Community Management: Now What?!

Whenever things come to a close, I always ask myself “now what”? Now, as we’re nearing the end of the CMGRclass, I find myself asking that same question. I feel like it applies in a few situations based on this week’s readings as well as the course in general.

So… you’re a community manager with a strong, growing community. Now what?!

For new communities, a Community Manager must help create the community and build it from the ground up. Once it hits the ground running and gains some success, the responsibilities of a CM grow larger. It’s exciting when your community becomes successful, but sometimes it means that the CM responsibilities become too much to handle. At some point, you’re going to have to start thinking bigger.

This week, we learned about the importance of scaling and how it will be beneficial to the future success of your community. Once your community is growing out of your own reach, you have to start looking to your community members for help. Richard Millington (FeverBee) suggests implementing processes that scale. The 11 processes he mentioned are as follows:

  • Recruit, train, manage and motivate volunteers.
  • Rewriting guidelines if they are violated too frequently
  • Encourage members receive a prominent by-line in the news article.
  • Setup a community e-mail address which several volunteers can access and reply to.
  • Teach volunteers to recruit and train other volunteers.
  • Ensure members can identify and remove bad posts.
  • Automate members inviting their friends.
  • Let members apply to run various forum categories.
  • Allow members to create their own groups, initiate events, start live-discussions.
  • Start a tradition of regulars welcoming newcomers.
  • Write detailed guidelines for doing your job.
Now what? Be ready for opportunities, and don't be afraid to take them! Taken from http://thecommunitymanager.com/2012/04/23/the-best-and-worst-community-management-job-descriptions/

Now what? Be ready for opportunities, and don’t be afraid to take them!
Taken from http://thecommunitymanager.com/2012/04/23/the-best-and-worst-community-management-job-descriptions/

All of these posts revolve around the same idea: let your community members help you out. Your community members should become ambassadors of the community, and you can rely on them to post content as well as moderate it. It’s a community, so treat it like one. Give your members responsibilities, and reward them for their help. This has two benefits. The members get the sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that they are an influential part of the community, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that the weight is being lifted from your shoulders. Now you have time to focus on thinking of what the community can do next!

So… you just finished CMGRclass and you’re about to graduate. Now what?!

This is one of the best classes I’ve taken at Syracuse. In only a few short months, I feel as though I am prepared to step into the world of Community Management–or at least prepared enough to test the water. Before this class, I will honestly say that I did not know what Community Management was. Now, I’m expanding my job search to include positions in this field. The course has absolutely prepared us with the skills necessary to become successful, but it was also great to read the article dedicated to aspiring Community Managers.

A few of Vadim Lavrusik’s 10 tips really stood out to me.

Be authentic “it’s not just about having a voice, but having an authentic one”. A company can easily set up social media accounts and call it a day. Starting a community is about going the extra mile to be personable and make relationships. This is only possible if you’re true to yourself and you are authentic. No one is interested in joining a community or supporting a brand they cannot relate to. Be more about the people, and more about being yourself, and don’t become a “faceless” brand.

 

Comcast is a great example of "being authentic". They are personable and all about their members! Taken from http://mashable.com/2010/08/21/community-manager-jobs/

Comcast is a great example of “being authentic”. They are personable and all about their members! Taken from http://mashable.com/2010/08/21/community-manager-jobs/

Listen, add value, and build relationships — this goes hand in hand with being authentic. It’s incredibly important to listen to the conversations between members in your community. This is how you’ll gain feedback that can be used to make changes that will better your company or community. Even if you’re not a community manager, these three tips are crucial to success. Building relationships is so important. You never know who will need your help down the road.

Think like an entrepreneur and be quick to adapt — you need to have a vision and be ready for anything. Being quick to adapt was a reoccurring theme this semester and something I can definitely vouch for. This summer, during my internship, I was complimented many times for being ready for anything and able to fix or make changes quickly. A little bit goes a long way.

Lastly, the biggest “now what?!” of all — getting a job!

The job search won’t be fun (or easy), but now I know what to look out for. I know that the job description will reveal a lot about whether or not a company is right for me. If you’re an aspiring Community Manager, you should be confident that your potential employer knows what Community Management is and is utilizing it the right way. For example, if a job description for a CM says “manage social media accounts and that’s about it”, you probably would not be utilizing your talents and skills.

Now what?! For me, I’m not sure, but I’m excited to see where my CMGRclass lessons will take me!

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