Jumping into the shark-infested waters as a Facebook community manager? If it is for an enterprise brand or highly active page, here are a few community manager tips to get you up and running quickly – without needing a shark cage to protect you from getting eaten alive.

These best practices can be a life saver, when it comes to time and energy.

It isn’t the fans that consume you – it’s the challenge of combining conservative approval processes with real-time marketing needs and staying proactive instead of reactive when the deluge hits. Keeping the flow of content going.

1. Cozy up to customer service. Much of Facebook activity centers around customer service related issues, so you’ll want to be prepared to answer the most common questions right out of the gate. Having the information at hand or resources to learn what you need is essential to a fast response.

Consider this:

  1. Reaching out to the customer service team to cultivate friendly internal contacts
  2. Obtaining the same internal training and documentation they use
  3. Looking at past Facebook page activity and give them a list of most common questions – if you can get their canned answers, you just saved yourself a ton of work compiling the same thing
  4. Putting together an interdepartmental team meeting to discuss content and marketing needs, along with potential crisis situations and how to handle them – then use it to create the first draft of your social media strategy and crisis plan.

(Smaller business? Put together a list of commonly asked questions your fans may ask, so you can start building a library document of “typical” responses. This can save you time and constantly typing the same thing.)

2. If your Facebook community represents an enterprise business or large brand, try to learn processes & protocols first, before you have full page responsibility. Learn what the existing process is to traffic image and content requests, obtain post approvals (where necessary) and any other related internal procedures and protocols that you should know. This will help you plan ahead and be more efficient.

(Smaller business? Decide on your approval processes, if any, and put a system in place to make the process fast and efficient. If no approvals are necessary, then you can skip a step! Whoohooooo! The next two steps apply to you, so read on.)

3. Create content bundles that allow time for pre-approvals. If you learn that protocol requires pre-approval of posts, schedule time each month to write enough posts in advance to cover 1-3 posts per day for the page, and start them through the approval process. Streamlining it into a single document makes the process faster.

At the same time, create a list of custom images you would like created (such as quotes or motivational sayings) and traffic them to the graphic designer to trigger that process.

If you REALLY want to be efficient, do this part first, so you have images for approval that can be bundled with your posts… all going through approvals together.

Doing this several weeks before you need them should allow time for approvals and revisions. It might even give you a little time to grab that coffee when the 2pm drag hits!

4. Pre-schedule what you can, so you have more time for live activity. Once your posts and images have gone through the appropriate approval channel, sit down and schedule them using Facebook’s activity log, HootSuite, Sprout Social or any other tools you use.

Automating some of the post activity frees time to respond to comments, like other pages to make your wall more interesting and boost sharable content, and jump down the rabbit hole for the more complicated customer service issues that need attention. It’s easy enough to remove or reschedule something if necessary, but at least you’ll have the maintenance activities out of the way.

Do you have any tricks or tactics that help you manage time and energy as a community manager? Share your brilliance in the comments!