Demystifying community management

The need for community management has been stretching farther and wider recently, touching industries from technology to banking. As a community manager myself, not a day goes by where I don’t end up explaining the role to someone.

Today, I am going to demystify what community managers actually do. As a community manager, your responsibilities are divided between servicing the external community and the internal team. Essentially, you must act as the external voice of the company and the internal advocate of the users.

Externally speaking, you have three roles:

  1. Brand ambassador – Act as a face of the company.
  2. Brand monitor – Become the eyes and ears of the company.
  3. Brand communicator – Communicate the brand to others.

Internally speaking, you ought to start by reporting to the CEO directly. Then, try to focus on three things:

  • Always communicate. Be available to everyone in the company. Establish clear lines of communication with each department in the company so you can smoothly interface with them (and vice versa).
  • Be everywhere. Attend all major discussions within the company – even if you remain silent. You need to know what’s going on internally, and sometimes the only way to know is to be present.
  • Create and share notes. Work regularly with department heads to ensure your community outreach is not misrepresenting (or, over–sharing!) their work.

It is important that you provide insight to the product team based on your knowledge of what the users want. Lastly, I created a checklist that I review daily to keep myself on track:

  • Daily Reflections: Start and end each day with thoughtful reflection.
  • Strategy: Help establish and communicate the future direction of the community.
  • Content: Create and edit material to educate users on the product.
  • Relationships: Build strong relationships with the top users, welcome new users to the community, and recruit/manage those who volunteer to help test and evangelize the product.
  • Events/activities: Plan and execute events and fun activities for the community.
  • Recruitment: Persuade more people to become brand evangelists.
  • Moderation: Remove bad content and encourage good behavior by initiating conversations.
  • Business: Integrate the community with the overall business. Fight for resources, ensuring community objectives are met while expectations are realistic.

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