Role of Community Managers 3 Step
(1) Perfecting your timing
Community Management is not a standard 9-to-5 job, especially if it is a community that reaches globally. It is incredibly important, especially for new and growing communities, to pay attention to spikes in activation and engagement within your various communities. Using tools like CrowdBooster, SocialFlow, PageLever, and good old fashioned Google Analytics, identify which days of the week and times of the day your community members are most active, and engage appropriately. Community managers do not always need to insert themselves in to the conversation, but it is important to pay attention to what members are saying and be available to respond or manage relationships if necessary. This is key to maintaining an active community and making sure your community continues to grow. Dan Zarrella’s Science of Timing research is a great resource if you’re not sure where to get started.
(2) Playing the numbers game
As more emphasis is being given on the value for the bottom line of the business, reporting on a community’s visitor analytics is becoming an important function of the community management role. The C-suite does not care how many followers you have or how many discussions have been started in your community, but they do want to know how those things tie back to business goals – and it is more than just reporting on the hard numbers. Are the discussions generating feedback that can be integrated in to product development or the sales cycle? Is your website receiving an increased number of visitors from the community, and if so, what’s the path visitors are taking through the site? Is there content on your blog or website that is especially popular with your community that can provide additional insight about your customer base? As an integral piece of a social business, community managers will increasingly be relied on for this type of business insight and must be able to communicate the findings in a way that’s understandable for internal decision makers.
(3) Improving searchability
Search engine optimization is a tactic that certainly falls more under the realm of marketing, but with so many community managers reporting that they handle content creation and editorial planning for their organizations (as evidenced by the 2012 Community Manager Report from Social Fresh), it’s a skill that more community managers should take in to consideration when developing content for a brand. The social customer is masterful when it comes to search – so you want to make sure the helpful content within your communities is easily accessible when current and potential customers look for it.
The evolution of community management is inevitable. Purists will continue to advocate for the separation of the community manager role from other social media functions and communications will always be more of an art than a science. But at the end of the day, we can all agree that as business continues to change as a result of our social world, it’s important for all functions to fold in things like data, analytics and search to improve a customer’s experience with the brand.