the company. If done correctly, the audience will feel as though their opinions matter to the company.
3. Promote Equality
In every community, there is always a portion of the population that possesses more knowledge and expertise than others. However, make sure that every conversation is not dominated by these power users. Give the little voices a chance by moderating dialogue and promoting discussion.
4. Take a Laissez-faire Approach
Hardly any individual likes the feeling of being controlled. Avoid controlling topics and users, as this will turn many individuals away from the community. Instead of quickly intervening in matters, trust that most issues will resolve themselves without heavy control.
5. It’s About the Audience
No one wants to listen to excessive marketing, pitching or shameless promotions. Once a community forms under your brand, stay away from directly marketing to this audience. Instead, provide them with useful content or a channel for dialogue, which will allow the community to grow their trust. Allowing the community to organically collect under the company’s banner can lead to more benefits than a one-time promotion.
Online community management is a relatively new field, without a clearly defined role. However, this undefined nature is appropriate, as each community is unique to a brand. Regardless of whether the individual is a new of experienced community manager, it is up to the individual to determine what practices are best for the community.