Being a community manager, like I am for several online communities, involves knowing a little bit of magic. The kind that gets people talking, sharing, celebrating and growing together. There is no one skill that will get the job done; its everything plus the kitchen sink. One of my clients described perfectly what having a community of practice is really all about:
“To be a good community manager, you need to love throwing parties, because that’s essentially what a community is. As the host of that party, it’s your job to make sure everyone feels comfortable, to know what people are interested in (which involves doing some homework before the party starts so you know how to introduce people effectively to each other), and to have the best party gifts and food (i.e. articles, resources, how-to’s).”
And congratulations, you’ve just landed a job as a community manager! Now what? Here are some key ways to ensure you truly rock your new gig:
- Read. Read. Read. Being a community manager does require you to sit in front of that computer for hours on end sometimes, so you might as well use that time wisely. Learn everything you can about social media, know what’s trending, what’s about to explode, and what’s on its way out.
- Magic doesn’t happen over-night, so you’ve got to have patience on your side. And that involves doing a lot of listening to your community. What are they asking for? What are their pain points? What solutions are they coming up with on their own? How might you help?
- Tell everyone what you’re doing. Being a community manager is one of the most social jobs there are out there. Build your network with key people, go to networking events, be where the people are – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Be seen.
- Plan for that marathon. Your community won’t build itself without you, but you have to be aiming for something. You know those sudden break-out artists who come out of nowhere and everybody can’t seem to stop talking about them? Well, that overnight success was most likely years in the making. Pace yourself, but leap when you have to.
- Ask lots of questions. The field of community managers is an emerging one, and few people understand it. Surround yourself with other community managers and share ideas together.
So go out there and rock your community!