Community management is becoming ever more popular. If you are only a beginner (and even an experienced) Community Manager, there are some things you need to keep in mind when managing your online community.
#1: Find your tone.
Managing a community means finding your tone, voice, and persona. The first thing you need to remember is that there is no you in community management – when you manage, you are representing your brand and you act as a medium of communication. What community members like, you observe and take note of; what they dislike, you observe and take note of.
It is not necessary to highlight that being professional at all times is a must, but letting your community see what’s it like to be backstage every once in a while is a good thing. Share office photos, make blog posts about ordinary working days at the office and invite your followers to join you at Open Day events. Being unique is a good thing (however, being eccentric is a tad too much…).
E.g. See what happened here at PopArt Studio when our Internet provider turned back on us.
#2: Be there.
Y’all know that old wisdom which says that A community manager in need, is a community manager indeed.* In order to reach out, you need to know when your audience is online and be there at that exact time. For example, data you collect from your Facebook page’s Insights (www.facebook.com/yourpage/insights/) can provide you with useful information that will give you a better understanding of your audience and their needs. Be there for them and they will reply and engage with you.
* We totally made this saying up.
#3: Emergency plan.
Good organization is the cornerstone of every enterprise. Yes, community management can seem chaotic to outsiders, but every Community Manager knows that if you want to do things right, you should make a map of your work – just in case SOMETHING BAD happens.
The world wide web is a place where everything is visible, so you need to develop a “What to do” plan in case, for example, a spambot or a whistleblower finds or cracks up your profile. Pay attention to security and draw up a strategy to deal with angry members of the community (it is up to you to decide whether their comments or posts are going to be approved/published or not; we suggest banning).
#4: Promote active members.
You have probably heard of Jakob Nielsen’s 90:9:1 rule of participation inequality which says that, in an online community, 90% of users are inactive (reading and lurking), 9% contribute occasionally (or at least once), whereas that tiny 1% are active users who “account for most contributions”. In turn, that 1% of contributors will provide you with roughly 90% of postings; that 9 % of users will participate only by 10%, whereas no posts will come from 90% of users.
That 1% of users is your pot of gold. You can engage them and delegate work to them as a reward for their enthusiasm – even promote them into your helpers, side-kicks, and administrators, to give you a hand when you are not there. Reward their loyalty with your trust by giving them power.
#5: Remember: It is not YOUR community.
Be at a distance from your community. Sure, when all runs smoothly it is easy to be under the spotlight; but when hard times come, it is kind of difficult not to get frustrated when someone complains or even insults you.
Relax.No one is blaming you for anything that happens in the ether. If an angry customer is criticizing your company, you should be able to cope with them and quiet the situation down. Never start fighting online (nor offline), and keep things under control. Besides, it’s just the Internet, and the community is not
No one is blaming you for anything that happens in the ether. If an angry customer is criticizing your company, you should be able to cope with them and quiet the situation down. Never start fighting online (nor offline), and keep things under control. Besides, it’s just the Internet, and the community is not YOURS.
What about you? What is your social media strategy? How do you manage your company’s community? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
- What is Community Management about?
- Advanced Twitter Techniques: How to Go Pro? – Part 1
- Advanced Twitter Techniques: Reaching the Highest Ground – Part 2