Be your own community manager
A community manager helps grow and manage an online community, usually around a cause or in your case a brand our product.
This is a great way to help build a community of fans for your business, as well as build your authority and create a place to go to for information or support.
Increase engagement by making people feel a sense of belonging.
Our innovation community
My experience in this area comes from my previous role as part of the innovation team. We built a community of innovative problems solvers from 15 to over 900 members within a year.
We utilised a tool called Microsoft Yammer, which is basically an internal social media app which you can access through our Office 365 subscription.
It is basically a Facebook group, operating in the same way connecting people with conversation.
This soon became one of the most active and popular groups within our large organisation.
This was mainly because we had a community manager and a strategy for posting and commenting. I was the community manager and would help in connecting problems to problems solvers.
What did I learn about Community management?
Too many other departments thought you could just start a group and people would automatically start discussions. It takes a while to get to this point, you must put in the effort, and demonstrate the value of participating in discussions.
This is the same as social media. You can’t just set up an account, you can’t just put out content. You need to engage, be ‘social’ and demonstrate the value of being part of the community.
I would post every day, add to the conversations of other members giving useful advice or suggesting other colleagues who may be able to assist – pulling them into the conversation.
How do I get started?
Whether you’re building an Instagram account or a Facebook Group here are some tips to get you started.
- Guidelines – rules. Some basic rules to keep things friendly, positive and ‘un-spammy’ would be helpful here. This doesn’t need to be a long list of strict rules, but some common courtesy key points. Negativity and advertising can put people off participating and make it difficult for a community manager to eradicate bad eggs.
- Metrics – How are you going to measure success? Will you be measuring engagement or how many members you have?
- Discussions – ask questions. Initiate discussions, and keep going even if you don’t get any bites. You need to give your audience something to engage with. Sometimes people don’t like to be the first to respond, and you need to understand what really gets your audience talking. Think about the different formats of posts too, blogs, questions, photos, polls – what does your community love to see – and give them more of it!
The number one rule is always to try and give value. This might be to educate your audience, or entertain them but always think about the audience with each of your posts.
As part of community management, you need to bring people together. Understand who your community is, and how they can relate to each other. Monitor negative behaviour and encourage the positive.
Community management is positive and building a community around your niche, product or services helps – not only to build your authority and make you the go-to place online – but can help support a community of fans around your product that can help and support each other too.
They’re great fun to be part of!