Are you an active or passive community manager? With organizations tightening their belts and employees wearing multiple hats you may ask who has the time to be a community manager. But if your role involves outreach of any kind (marketing, alumni work, membership, etc.) you can’t afford not to be. Writing a check, purchasing software and sitting back waiting for site visitors will not cultivate an active community. Active (management) begets an active community.
5 ways to succeed as a community manager:
- Repurpose press releases and any organizational news into a social media opportunity. Do not merely send your “news” to old-school media outlets. Send a micro-blog post out. Blog about the news, in a more casual tone or from a different angle. Post it in a “News” section on your site and link back to it from other websites or blogs. Add a link to your content in your eNewsletter. Capitalize on success. For instance, if your news involves a member of your organization receiving a prestigious award try to obtain an interview or a quote from that person and use it on your site (in a blog, as part of a tribute to him or her, you get the idea). When you have content ask yourself how else it can be used.
- Tell everyone what it is that you do. Part of being a community manager is getting people to come join your community. Just like you would’ve done in elementary school when trying to persuade the cool kids to come to your party, tell everyone about it. Put the site URL in your email signature. Use free social networking sites to drive people to your website. Talk about social media (in a generic sense) to anyone who will listen (and many will, because people have questions about this new-fangled technology). Maybe after you give them a crash course in Social Media 101 you can explain what it is that you do.
- Allude to things going on in your community. Yes, social media is all about transparency and inclusion but you also have to give your members reasons to choose your site above (or in addition to) others. To entice those who are thinking about joining, consider posting information (in a section visible to members and nonmembers) what topics your community is talking about. Make nonmembers feel like there’s a world of conversation and networking that is going on while they sit on the sidelines. The fear of missing out is a great motivator (you just have to make sure that you have the activity to hold them once they’ve decided to join).
- Offer content. As mentioned above, once the members are there you have to give them reason to login this means posting content as stoking conversation on a regular basis. Without new content, log-ons will drop off. Do your best to be consistent with your content upload. Can’t post on a daily basis – no problem. It’s more important for your members to know when new content will be posted than to make them guess. Posting once a week consistently is better than two posts a week that could pop up at any time. Don’t have time to rewrite content? Posting a few thoughtful comments or adding updates due to new stats or research can be equally effective. Bottom line – these folks are your guests. You want to feed them.
- Don’t go it alone. YourMembership.com’s software allows you to share admin responsibilities with as many people as makes sense for your organization. We even allow you to give those rights an expiration date. There is no reason you have to shoulder the burden of community building alone. Find people who understand your organization’s mission and enjoy social media and put them to work. Change your mind later? No problem, you can change admin rights as often as you like and it’s not an all or nothing situation. You can tailor exactly what each admin is able to do by extending rights accordingly. Plus admin seats are unlimited here at YourMembership.com so add as many as you like. We’ll even train them at no additional cost to you.
Community management is essential to your site’s success. Your initial investment of time and money (in software) will likely yield several interested onlookers but content and activity is what will keep them coming back. How do you plan to cultivate some buzz?