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Due to its newness in our business lexicon, "online community management" is a term that is often met by feelings of confusion. Most business people don't have much experience with social network community strategies.

Research often reports online community strategies amongst the most effective marketing and customer relationship strategies, while it is also one of the most underutilized approaches.

However, with proper resource planning, learning how to launch, plan, and grow your online community doesn’t have to be so scary.

So, take a deep breath and read on. It’s really just like learning anything else in business. It's a process with best practices and tips to make it easy.

The Online Community Blueprint

Crea8socialPro is on a mission to provide helpful resources to conversations around online community/social network management and execution. We are constantly looking for new ways to reach people with easy-to-understand tips.

This publication takes readers from the mere thought of an online community all the way to launch. It discusses advice for online business owners and executives that are new to community-building strategies. I’ve outlined some of the takeaways below.

What Does it Mean to Manage an Online Community?

The role of an online community manager is often cloudy, especially in communities that are just getting started. However, defining this role is one of the first steps to leading a successful social network.

A community manager is:

A Content Manager: They keep track of a large content calendar that includes everything from blog posts to videos to comments. They are constantly looking to create new and relevant content, while also highlighting the content of other members and valuable information generated by the industry at large.

Data Analyst: They keep track of important metrics around your members and their behavior. They scan data points across the online community to see what is and isn’t working in order to make adjustments.

Copy Writer and Moderator: They create original content and keep an eye out for inaccurate content. They are checking their own work, as well as any contributors of the community. Making sure that all of the content makes sense to its viewers.

Technical Support: Depending on your products and services, your community managers may have to take a page or two from the support team. Customers/members may ask questions in the community around the more technical uses of your products. It is often community managers’ responsibility to field those questions or find someone that can.

The best community managers are very successful multi-taskers. The role will shift depending on the community type (customers, prospects, partners, etc.), the community maturity, and your company’s online community strategy.

Defining community management is just the start. Once you have defined the role of your online community manager, you’re on your way to creating an active customer community. However, if you’re new to leveraging your community to grow your business, stay tuned for our next blog post.