For any initiative to be successful in today’s time and age, there needs to be a special relationship built with its audience.
That’s exactly what an online community does - it allows you to foster a healthy, long-term connection with your users, enabling you to gain some valuable insights into their behavior, preferences, and pain points.
But who builds this connection? Who acts as a bridge between you and the members of your online community?
You - but as a community manager!
A community manager is someone who allows you to take advantage of your online presence with the help of content distribution, online support, and digital engagement. The manager also helps interweave a productive link between community members and solopreneurs. As straightforward as it sounds, the job of a community manager is anything but easy.
However, worry not! In this article, we will not only have a closer look at the role of a community manager, but also the practices you can adopt to ensure that you turn out to be the best community manager out there.
Without further ado - let’s get right into it.
What is a Community Manager?
As already mentioned, a community manager is a person that is supposed to be the liaison between a project and its patrons. They are meant to simplify and streamline all the communication that takes place between the two. They actively represent the voice, tone, and nature of the entire community through their actions!
Ultimately, it is up to the community manager to harness the benefits of digital engagement and create an online presence that provides unmitigated user satisfaction. Beyond that, a community manager is meant to develop the community by creating new discussions, finding new users, and making sure that existing users are well-accommodated and looked after.
The Importance of Community Managers for New Ventures
For newer ventures and solopreneurs, creating an online presence can be quite a tricky task. Not only do you have to go through a lot of effort to get the right patrons for your venture, but it is also a struggle to retain them!
Creating an online community helps you establish a relationship with your potential customers, to the point that you can build a better reputation for your project in their eyes.
However, an online community is only as good as its manager! If you want your online community to be effective enough to bring some productive changes to your venture, you must focus on equipping it with adequate management!
Being a community manager means that the members of your community can consistently associate a human presence with your brand. For solopreneurs that are just starting, to build deep connections with the members of their community, this is extremely important. You want these people to perceive the whole community as something that understands and empathizes with their buying journey. Something they can communicate their grievances to and get practical, rational solutions from.
In short, a community manager is essentially the assurance you provide to the community members, and therefore, you should put in some extra effort to ensure that the community manager is worthy enough to be a representative of your initiative.
Tips on Being the Best Community Manager
Generally, the job description of a community manager entails the following aspects:
• Experience in support related field
• Online and in-person soft skills
• Deep understanding of the organization
• Content Creation
• PR navigation
• Social media guru
However, if you want to be a community manager that stands out and brings actual value to the venture, then you must go beyond these aspects and work on providing an even better experience.
How can you do that?
Well, here are a few tips:
Align yourself to the venture’s values.
The first step to being an effective community manager is understanding what your project or venture stands for. What value are you providing to your members? What purpose does the online community serve in the first place?
Answers to these questions will allow you to understand what your user expects and what your venture should be providing. Once you do that, you can easily establish a cohesive bond between the community members and your project.
Understand the members.
The next tip is to do your best to understand your community members. You can do this by regularly interacting with them to grasp the mechanisms of your community. There are always going to be people who engage with the community very prominently, and these are the people that you can interact with to know better about how the community works.
However, those are not the only ones you should pay attention to. Focus on the quiet members or the new ones, because they will enable you to get some valuable insights into how the community operates at the basic member level.
This way, you will be able to resonate with the sentiments of the members. It improves the image of your venture and also provides you with the leverage to improve your audience’s experience with your community in the future.
Establish the right voice.
Once you’re familiar with what your community stands for and what the members want out of it, you can get on to finding the right voice. By this, I mean that you need to discover a way of positioning yourself within the group. Remember: to the members, you are the voice of your project, so you have to be extra careful of your presence within the group.
Never be too assertive or dominant. For obvious reasons, this doesn’t sit well with the members. However, you should not sound docile or naive either. This might make the members question your authority as the representative of the brand. The best tone to use in such scenarios is soft, encouraging, and friendly.
Choose the right platform.
Another aspect that sets apart community managers is the platform that you use. This decision should also be aligned with what your community stands for, as well as what the members want from you.
So, look within your community and try to decipher which platforms do they like the best. Then, get to making that platform as fun and engaging for the community as possible.
Cultivate a Persona
The easiest way to gain user loyalty is by aligning your brand with the community members' needs and making it recognizable in the community interactions.
In simpler terms, this means that even though users like talking to a professional on the other side of the community, they prefer talking to a friendly human more. They like feeling connected with what they use, and humanizing your product through community interactions goes a long way in nurturing community engagement.
Some of the best and engaged online communities boast of a manager that helps humanize the platform and give it a personality.
But you should also be aware of your audience and what they like, dislike, and how they interact as it can be very easy for you to go with the flow and take your interaction a bit too far making your community uncomfortable.
The five tips shared above will help you maximize your potential as a community manager, and allow you to be the perfect bridge between your venture and the audience.
The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that although your loyalty lies with your project, the community members will also rely on you. Therefore, ideally, you should be a mediator between the two. You have to have both of their best interests at heart. Only if you do that, you can make a special place for yourself and your community in the lives of your community members. That may sound easy, but it will take a lot of dedication.
So, what are you waiting for? Brush up on your management skills, insert yourself within your community, and get to work!