Community management means becoming the face of a brand or company you represent. While being a community manager has its benefits and intrigue, community management also has obstacles.
Community management can be challenging because it requires unique skills and qualities. These include: fostering engagement, resolving conflicts, and upholding community guidelines. Some additional qualifications that community managers should possess are excellent communication, empathy, and problem-solving abilities.
This blog will help you understand community management through tools, resources, skills, challenges, and benefits that come with the territory. Let’s get started.
Understanding Community Management
A community manager is in charge of creating and taking care of online relationships between brands and their customers. They help people interact, solve problems, and make sure everyone follows the rules. By doing this, they build a good reputation and create a positive connection between the brand and its audience.
Community management is part of a brand’s marketing strategy, and community managers are within the marketing hub of a company. However, the knowledge of a community manager goes beyond marketing too. This role often requires extensive knowledge of the brand as a whole.
Community management knowledge usually includes the target audience, tone of voice, marketing strategy, key competitors, and product specs. Once a community manager is equipped with this information, they can analyze community management metrics to improve the brand’s performance.
Are Community Management and Social Media Management Different?
Community management is different than social media management. But the two can be used as part of the same strategy.
Community management focuses on nurturing relationships between the customer and the brand. However, social media management focuses solely on brand visibility, engagement, and communication.
A social media manager’s day-to-day tasks look a bit different than those of a community manager. Because while community managers are responsible for one platform, social media managers might have to juggle more.
For example, a social media manager is usually tasked with tracking engagement across various social media platforms. They also schedule posts and use the right hashtags for visibility.
All these social media-focused tasks are out of the jurisdiction of a community manager. Instead, community managers focus on nurturing and improving relationships between the brand as a whole, and the targeted demographics.
That said, combining the two makes for a strong strategy — and gives brands more reliable community analytics.
Challenges of Community Management
Being a community manager can be pretty awesome! You get to make new friends, connect with people, and be a problem-solving hero. But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There will be tough times through community management too.
The shoes of a community manager are hard to fill. To go into community management, you have to represent your brand, provide customer service, create in-community content, and settle disputes.
Stress might sneak up on you, especially when you have to deal with crisis management and settling conflicts. So let’s have a look at what challenges you can expect to face while managing a community.
Dealing with Diverse Personalities and Opinions
Working with a diverse community can be the highlight of this job! It brings together people with different backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives. This means you can learn so much from the audience and come up with creative solutions to problems. But sometimes, diverse opinions can lead to conflicts.
While conflicts arise throughout all kinds of community management, dealing with diverse personalities and opinions takes a specific approach. You have to be delicate with how you handle a community of people who come from various experiences and backgrounds.
If you disregard the fact that your community has several layers, you might accidentally upset one member while trying to make nice with another.
However, community management also gives you a chance to promote understanding and find common ground. So with the right set of problem-solving skills, you can guide everyone toward harmony and a more connected hub.
Furthermore, you can try diversity training to polish up your skills and offer better crisis management across diverse audiences.
Crisis Management and Handling Negative Feedback
Sometimes, your clientele might not have the most constructive feedback. As the community manager, it will be up to you to mitigate the negative criticisms and impact that this creates.
Fostering free expression is important in community management because it makes members feel more involved. But remember that such expressions should stay within the boundaries of respect and order.
If one or more members of your community have negative feedback about the brand, try to see the bigger picture. No one wants to hate a brand. Many people are out there looking for new services and products that can make their lives easier.
Remembering these people don’t come to you with malicious intent is the key to handling negative feedback and crisis response. You should lend a listening ear to every member who has complaints.
Having an empathetic approach can save you the headache of corporate fiascos, strengthening the bonds between customers and the brand.
Handling Stressful Situations
With so many hats to wear, community managers experience all kinds of stress throughout a work week. That’s why stress management is seen as one of the primary challenges of community management.
When you’re tasked to be in charge of a community, you also become the face of the brand. Of course, that doesn’t make you responsible for every issue that someone might have with the brand.
But it also doesn’t change the fact that people will approach you with several issues and in-community concerns. At the end of the day, you might find yourself dealing with more stress than you initially signed up for. This can be challenging if you can’t manage stressful situations.
One great tip for keeping your stress levels in check during community management is to see the bigger picture. You can do this by reminding yourself that the community members are individuals who have their own opinions.
Keep in mind that sometimes, people’s opinions will be hard to change. You will have to make difficult choices like giving community members a warning or removing them altogether. Such scenarios can be stressful to think of. But the ultimate object of the game is to foster harmony while maintaining a positive brand image.
Skills and Traits of Effective Community Managers
Anyone who scores a job interview can be well on their way to community management. But not all community managers are effective in what they do.
To excel at community management, you have to possess a certain set of skills and traits. These, when combined, will carry you to the top. Understanding what the position requires can also help you decide whether you should become a community manager or not.
The most in-demand skills and traits of community managers are:
- Excellent communication skills
- Empathy and emotional intelligence
- Problem-solving and conflict-resolution abilities
- Adaptability and flexibility in dynamic environments
- Strong organizational and analytical skills
- Knowledge of the platform and community dynamics
Therefore, you can expect your job in community management to call for all of these traits and then some. Be prepared to wear many hats throughout the day, and keep them on for as long as your community needs.
Measuring Your Success as a Community Manager
Community management can quickly become a numbers game when your employer wants to see analytics and performance graphics. But there are several ways of measuring success in community management jobs that go far beyond the traditional metrics.
First off, you might want to start with creating a community management plan that includes:
- Community building guidelines
- Content strategies
- Brand objectives
- Success measures.
Whether this plan is digital or in print, it will help you ensure success as a community manager. Once you have your community management plan, all you have to do is refer back to it. You can add analytics and tweak the brand strategy as you go.
The plan will also help you set reliable goals and milestones for a brand’s vision. This way, you can confer with others in your team about growth and success levels.
Learn from Your Peers
Another way of measuring your success as a community manager is to learn from your peers. There’s no shame in consulting others who have been in the game for longer than you. Learning from others means that you get to learn some extra tricks and take better control of a community.
Even if you haven’t secured your position in community management yet, you can ask around and join groups. Putting yourself out there can help you meet community managers who are willing to mentor the new generation. You could also sign up for classes, or intern at community management associations that need an extra hand. Finally, you could consider reaching out to a skilled corporate trainer who can take you on full-time or part-time.
After spending some time in the field, you will be able to get a better understanding of whether this role is good for you. Moreover, you will slowly learn what you can offer to future employers.
In short, community management is not without its challenges. The role comes with certain amounts of stress and requires many skills. But you should remember that no job is obstacle-free. If you feel that you’re capable of mitigating conflict, providing customer service, and creating quality content; then you’re halfway there.
Even if you’re new to the role, creating a community management plan will give you a blueprint. You can tweak this plan based on customer feedback and brand needs. Plus, you don’t need to tackle community management all on your own either.
Feel free to confer with your peers or other experienced specialists for guidance. It’ll help you deal with the stress better and learn some new things about the community management industry.