What You Must Know About Community Management

by Michelle McGinnis on Monday, July 30, 2012 in Social Media

The term “community manager” no longer lives in the realm of buzzwords. As social media, online communities and even in-person events have become a regular part of the modern marketing mix, community managers have been getting hired up. (If you want proof, just look at the who’s who of brands that have added community managers assembled by Jeremiah Owyang.)

Despite the number of community manager positions popping up on LinkedIn though, many organizations still struggle to understand just what community management means today.

As we put together our new Grande Guide to Community Management, we uncovered a series of need-to-know essentials for anyone looking to establish a successful community for their brand.

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1. What is Community Management?
Some people assume community managers post updates to Facebook all day. Let’s be clear, social media is part of the job description.But the reality is a community manager (or Director of Community) encompasses several online and offline duties – some of which may surprise you.

There are three key roles a community manager plays. 1. They are advocates for the customer, helping get their questions answered, find the resources they need, and feel more closely tied to the brand. 2. They are creative kickstarters. By collecting and responding customer feedback, they identify new products, services and revenue opportunities. 3. They are the company glue, communicating across departments, assuring the voice of the customer is heard throughout the organization.

2. What Makes a Good Community Manager?
You might consider hiring people to staff up the community management function. Or you may decide to promote from within. Whatever the case, it’s a unique, customer-facing position. You need the right person for the job.

Some of the common traits of successful community managers include being creative problem solvers, having strong writing and listening skills, an unwavering commitment to the job, and experience working in teams. Every organization has a unique prospects and customers. The important thing is to draw up what an ideal community manager would look like before you slog through resumes.

3. What’s it Going to Cost?
Growing and maintaining a vibrant community is an investment. You can’t just set up a customer community or Twitter stream and wait for the positive feedback to roll in.

First, you need to understand what it’s going to cost. There are some numbers out there, but it’s important to map out what your team will be responsible for and what level of experience you need.

4. How is Community Management Measured?
This point is neglected far too often. The community manager serves many roles, but like any job, if it’s not measured, you don’t know what’s working.

This is still in the experimental phase, but there are ways to set up success metrics for community management. Are you tracking its impact on overall engagement? Is it the growth of your community? You can look at the impact on Net Promoter Score (NPS) or renewal rates. Bottom line: some measurement has to be put in place and tweaked when necessary.

These are a few must-haves for any community management function. For a comprehensive look, download our free Grande Guide to Community Management, authored by actual practitioners.

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