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Keeping Up With Community

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Social media is an ever-shifting industry. There are always new headlines in the news, tools that solve a problem we didn’t know existed, case studies developing everyday and new interest community platforms forming daily. As a community manager it is your job to keep up with not only your community, but all communities as a whole.

Participation in all Forms
Every good community manager should know how to engage and participate across all mediums of social media. While it’s not necessarily a requirement that community managers be an expert in both Slideshare and Facebook, an understanding of the various platforms and its uses will help a community manager engage more thoughtfully within their respected communities.

While still remaining authentic to their current interests, a community manager should join communities so that they can understand how the community functions as a whole, what mannerisms the communities exhibit and how the community platform ethically behaves. In order to truly gain an understanding for each community platform, a community manager should interact with these communities regularly.

Keep up with Facebook and Twitter Brands

In the same vein as actively participating in communities online, it is a good idea to watch what other community managers and brands are doing in the social space. Usually the largest social media successes will show up on sites like Mashable, but it tends to be the unnoticed status updates that teach us the most about a community.

For Twitter, browse through the Who to Follow directory by interest to find companies and brands that are currently using Twitter as a social media outlet. Once you have selected a few accounts that are doing it right (or wrong) compile them into a private Twitter list that you can reference throughout the day. Referencing these accounts to see how users react to content, how brands respond to customer service requests and how often a company updates can effect how you operate within your own community.

Facebook is another excellent venue for monitoring competitors and like-minded social brands. Currently, there are 355 brands on Facebook that I have “liked”.  These brands range anywhere from from Barbie to Duck Tape. All of these brands are sorted in a private list within my Facebook profile. It’s here that I see social media examples and case studies developing in realtime.

Try the Tools
Tools are meant to be your friend, your best friend in fact. They are there to help you, support you and make your daily activities easier. By keeping up with the latest tools available, you can use your time efficiently. Sites like OneForty (an application and tool directory for Twitter) can help community managers find tools to manage followers, archive conversations and even provide in-depth analytics. A general awareness of the tools that are currently available can come in handy when the brand you manage asks for lists of all of the Twitter followers with “beanie babies” in the bio (Refollow is a tool that does this exact task).

Keeping up with the fast paced world of social media is a job in itself, but immersing yourself in a few select areas in addition to your community can be beneficial in the long run. As a community manager, how do you stay up on current trends, tools and social programs?

— Suzanne Marlatt

As the Community Manager for Edelman Digital Suzanne re-launched the Edelman Digital website in March 2010. Since then she has established a presence on 5 large social communities and manages the EdelmanDigital.com community and content daily. Prior to Edelman, Suzanne worked for Sittercity.com, a website for connecting care providers to care seekers, as their Social Media and Marketing Manager. When she’s not tweeting or Facebooking you can usually find Suzanne with her two dogs, Hannity and Opie. You can find her on Twitter @edelmandigital

Image Credit: Nerea Marta

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