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ModSquad’s Key Traits of Excellent Community Managers

At ModSquad, our Community Managers embed themselves in an array of industries and brands, each with its own audience, needs, and goals. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for community management, there are several essential qualities that make for an excellent Community Manager (CM).

Be genuinely passionate, and show it. The best CMs know just how to connect with their specific audience. They share the same interests as those in their community, understanding their excitements and frustrations, because they have felt them too. You best believe the CMs for any given video game are active players themselves, and that the moderators on r/crochet are no strangers to yarn and hooks. Being able to relate to you as a CM not only builds trust but keeps people coming back to engage.

Learn through observation. Community management isn’t about reinventing the wheel; it’s about finding and connecting with your specific audience. Start by taking a look around: what are other communities doing that works? That doesn’t work? Spend time observing, researching and learning from other successful communities, and from there, build a strategy that’s tailored to fit your community’s needs.

Guide by example. As the leader of a community, it’s the CM’s responsibility to model the behavior they want to see from members. Want people to be positive and supportive of their fellow members? Exude that positivity yourself, even when discussions get heated. When trolls inevitably rear their heads (yes, it happens in every community), don’t let them get under your skin. As the leader of your community, your actions set the norms. “Treat others the way you want to be treated” has never held more true than when setting expectations for your digital community.

Keep calm and carry on. Even in the moments when every user has raised their pitchforks, a it’s important to remain cool and collected. A good CM doesn’t take negative comments personally or get frazzled by competing priorities. They stay collected and work diligently to moderate fairly, manage each request, and keep the peace.

Always be ready for action. From social media and forums to in-game chats, digital communities are 24/7, meaning issues can arise at any time. That’s not to say that you can’t be a successful CM and make commitments outside of work. What it does mean is ensuring plans and processes are set up ahead of time to ensure your community is being monitored when you aren’t around.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. If you’re looking for predictability, online communities probably aren’t a good place to start. They are living and evolving spaces made up of unique individuals, and while a deep familiarity with your audience can help you anticipate trends, there’s always the chance something will send you scrambling. When surprises happen, for better or for worse, it’s important to establish escalation paths and protocols to ensure things are handled efficiently.

Be curious. There’s no better place to learn about your community’s needs than from the community itself. Start by asking questions and familiarizing yourself with what makes the community tick. You don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room, but showing a vested interest in and excitement for the community will go a long way. Curiosity didn’t kill this cat!

Find your champions. Strong online communities are built from engaged, empowered users who feel like they’re part of something. These folks are the most active, the most engaged, the most informed, and they’re every community managers’ best friend. They’re often a wealth of information and an excellent resource for learning more about the community’s history, frustrations, or ideas for the future.

As we collaborate with clients on many digital communities, ModSquad’s own CMs strive to make these spaces safe, welcoming, and engaging hubs for their users. Making these eight tips a part of their routine ensures a successful community for all.

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