If you’re a business owner, you likely already have an online community whether it’s your blog, a Facebook group or an active Twitter account. Community management is one of the most challenging roles you can have. Your success relies on quick decisions, driven by your master strategy. Great community managers must be equal parts shepherd, therapist, court jester and ninja.
First and foremost, strive to be transparent with your community at all times. Making a change? Let your community know that it’s coming and why.
Commit to building and maintaining the community. A community doesn’t build and maintain itself. You need to dedicate time to it, listen and respond.
Create connections & build relationships. Reach out for feedback. Demonstrate that you know, remember and value your community members as individuals, not just as members of your online community.
Community management relies heavily on developing trust with members. Great community managers keep the best interests of the community members firmly at the center of their community strategy. Don’t let the noisy few (and there are ALWAYS a few “squeaky wheels”) dictate policy and set the direction for the community as a whole.
Acknowledge users who take the time to engage. Not just the frequent commenters, not just the folks who are community leaders, EVERYONE. Taking the time to acknowledge even the quieter members of your community can encourage them to become more actively engaged and to spread goodwill about your brand.
Ideas for New Communities
If you don’t currently have an online community, give some serious thought to creating one. Do you have a conference coming up? Company-wide training? Some sort of community outreach project? Set up a community before the event and invite people to join. This gives participants an opportunity to get to know each other beforehand (hooray for no more awkward ‘ice-breakers’!!)
Promote peer networks and boost engagement. This will help your teams and your community feel supported and they’ll be more invested in your mission.
Share cross-platform – did you find an excellent picture related to your brand on Instagram? Share that with your community on Facebook or Pin it on Pinterest. This can help expand the reach of your community.
If you find engagement is less than enthusiastic, consider implementing a special day or two during the week where you post questions and ask for answers. Make sure you comment when people answer to encourage conversation.
Use content to spark conversation. Don’t make every post a promotion. Find an emotional connection and ask your community to share. Do something fun like “Fat Cat Friday” where people can post pictures of their cats (ahhh, how the internet does love cats!) or “Dog-Tired Monday” where people can post their pictures of snoozing pooches. Laughing together can be a great community builder.