A Surefire Guide to Online Community Management:
The DOs and DON’Ts
Now, it is your turn to create one such community. The members of your own private online community will get the opportunity to do a lot of stuff. Exchange ideas. Discuss their needs, tastes, personal interests, etc. Share tips on professional development and best practices. Help each other, and even ask for help. Learn much more from fellow community users about things that interest them.
A strong private online community helps you create loyal users. A community that trusts and supports your passion and ideas, hobby, and business goals. Your community serves you as no-cost, unofficial spokespersons.
But do you know your online community is only as much effective as your community management is? That’s right! Community management is the key to your community's success.
Your community is about your audiences. They make your passion, hobby, and business realize their full potential. Good community management makes engagement easy, deep, and lasting. Your engagement with your audiences, as well as engagement among themselves.
Your audiences are human beings. So, community management treats your online community and engagement as human. It makes participants on either side feel that you are caring about them. Those who connect and engage with you as your platform users, as well as those who work for you.
Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, or individual community promoters like you have started investing. Not only in creating but also in managing their own dedicated online communities.
So, online communities have grown fast in recent years. And, with that the need for community management.
Resourceful and efficient community management helps you in many ways. Some of them are to:
- Create/increase awareness about your ideas and thought-leadership, passion, business, etc
- Form ideas from the feedback of your community members/potential users
- Learn about members — what they like, need, and expect
- Provide your community members, fans, and followers with the kind of support as and when they need it
- Build relationships with users/potential users to increase their loyalty towards you
- Give your community the value that keeps them coming back again and again
For this purpose, your entrepreneurship needs a qualified and competent community manager.
The Roles and Responsibilities of An Online Community Manager
People have begun recognizing the great value that an online community produces. So, they've started dedicating more resources to its management.
As you start, you have to define the roles and responsibilities of your community manager.
A community manager is a professional who develops the voice and tone of what you stand for. Better say, they represent your private online community platform. They build, grow, and manage it. They engage with your members, fans, and followers through social media, live webinars, etc. Use analytics tools to track and supervise social media, blogs, and online fora. They do this to find out what the community people are saying online. About all that you are excited about or stand for.
10 Responsibilities that your online community manager must handle:
- Define a moderation framework: First, define and develop a community management strategy. Come up with a set of guidelines, or terms & conditions. Both for your online community and for its host/moderator(s). The rules within which your community must act. What is allowed, what is not, what users can expect or not expect, etc.
- Plan your launch: You need to introduce your online community to current and potential members. Craft the initial message and following content to keep your community engaged. Plan and execute communication campaigns and strategies to ensure they come back.
- Do beta testing: Before the launch, onboard users to help you in the beta test. Your beta test users will help you find and fix bugs. Provide helpful feedback if you have any gaps in your plan. Even help you recruit new community members after the launch.
- Craft relevant, original content: Plan your posting schedule in advance. A content calendar to cover all your resources — events, education, recognition, and interaction. Post some content across platforms in advance as a strategy. To attract the right audience, bring relevance, and boost engagement. Provide relevant, engaging, and original content (text, images, videos, etc) for all communications. Craft blog posts, articles, newsletters, and other communication materials for various channels.
- Host events: Organize, manage and host online events. Live webinars help you target a large audience, regardless of their geographic locations. Online events engage the audience and establish you as an expert in your field. Be it a hobby or a profession backed by entrepreneurship. They create value to benefit a large audience.
- Drive engagement: Give your community members a reason to engage with you and with each other so that they return for more. For this, segment users to deliver the right content and information at the right time.
- Respond in time: Resolve grievances of members in time. This will give the users a sense of belonging and connection. Keep an eye on new users, the number of posts/replies, connection requests, etc. This is to understand how your community is growing and engaging.
- Get staff involved: Your community management should be user-centric. Engage your staff with your community by providing guidance, training, and general support. This will help develop new ideas, things, future communication strategies, etc.
- Use data for necessary actions: Your online community is a rich data source. Use it for information about your members’ needs and how you can best serve them.
- Use gamification: Gamify the community experience to encourage deep engagement. Reward the members for taking actions, such as loyalty or a first post.
Additionally, your private online community manager needs to coordinate with your development team. Build relationships with industry professionals and journalists. Besides, stay up-to-date with digital technology trends.
6 Killer Skills that make an online community manager awesome:
- Effective interpersonal communication skills to build relationships with and influence the community
- Ability to empathize and build rapport with the community users and other stakeholders
- Capable of crafting compelling copy to engage the community, including its potential users and new visitors
- Fair knowledge of analytics tools to interpret website traffic and understand its behavior
- Thorough knowledge of digital marketing and how social media work
- An eye for detail, critical-thinker, and problem-solver
5 DOs and 5 DON’Ts that turn your online private online community management into a champion:
First, the DOs:
- Pay attention to complaints: Respond to negative comments or complaints as early as possible. This will prove that you and your purpose are honest and credible.
- Acknowledge engagement: Appreciate it when someone takes time to engage with your field of interest and content. ‘Like’, reply with a comment, and retweet to show that you care for your audiences.
- Respond immediately: Respond to queries, complaints, etc as early as possible not taking more than a few hours.
- Deal with offensive behavior: Delete or hide a comment that is irrelevant or could offend/hurt someone or more in your community.
- Get the onboarding process right: Getting new members is great. But keeping them is even better. Put in a proper onboarding process to ensure new members don’t move away.
And now, the DON’Ts:
- Ignore criticism: Don’t ignore or delete criticism. Your followers may get more annoyed and keep posting more of it. Show your concern by reaching out to them with proper replies.
- Share content without proper source: Curate content to make sure it is relevant to your community’s interest and has a reliable source.
- Automate messages: Humanize all your interactions and communications with your community members/audiences. Never send a common, stereotype and irrelevant reply to all. The failure to personalize your approach may disappoint and irritate your community.
- Assume things: Don’t assume things. It may mean distancing your members. Act on their feedback. Even there’s no risk in asking them for clearer and more specific of what they need, know, want to see and find, etc.
- Give up: Community building is hard. It may take time to move from the first stage of building to get people to engage and benefit your members and business.
The Last Word
You need a lot of ideas, tools, and people to develop and optimize your private online community. And right management strategies for its success. If created and managed properly, your private online community can be the most powerful instrument for you. To connect and engage your users, whom you serve, among themselves, with you, and with those who work for you. To build deeper and enduring relationships with all stakeholders.
You need a qualified, competent online community manager to plan, launch, and grow your community. This is necessary for fulfilling the community members’ problems, needs, and aspirations. which in turn ensures the success and realization of your entrepreneurship potential.