During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until Santa comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!
Okay, so today’s title doesn’t necessarily roll of the tongue…but I think we need to give it up for the topic: Community Management. Community managers have one of the most difficult jobs in the new media world, in my opinion, and they often go unrecognized for the long hours they put in. If your blog or business is a one-man (or woman) show, you’ll need to wear the community management hat from time to time, and trust me; it isn’t an easy job to do. So today, I’ve collected some posts some helpful posts to get you started.
Oh, and by the way – she’s super modest about it, but our own Deb Ng recently published Online Community Management for Dummies, which you should totally check out!
Post too long? Head to the Quick Links section for just a list of the links included in this post without all the analysis and quotes!
1. What’s a Community Worth? by Ilana Rabinowitz at Social Media Explorer
Before we even start talking about community management, we have to first understand community. Ilana’s post is a great place to start, because she writes about why community is a vital part of your success online. Think your blog/business will be fine without a community? Think again – the community is the powerful, strong backbone of your brand, and when you need them, they’ll be there for you – if you’ve build something worthy of their support. Writes Ilana,
As business people, we tend to think about our connections as an audience, but if we want to be social, that won’t be enough. We need to build a community to assure the long-term health of our business. Businesses, like people, need to nurture relationships in the context of a community. It can make the difference between success and failure when you need it most.
2. The Anatomy of a Community Manager by Adi Gaskell at AdiGaskell.com
This post goes over all of the important qualities you need to successfully manage a community. Some are common sense (for example, you have to be a good listener, of course), but others might surprise you. Are you able to focus on output over input? Do you have “political” influence? Do you challenge the status quo? These, and other skills Adi lists, are all important to be a successful community manager, whether you’re managing the community of your blog or the community of a multi-million dollar international business. From the post:
Community managers often have to be all things to all people. They’re required to have good technical skills, strong emotional capabilities with an encyclopedic knowledge of their subject area.
After reading the rest of Adi’s post, you can find him on Twitter @adigaskell. He writes for a number of other social media related blogs, including Social Media Today, Technorati, and Social Business News.
3. Engaged Community is a Healthy Community – Best Practices in Internal Social Networking by Maria Ogneva at Social Media Today
Maria is the head of community at Yammer, and her experience in this area shows in this post! If you’re considering building a community from the ground up, this is a great resource of tips to help you get started. I especially love Maria’s WIIFM tip. People always want to know, “What’s In It For Me?” and if you want them to continue being a member of your community, you have to make that question easy to answer. Otherwise, your community runs the risk of simply dying before it even begins. In this post, Maria writes,
“How do I ensure continued engagement in this network? How do I get people to come back and participate?” I think this is a key question to ask yourself, and if you can formulate a plan of action prior to rolling out the community, you will certainly be setting yourself up for success.
4. The Discomfort of Becoming a “Public Person” by Emilie Wapnick at Puttylike
Before we go a step farther talking about community, I think this is an important post to review. Although it’s not about a traditional community management topic, it is a topic that community managers need to consider. When you take on this role, you become a very public online personality, and that’s not something easy to handle, even if you’re an outgoing person. Community managers need to always do what is best for their communities, even if that means being a bit uncomfortable at times. Writes Emilie,
When you’re faced with a choice between preserving your ego and doing what’s best for your cause, choose the latter. Don’t let fear be the thing that decides your actions. Put yourself out there, allow yourself to be momentarily embarrassed, and then move on.
You can find Emilie on Twitter @emiliewapnick and like her blog on Facebook to stay connected. She recently launched Renaissance Business, a book about combining your interests to create a viable business, rather than choosing just one niche.
5. Are You Really Talking To Your Prospect? by Francisco Rosales at Social Mouths
Do you know the members of your community? I don’t necessarily mean individually, but do you know the average type of person who is a member of your community? Or, more importantly, do you know the type of person you want to be a member of your community? Until you define your community, it’s hard to connect with them through blog posts, social media, or any other means of communication. In this post, Fransisco talks about how to focus on reaching your community members, why you should ignore some people, and more. He writes,
Put all your knowledge, talent and experience together and deliver it to the people that needs it. If somebody says “I already knew that” then that person is not your target.
Producing content for the wrong audience is very time consuming and leads you to no sales.
You can find Francisco on Twitter @socialmouths and add him to your Google+ circles to read more from him.
6. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Community Manager by Dave Cayem at Cayem.com
Reading this clever year-end post is a great way to ensure that you start 2012 off on the right foot as a community manager. I especially like Dave’s tip about measurement. Yes, your community efforts can be measured. A lot of community managers avoid measurement tools like the plague, but I think those who do strive to keep track of community data are the best in the business. Dave also gives some other great tips on community management as well. He writes,
2012 is nearly here, and lots of people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. It’s also a great time for community managers to think about what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve.
7. How to Select Moderators and Staff Members on an Established Online Community by Patrick O’Keefe from Managing Communities
You’ll be hard pressed to find a post on Managing Communities that isn’t worth reading if you’re interested in learning more about online community management. I’m picking this post to highlight because it covers an important topic that isn’t touched on by the other community posts on this list – you’re likely going to need help. As your community grows, it is important to hire the right people to help you manage it, and often these people come from the community itself. This post gives you the step-by-step process to ensure that the people you choose to help you are going to keep the happy community ball rolling. Writes Patrick,
Your staff can be a vital part of your community, can help you to cover more and do a better job of maintaining the standards that you set for your community. The members of your staff will change, just like your friends in high school, your coworkers at an office or the neighbors on your block. From time to time, you will look to bring new members on board.
After checking out Patrick’s tips, you can follow him on Twitter @ifroggy or follow the blog’s Twitter stream @managecommunity. Patrick is the founder of the iFroggy Network and co-hosts the SitePoint Podcast.
BONUS: Free Online Community Management Resources On The Web by Richard Millington at FeverBee
Holy. Cannoli. If you’re looking for online community management advice, this is a one-stop shop. Not only does Richard run a great community management blog with tons of advice to check out, but this post links to dozens of great resources for community managers, including other community management blogs, published papers about community, and ebooks/reports about community management. Oh yeah, and it’s all free. Seriously, check out this blog post now.
(Richard is the founder of The Pillar Summit, an exclusive course in Professional Community Management and the the author of the Online Community Manifesto. You can find him on Twitter @richmillington.)
For those of you short on time, here’s a list of the links covered in this post:
- What’s a Community Worth? by Ilana Rabinowitz (@ilana221)
- The Anatomy of a Community Manager by Adi Gaskell (@adigaskell)
- Engaged Community is a Healthy Community – Best Practices in Internal Social Networking by Maria Ogneva (@themaria)
- The Discomfort of Becoming a “Public Person” by Emilie Wapnick (@emiliewapnick)
- Are You Really Talking To Your Prospect? by Francisco Rosales (@socialmouths)
- 5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Community Manager by Dave Cayem (@DaveCayem)
- How to Select Moderators and Staff Members on an Established Online Community by Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy)
BONUS: Free Online Community Management Resources On The Web by Richard Millington (@richmillington)
Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:
12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing (this post)
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here , and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (community management), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!