Habits of Effective Community Managers

Community managers are responsible for promoting the well-being of online communities, where people meet in the digital world to discuss the things they care about.

Online communities are diverse, ranging in size from small sub-communities of only a handful of members to global social platforms like Facebook, with over 2 billion users. The interests they represent are equally as varied, bringing people together over a fascination with birds with arms and to connect men with beards through their unique beard profile.

Regardless of the size or nature of the community, an effective community manager (CM) can improve the community’s chances for success. Ultimately, the CM is responsible for establishing the ground rules for engagement and developing a relevant strategy, among other things.

It’s a huge amount of responsibility with several moving pieces, so it’s important for CMs to stay on top of their game. In order to effectively manage communities, here are a few habits to keep in mind.

Play on the team before becoming a coach. Highly effective CMs get their knowledge not just from managing their community, but by being a part of it. A video game CM doesn’t just post patch notes; they play the game on their own and can anticipate how those patch notes will be received. A CM for an airline knows exactly what excites and infuriates travelers, because they travel frequently, too.

It’s not just about understanding what makes people tick; it’s about genuinely sharing those passions with fellow community members day in and day out. CMs who are part of the community can walk the walk and talk the talk.

Keep your finger on the pulse. As CMs often plan and create social calendars, it’s important to stay up to date with new features and changes to the social platforms. As spokespeople for the community, it’s essential for a CM to be highly knowledgeable about what’s happening in the industry and stay on top of important trends. If a new game drops or a new flight route becomes available, the CM needs to know about it first.

Beware of news, fake or otherwise. Breaking news can greatly impact a community. It’s important to read headlines voraciously in order to stay relevant and sensitive to what’s happening in the world. At a time when the world is more connected than ever, news ranging from celebrity gossip to natural disasters to security crisis, travels fast. We can’t control global events, but being mindful of what’s happening around us and how it could impact the community is key.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The truth is, the news isn’t the only thing we can’t control. Communities are living and evolving spaces made up of unique individuals. While it’s possible to make smart predictions on how the community may react to a specific change or update, it’s important to have plans and preparations ready for any eventuality.

Show off your passion. The best CMs bring their passion to work. Fluent in internet slang, brand tone of voice, and niche jargon, a great CM knows how to communicate in a way that inspires. It is ultimately this ability to give passion and personality to a community that attracts new members and keeps them engaged. People may come because they’re interested in the topic, but they will stay for the way the community makes them feel.

Having created and managed myriad online communities, we know how a highly effective CM will take great care in making their gathering place a welcoming environment. Putting these five habits into daily use helps them to do just that.

For more tips and tricks, check out Habits of Effective Social Media Managers.

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