A community manager is the backbone of an online community.
Originally, communities were limited to open forums or social networks to discuss and share interests on the internet. As online communities grew, brands started uncovering their potential. Now, they have become a major marketing touchpoint for many brands. As a result, community managers’ responsibilities spread beyond conversation initiation and moderation.
Let’s explore the expanding horizons of the community managers to unfold their direct and indirect roles precisely. It will help you understand how a new-gen community manager can excel in the digital-first era where communities are widening their scope.
Who is an Online Community Manager?
Community managers act as an intermediary between a brand and its customers. They facilitate meaningful interaction between a community and its members to instill a sense of belongingness. Simply put, they help build, grow, and manage a brand’s online community.
On the core level, a community manager would-
Monitor: A community manager studies the customer in the community and beyond. They constantly look for relevant hashtags, trends, influencers, keywords, etc. This gives them an opportunity to pique curiosity in people outside the community about the brand. Thus, a big part of their responsibility involves active listening to know what is trending amongst their members and potential customers.
Engage: The role of a community manager is not limited to monitoring community activities. They have to engage with the community members whenever the need arises. Be it a query, a comment, a review, or anything that mentions their brands, it must be addressed. Sometimes they need to-
- Initiate conversations
- Conduct contests
- Collect feedback
- Promote user-generated content
Moderate: The most crucial job of a community manager is moderating the online community to protect their brand reputation. It is about maintaining the decorum of their community by preventing members from posting offensive or irrelevant content. For moderating conversations within the community, a community manager-
- Establishes and maintains norms, rules, and guidelines
- Ensure community members can access and follow the established norms
- Takes appropriate action when the norms or guidelines are violated
Measure: Lastly, community managers measure the performance of the community to understand whether it aligns with the brand objectives. They measure various metrics, such as the number of active members, the number of visitors per month, the degree of participation of members, etc. This enables them to determine what works and pinpoint the areas for improvement.
They also monitor the competition and social media trends to report metrics that analyze past actions and adjust future ones.
Advancing Roles of a New-Gen Community Manager
Today’s integrated and cutting-edge communities demand efforts that go beyond monitoring and moderating. As a result, community managers have to take up proactive roles to match the pace of advancing communities.
A few evolving responsibilities of a community manager are-
1. Developing the Action Plan to Achieve Business Goals
Community managers are responsible for developing an action plan that directly achieves value for the brand.
For instance, if the business’s goal is to get more customers, then the community manager needs to focus on driving traffic to the site, acquiring email addresses on relevant resources, and more.
2. Going Beyond Customer Base to Promote Networking
An online community goes beyond customers and involves other stakeholders like employees, vendors, and sponsors. A community manager can bridge the community gap between the brand and associated stakeholders to promote networking within the community.
This brings together expertise from different fields including development, marketing, support, etc., to enable a knowledgeable and customer-centric experience for all the community members.
3. Building a Welcoming and Safe Atmosphere Within the Community
The community manager is responsible for enabling a welcoming and inclusive onboarding experience. This can be done by sending them relevant threads to join, useful resources to read, community guidelines, and more.
In addition, they must have an effective moderation strategy in place for new members to keep offensive conversations at bay. This helps them maintain the health of their community and enables members to cross-collaborate and treat the contributions of other members with respect.
4. Gamifying the Community for a Stellar CX
Gamification encourages healthy competitiveness in the online community and boosts participation and engagement. And, community managers play a crucial role in the success of gamification. They are responsible for putting together creative gamification elements to encourage participation and engagement.
Here are some ways to boost engagement within the community, apart from content-
- Upvoting system: Let members appreciate posts, comments, and content they like by upvoting them.
- Badges: Offer recognition to members upon completion of certain expertise or activities.
- Leaderboards- Create a hall-of-fame for top performers.
Things to Expect From an Involved Community Manager
A community manager humanizes a brand through the community. They must be empathetic, sympathetic, and patient. To be able to fully connect with their members in an ethical manner, the following are a few things that are expected from a community manager-
Social concerns revolve around the way communication takes place in a community. A community manager is expected to create a safe space for its members where they can interact without having to experience trolling, bullying, harassment, and abuse.
A community manager needs to-
- Establish community guidelines to prevent inappropriate member behavior.
- Appreciate examples of acceptable user behavior through a recognition post that mentions your most helpful members.
- Take appropriate actions (like content or member suspension) when acceptable behavior norms are violated.
The privacy and safety of community members are the foremost responsibility of a community manager. Some tech considerations expected from community managers are-
- Consent-based data collection and utilization
- Giving freedom to members to leave the community anytime they want
- Non-discriminatory space for marginalized people
- Enhance community data protection using effective security measures
While there is a lot to do to fill the shoes of a competent community manager, the most important thing is to lay down the groundwork. A new-gen community manager utilizes ethical tactics and emerging technologies to ensure that the community is benefitting both its members and the organization.
Wish to Execute a Stellar Online Community Management Strategy? Talk to Us!
Team Grazitti possesses extensive experience in building dynamic online communities that bring high engagement. To learn more about our CMaaS expertise, drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.
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