This week’s topic for #CMGRclass was about scaling your online community. Richard Millington, in Buzzing Communities, talks about when a community grows, the community manager may become overwhelmed with tasks that one person cannot complete on their own.
Community managers have tons of responsibility, and once it becomes to much for one person, Millington suggests recruiting members of your online community to help so that you can focus on more important things. On his website, he has written a post about 11 Processes for Scaling Online Communities. Examples of these processes include:
- Recruiting, training, managing and motivating volunteers
- Encouraging members to submit their own news
- Teaching volunteers how to recruit and train other volunteers
- Allowing members to create their own groups, events, and discussions
There are pros and cons to scaling your online community. Some things to consider are:
-Allows the community manager to focus on more important things such as technical problems, strategy and analytics.
-Gives your community members a sense of responsibility
-Allows your community members to be more involved in their online community
-Community members can come up with their own content/discussion topics that are of interest to them
-By having more community members as moderators, you can make sure only the best content circulates within your community
-Giving too much responsibility to community members can be overwhelming to them
-Scaling your online community often changes the community manager’s job description; How does the community manager’s role change as the community grows?
-You need to make sure that your community members can be trusted and are responsible
-Community members essentially are just volunteers. The community manager will need to make sure to bestow responsibility to members who will take the job just as seriously as the CM
-The community manager will need to find a balance between giving away enough responsibility without loosing control of the community and its members
Scaling your community, might not be a good fit for you as a community manager or for your community at its current stage. What can you do instead? PRIORITIZE.
The laundry list of things that a community manager has to do seems endless, and it is. But making sure that you get the right tasks completed first makes all the difference. Richard Millington also has a post about what tasks community managers should prioritize.
Here are a few things that a community manager should focus on to make their lives easier:
- Creating, updating and following your content calendar
- Write/draft content in advance so you’re not scrambling the day before or the day of
- Create a weekly, monthly, yearly strategy to make sure you are reaching your goals
- Develop your community (e.g. holding events, contacting key members, reaching out to potential new members, etc.)
- Measuring your community and collecting/analyzing data about them
- Plan ahead as much as possible
Have you been successful in scaling your online community? What is holding you back? Do you have tasks to be added to this list to keep you on track? Please share what you find helpful in prioritizing your community manager work.