Community, by definition, is a unified body of individuals.
It’s a group of people who all connect with one another on the points of common interests. It’s where we converse. It’s where we exchange ideas. It’s where we build relationships.
And finally, it’s where we activate these relationships.
With these aspects in mind, it is important to understand that online communities are reflective of real life communities. Thus the management should be treated with similar mindset and strategy.
Find below a checklist that will help with the day to day management and positive growth of online, social communities.
1. Morning Read Though
This is the cup of joe and newspaper before the sun rises routine.
Well, it doesn’t have to be before the sun rises, but it helps to kick off the day (especially a Monday) with just taking time to enjoy some industry reading. Oh, and it doesn’t always have to be “industry” reading.
Example: I love film. So more times than not I find myself reading my slew of film blogs. It kickstarts your brain (in coordination with caffeine).
2. Networks Check
Once your morning zen period is over, it will be time to ease into “work.” Start going through each online community you manage and check the pulse.
See what’s been said by everyone and start crafting messaging that addresses all comments and questions. Note: probably should be pretty clear-minded by this point – robotic responses tend to come from grogginess.
3. Campaigns/Contests Check
Easy. If a campaign or contest of yours is running you must check in on it daily. Bottom line.
4. Content Timeline Check
Surprisingly, from community managers I have talked to before, this step is not included.
Yes, they produce content, but they never take the whopping ten minutes it takes to check on future events and how they can produce good content for the next two to four weeks.
So, take a few minutes to see what the next month (ish) holds in relevance to your client or brand. Life will be much easier for those next few weeks.
5. Content Gathering
Here’s the time suck. It’s enjoyable, but it can be hard to schedule this part of each day, as some days you’re finding exactly what you need and other days you couldn’t find something applicable and useful to save your life.
Also, gather and create content that is worth something, that actually serves a purpose to your community. I’m not going to preach about “make content shareable.” Duh! Is that not automatic?
6. Content Writing
The most fun part (at least to me). Take all of your hard work from above and customize it to your voice and to what you are trying to achieve for that week, month or year.
I tend to stick to a concise, witty approach, but you are different and so is your brand or agency. So, take this as a mere suggestion and nothing more.
7. Reporting and Analysis
A very important part of the process. Every organization is different with how they generate reports and who does this task. But typically this is included in a community manager’s day-to-day.
I’d rather have a one-sheet that hits me with the exact information I want than some five page sheet with a million graphs and charts that really don’t matter.
Clean, concise and direct tend to be three words I keep in my head when putting together a report.
8. Brand Industry Research
To know your brand(s) you need to a.) be passionate about them and b.) know them better than they know themselves. In your “off time,” research your industry.
Put together a list of credible industry blogs. Bottom line: try and have a document where all your research lives and you can go back and review.
Above are the basic community manager checklist items. These are things to review on a daily basis that reside on the executional side of the fence. Below are more advanced community manager checklist items that fall on the strategic side.
9. Strategic Brainstorming
This is where you lock yourself in a room (maybe one with a fuzzy carpet?) and hash out specific ideas that would be applicable to upcoming overall marketing pushes for your client.
Not to burst that creative bubble, but all of the ideas that are generated here need to be tied back to a specific overarching marketing initiative and must be measured in some kind of way.
10. Strategy Writing and Editing
Once the cool, hip strategic thinking part is completed it is time to grid things out and put them in order. I tend to think of this structure in this order: goal setting – brainstorm – idea pool – checks and balances – strategy – tactics – finished plan.
Coherency is the name of the game when putting a strategy plan together. Just be rational. Present it so it is to the point, effective and makes sense.
11. Influencer Responsibility
Isn’t this you getting verified on Twitter and being the king or queen of anything social or digital? Um, no. Influence comes in many different forms… a little blue checkmark does not “verify” your influence.
Just be: honest, insightful, respectful, responsive and passionate (but that should always be there!).
As a community manager you owe it to yourself to put your knowledge out there – if someone disagrees or doesn’t take your advice that’s completely cool.
Let me recap this list by saying that they are only suggestions. Everyone is different. Everyone works differently. And all brands and agencies are different. So, view the above as a skeleton model of what could possibly work well for you.