How to be a great community manager?

How to be a great community manager?

Feb 5, 2024

Most people think community managers are merely customer service representatives, but this is a huge misconception. In reality, their role is much more expansive and proactive and definitely not limited to handling customer complaints. This misinterpretation of their role can limit their potential and downplay their critical role in brand and community growth. In fact, they are instrumental in building and nurturing the relationship between a brand and its audience. In this blog post, you’ll learn what it is like to be a great community manager and how you can become one.

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Key responsibilities of a community manager

  1. Creating Engagement: A community manager works to get people talking and interacting on their community servers/channels. They might start a conversation about a new product or ask members their opinions on recent news related to the brand.

    Developing the skill of creating engagement involves understanding your community's interests and being proactive.

    Yes, anyone could start a conversation, but the ability to continuously engage an audience and create meaningful interactions separates an expert from others.

  2. Managing Relationships: This includes answering questions, addressing member concerns, and making everyone feel welcome.

    While moderators often handle routine questions, a community manager's role is more strategic and comprehensive. They address more complex queries, act on feedback, and handle sensitive issues/conflicts.

    Their responses can influence the community's perception of the brand, so it's crucial for them to foster strong, positive relationships.

    They also set the tone for how members treat each other. This attribute defines a community's core and overall environment, making it a crucial responsibility for a community manager.

  3. Facilitating Insights & Analytics: The community manager serves as a vital link between the community and the brand.

    They gather opinions and feedback from community members, plus also generate in-depth analytics and reports to inform the brand about its performance, user tendencies, and potential areas of growth.

    This collected data and knowledge about the brand, products, or services is then conveyed to the rest of the team for consideration and future planning.

  4. Driving Growth: In addition to maintaining engagement and relationships within the community, a community manager also devises and implements growth strategies.

    They identify opportunities for expansion, attract new members, and retain existing ones.

    They utilize both qualitative feedback and quantitative data to inform their strategies, ensuring that the community continues to thrive and bring value to the brand.

  5. Content Creation: They create and curate compelling content that resonates with the community, keeping members engaged and informed. This could be in the form of blog posts, newsletters, social media updates, or discussion threads.

    They aim to provide relevant and valuable content that sparks interaction amongst members while reinforcing the brand's message and values.

What differentiates good community managers from bad ones?

Good Listening Skills

They pay attention to what community members say and how they feel.

This is important because understanding members' thoughts and feelings can help managers to make good decisions and handle situations well.

They listen by reading comments, replying, and getting the overall feel of the conversations happening in the community.

Excellent Communication Skills

They require adeptness in expressing the brand's values, mission, and goals in a manner that resonates with the community members.

A clear, engaging, and empathetic communication style helps foster strong relationships with the community and encourages active participation.

They must be skilled in tactfully addressing feedback, handling disputes, and crafting compelling content that promotes interaction and brand loyalty.

Ability to Resolve Conflicts

Conflicts can arise not just among members but can also pertain to brand-related issues, miscommunication, or perceptual differences. Their task is to tactfully handle these, ensuring the brand's image is upheld.

They must display diplomatic skills, addressing grievances from community members about a product or service and mediating effectively to maintain a balanced relationship between the community and the brand.

They often intercede in disputes relating to feedback on brand decisions, operating on a level that goes beyond rule enforcement.

Being Proactive

They anticipate and draw from trends, member likes, and company campaigns to create content that will immediately catch attention and trigger conversations.

They don't wait for problems to pop up. They keep their eyes open for possible issues and quickly step in to prevent bigger troubles.

Regularly touch base with members, making each person feel seen and valued. They also keep track of community patterns, adjusting plans based on what's working and what's not.

Always hunting for fresh, fun ways to bring people together, like hosting online events or starting new topics.

This proactive and ahead-of-the-game approach creates a lively and connected community, powering the brand's growth and success.

Understanding the Brand

Knowing the brand's goals, values, and target audience is key in being a great CM.

This understanding helps them to represent the brand accurately and make decisions that align with the brand's mission.

Armed with this knowledge, a community manager can develop and implement engagement strategies, monitor and translate community sentiments into actionable brand feedback, and create impactful content aligned with the brand's promise and community interests.

Things you should always avoid if you want to be a great CM

  1. Ignoring Feedback: Never ignore feedback from your community members. This can come off as disrespectful and can make members feel unimportant. Always read feedback, respond where necessary, and consider their input during decision-making.

  2. Inconsistent Communication: Try to avoid disappearing or going quiet for long periods. Consistent communication helps keep the community engaged and shows members that you're there for them.

  3. Being Defensive: If members criticize the brand or your management, don't be defensive or dismissive. Instead, listen to their concerns, thank them for their feedback, and if necessary and appropriate, make changes based on that feedback.

  4. Being Impersonal: While it's important to maintain professionalism, being too impersonal or robotic can hamper connection-building. Show your human side – be personable and friendly.

  5. Over-promoting: It's important to avoid pushing the brand or product too hard or too often. It can annoy members and make it seem like you care more about selling than about the community. Share about the brand organically and as a part of regular interaction, not as sales pitches.

  6. Not Adapting: Communities are always evolving, and sticking to old tactics or ignoring new trends can stall growth and engagement. Stay open to trying new strategies and adapting to shifts in the community's needs and preferences.

  7. Neglecting Offline Interaction: If possible, don't limit your engagement to online platforms only. Try to meet collab partners and stakeholders in person through meetups or events, if applicable and feasible. It can strengthen your bond and make them feel more connected to the brand.

How do you know if you’re cut out for it?

Passion for the Community

Passion should be a significant guiding force for a successful community manager.

This means you truly enjoy the brand, cause, or activity the community is centered around.

Your excitement and dedication can motivate members and keep the community vibrant.

For instance, if you're managing a community of gamers, genuinely enjoying and understanding games can help you interact more effectively and authentically with members.

Focus on Building Relationships

This includes not only relationships with and between members but also relationships with others who can affect the community, such as brand partners or industry influencers.

Building these relationships can make the community stronger and create more opportunities for the brand or cause.

Adapting to Changes

Things change fast, especially in online communities.

A successful community manager is ready to adapt to changes, whether they are changes in the community's interests, in the platform's features, or in the broader digital landscape.

Being flexible and open to change helps keep the community fresh, relevant, and engaging.

How to face the common challenges

Challenge 1: Overwhelming Volume of Messages

Depending on the size of your community, you might have to go through a large volume of messages, comments, and posts every day.

You could use tools and features provided by platforms like Discord or Telegram to manage these messages more effectively.

Tools like AwesomeQA are used by large and successful communities to automatically answer repeat questions which can greatly help in tackling this challenge.

Challenge 2: Generating Engagement

Sometimes, it might be challenging to get your community members actively engaged.

Every community is unique and it can be challenging to pinpoint what can draw responses.

Dealing with phases where efforts don't seem to show results, can challenge one's motivation and optimism.

The ability to persist, stay innovative, and continuously test & refine strategies to create engagement is a vital trait in addressing this challenge.

Challenge 3: Receiving Feedback

Getting constructive criticism or suggestions can seem tough.

Instead of viewing this as a negative, use the feedback as a chance for growth.

Appreciate members, for their honesty, and try to incorporate their ideas or improve areas where they point out issues. Feedback is essential for better community management.

Challenge 4: Dealing with Burnout

Community management can sometimes be all-consuming, leading to emotional fatigue or burnout.

Make sure to take breaks, manage your time effectively, and don't hesitate to ask for help when needed.

Ensuring you maintain a good work-life balance is crucial for long-term success.

Challenge 5: Evolving Platforms

The platforms you use for your community will keep changing and evolving.

To tackle this, stay updated about any changes in the platform's guidelines or features.

This way you can adjust your strategies and continue to build and manage your community effectively.

Looking to pursue a career as a community manager?

Don't underestimate the power of small opportunities as they often lead to bigger roles.

Start by actively participating and volunteering in various communities on platforms like Discord and Telegram. Build a strong understanding of these platforms.

Show genuine interest, engage with members, and demonstrate initiative. It's a good idea to start by deeply understanding the brand or cause you're looking to represent.

Remember, every interaction is a chance to learn and grow, taking you one step closer to your goal of becoming a great community manager.