The Future of Community Management

Tags: Engagement, Online Communities, Social Media

As the field of community management continues to grow, we are seeing technological and digital advancements that allow us to deepen our reach to more and more people. Because of this, it is important to remember that community management is about people and user experience, rather than just the number of people who “like” or retweet something. Writer Meghan Peters of Mashable has come up with a new mission statement that all community managers can benefit from and details what actions to take to ensure we remember the most important aspect of our job: to focus on the people within our communities’ needs.

While the idea of offering incentives and rewards to community members that participate is a great way to increase numbers, these members may not stick around for the long run. Peters claims, “People want to do things that matter. They have a desire to be a part of something with a larger purpose. If our goal as community managers is to acquire not just users but vested users, we need to harness our audience’s drive to do things for their own sake.” We need to make sure our members feel that what they are doing is important and has the potential to make a change in the way processes are done. Merely trying to get 1,000 “likes” per day is not enough.

Peters goes on to talk about the importance of user experience and why community managers must always think about the way people view and use their brand. If our job as community managers is to make users think our brand is superior and awesome, then the product needs to actually be awesome and provide a benefit to users. Since community managers don’t actually create the product, Peters suggests steps to take to help members reach their goals, such as turning user feedback that they give you into actions, understanding your audience, and sharing content with them that is valuable and useful.

It is also essential to communicate properly across digital channels to your users. According to Peters, “Speaking the same language as your audience requires stepping outside the community manager bubble, where you’re living and breathing social media.” We don’t want to sound condescending or robotic; we want to sound relatable to our audience. This means backing off using buzzwords, such as “meme”, “viral” or “engagement.”

Lastly, as community managers, we must find out what motivates our members and what will inspire them to keep coming back and make it worth their time.  In addition to properly communicating with our members, we must also be aware of how we communicate with our colleagues internally. If we want to be seen as a necessity to the company, we need to remember to be enthusiastic about the insights we gleam and explain our findings in a way that makes sense to others. Peters concludes, “It’s your responsibility to make your community a better part of the Internet than where they started.” Let’s reflect on Peters’ advice to make our communities the best that they can be, and instead of focusing on the quantity of retweets and “likes”, let’s focus on the quality of members’ words.


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