Expert Advice for Community Managers

Community Building

Managing a community is no joke. It’s a rapidly growing profession that’s becoming significantly important (and even necessary) as more brands and businesses find value in online communities. The most effective community managers are hands-on, empathetic, and problem-solvers. But of course, these aren’t the only things you need in order to succeed in the job.

When you’re a community manager handling hundreds of content and users everyday, it can feel like any nugget of advice from someone who’s been there is gold. Well at least it was that way for us when we first started the Beam Community.

In honor of all the hard-working Community Managers like us out there, we’ve decided to write about a few expert tips that will really help you thrive in the role. Keep reading to learn more!

Best engagement tactics

  • Recognize people who contribute to your community. Make sure you know and reward your biggest supporters, because they are instrumental in keeping your community active and vibrant.
  • Take advantage of gamification. Everyone loves a good competition—whether that’s with oneself or with others. Let your users feel positive emotions from completing quests, receiving badges, and designing their profiles.
  • Deal with troublemakers. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is to be silent and not give a clear explanation to your users, especially when they express frustration. Don’t let angry users ruin the feed. Instead, address the problem—your community will appreciate this.

Most important skills for a Community Manager

  • Be Creative. A lot of community managers prioritize cookie-cutter engagement strategies over being creative and taking chances. Don’t be afraid of an unsuccessful campaign! Most digital content only peak within a few hours after posting anyway, so you can always try again.
  • Authenticity is everything. Online communities are all about meaningful relationships and interactions. They are built on the desire to find people, connect with them, and exchange value. As a community manager, it’s important you embody that authenticity vs. being just a marketer.
  • Have a solutions-oriented mindset. Community Managers face tons of challenges everyday. Leadership isn’t about creating a problem-free work environment, but rather the ability to approach, manage, and overcome the inevitable bumps in the road.

Key community metrics to monitor regularly

  • Audience analytics. Looking at the number of new and active members, member visits, member activity, and member distribution will give you a preview on the state of your community as well as your web traffic. It will help you identify your growth, churn, and retention rates.
  • Member Subscriptions. Subscribers are likely your most loyal and most active users. The more this number grows, the more sustainable your community becomes—not only in terms of monetization, but also level of engagement.
  • Library Uploads. What kinds of resources are your users sharing? What topics are they interested in? What types of content are they looking for? Monitoring what your users are uploading will answer these questions.

How to deal with difficult members

  • Know when and when not to engage. In the digital world, those who show up reap all the benefits. If you don't, you forfeit your chance to recover disgruntled users. The exception, of course, is obvious trolling that's clearly intended to cause harm. Don’t compete in a fight you can’t win.
  • Take the conversation somewhere private. If the user is expressing a valid concern, direct messages tend to work best because it shows accountability, and it feels more personal and responsive. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to talk like actual human beings, without causing drama in front of the whole community.
  • Always refer to your community guidelines. More often than not, people don’t even realize that they’ve already violated your terms and guidelines, so always make this clear. Don’t make it personal. Explain the issue directly, relay the facts, and identify the next steps.

Best advice for new Community Managers

  • Experience is the best teacher. Learn by doing and experimenting. Don’t be afraid to try different tactics in your community and see what works for your audience, as well as what doesn’t.
  • Technology is your friend. Maximize all the community tools available to you. Use them to help you monitor your metrics, moderate content, brand your community, and more.  Of course, it’s always a plus when you have an amazing community software.
  • Protect your peace. Managing and moderating a community can definitely feel like an endless battle against an ever-growing pile of content. The internet can get toxic pretty fast, so make sure not to take things too personally, and maximize AI moderation to limit your exposure to high-risk content.

Have any other tips you want to share to fellow Community Managers? Leave them in the comments below!

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