Manage Your Social Media Community

In our previous post, Find Out What Your Community Wants, we discussed how to discover the wants and needs of your community.

In this post, we talk about ways to manage your community and go over some of the key tasks to remember.

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Some rights reserved by Fernando Amaro Caamaño

Community Management

Your social media community may run itself, but it’s not going to manage itself. You are going to need a community manager, someone who’s responsible for the care and feeding of your community. That could be you; it could be one of your staff; or it could be a volunteer, but to succeed, you need to have a community manager. However, no community manager ever does it all by him or herself. A good community manager will enlist the help of trusted community members and organizational management to ensure the smooth running of the discussions and other interactions in the community.

Being a community manager can involve a significant time commitment, so if you can afford it, consider outsourcing this function to an expert. Regardless of what you think about the costs of a community manager, the long-term costs of not actively managing your community far outweigh the required effort. A community in which queries to the management go unanswered, the trolls are running wild, and the friend function has been broken for days is not a community people will hang around. Lack of attention has killed many a community.

Community Manager Tasks

A community manager often wears many hats. When you take a look at the following partial list of tasks that must be done, you can see why.

  • Recruit members
  • Discover who community members are and what they need
  • Help members figure out how they fit — An important manager task is to identify who will fill the various roles in the typical community
  • Determine how members want to interact — Do they need real-time chat? To be able to create their own forums? A way to friend one another?
  • Design and implement interactive tools
  • Help build and maintain the community’s infrastructure
  • Answer questions or do training on community features
  • Help create and evolve the community culture
  • Discover the best way to encourage members to connect
  • Be the liaison for members to connect with those inside the enterprise
  • Convey community feedback to the enterprise and larger community
  • Advocate for the community
  • Tear down silos inside the enterprise — There’s a large component of change management whenever an organization embraces social media. The manager must be a change agent.
  • Be an author and an editor for the enterprise’s contributions
  • Manage community crises — In any community, offline or online, there are going to crises. Online it might be troll attacks or other personality conflicts or it might be members who want to otherwise harm the community. The community manager must also be a crisis manager

That’s quite a list! And it may be more than one person can accomplish for your community, especially during startup and the critical 6 to 12 months after the community’s debut. You need to think seriously about the resources starting and maintaining your community will require.

Community Management is the 159th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 404. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

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