Back to Basics: Making 2014 a Stronger Year for Community Management

Tags: Anecdotal, Engagement, Online Communities

The role of community manager is a growing one that requires near-constant innovation and skill in various disciplines. As the New Year begins and resolutions are being made, I decided it would be a great time to get back to the basics to ensure that 2014 is a solid year for community management here at KLC. In my search for new resources on the old cornerstones, I watched a webinar published in November 2013 by Dennis Shiao, Director of Product Marketing at DNN Corp. Thankfully, nothing here was news to me, but Dennis’s tips serve as useful reminders when improvisation—an essential trait for any community manager—starts leading you too far off the beaten path.

-Use creative ways to find a solution to an issue. Community managers must always be prepared for whatever problems may arise. They may run into a member who is angry and combative or who may be posting aggressive comments within a community. Instead of removing or “unsubscribing” this person, a better idea is to send a personal message or email to the member and ask them what they would like to see out of their community. Instead of giving up on the member and taking the easy route of deactivation, going a step further and reaching out could yield more positive results. The member may suggest an amazing idea to engage more members that hadn’t been discussed previously.

-Have your eyes and ears open. Community managers regularly check on their community to ensure that it is thriving and that conversations are taking place. It is important to notice and respond to any trends that may come up in certain conversations. For example, if community members are asked about a new electronic device, but they keep mentioning a different brand that makes the same device, it is clear that something deeper is what it is about that brand that your members are drawn to.

-Be unconventional and stand out. How can you ensure that your work stands out and is acknowledged? I asked myself that same question last year when I was tasked with finding a new format for writing monthly community reports. I decided that, due to my background in journalism, I would try a newsletter design instead of the typical Microsoft Word one-pager. After numerous experiments and employing different fonts, headers, and layouts, I created an unconventional template that my clients embraced. Had I not experimented, not only would I have missed an opportunity to use my creativity but I would have never found that particular solution.

These three guidelines stood out to me the most, but all of Shiao’s tips are worth reading/watching. What traits do you have or do you aspire to utilize in 2014 to make this an effective year for community management?

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