Community, Common Room
It probably comes as no surprise that the people running a community greatly impact its success. In the early stages, a community team is often small—or even a single scrappy community leader making it all happen—and it’s normal to take a wear-many-hats approach to community management. But as your community grows, your team will likely grow alongside it. Eventually, it makes sense for each team member to lean into specialization and drive growth in specific areas.
A great example of this is the division of two impactful roles: community operations manager and community manager. You can read more about community ops managers here, but today, we’re going to dive deeper into the community manager role.
A community manager provides hands-on moderation within the community. Think of them as the first line of defense as they field questions, welcome new members, facilitate conversations, and more.
Below we cover the community manager’s:
The role of a community manager (CM) can look very different from one organization to the next, especially when you factor in the makeup of the community team, the size of the community itself, and overarching business objectives. However, they usually share some common objectives.
These often include:
Community managers are here to ensure members find value in the community—whether that’s through networking, knowledge sharing, or something else—in a safe and engaging environment. These goals are key to ongoing and sustainable community growth. And a thriving community is the core of a community-led growth strategy, in which user acquisition, customer retention, and business growth are driven by a carefully cultivated community of end users and thought leaders.
You might also like: What your community metrics and analytics are telling you.
The list of a community manager’s responsibilities is a long one, but for those willing to take on the challenge, it’s also a fun, rewarding, and creative role.
While this is not a comprehensive list, here are some examples of a community manager’s daily tasks:
These daily tasks feed into the longer-term responsibilities of a community manager, like:
A growing community is an ever-evolving, fast-paced entity with hundreds of moving pieces. Challenges are inevitable, but awareness and intentional planning can help lessen their impact.
Common challenges community managers face include:
Want to exchange tips for tackling these challenges with other community professionals? Join the conversation with 1500+ of your peers in the Uncommon Community.
Community-led growth is a relatively new go-to-market strategy, and the digital landscape is constantly changing. It can seem like the Wild West, and community managers have to contend with many internal and external factors over the course of their duties.
As you can see, community managers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks, and many get started without any background in community management. Their soft skills, like communication, strategic planning and execution, adaptability, and comfort level with diving into the unknown, will significantly impact their success.
On a more personal note, managing a community can be stressful, especially when a community manager is called in for conflict resolution or crisis management. They are the manager in a “can I speak to the manager” moment, and members rely on them to maintain the integrity of the space in a calm, fair, and decisive manner.
To effectively manage and grow a digital community, community managers need to understand two things about the community itself. The first is who their members are (or who they want to recruit) and exactly what they want or need.
They must also be familiar with online community dynamics, etiquette, and moderation techniques. A Discord server isn’t an old-school networking happy hour, and community managers should know what the digital version of a firm handshake looks like.
A successful community requires strong cross-functional collaboration and project management. As we mentioned above, it’s common that leadership and other stakeholders have a limited understanding of a community’s true potential or scope of work. As a result, they may prioritize other initiatives.
Without their buy-in, community managers struggle to get the resources and staffing that they need, as well as SME collaboration on content production and end-user support. To effectively communicate with and motivate these stakeholders, CMs need a strong understanding of the business’s goals and must be able to demonstrate return on investment.
One of the most challenging elements of community building is analytics. While most understand that strategic decisions should be based on real-world data, getting a hold of it is another story. Community managers often gather and sift manually through data from disparate sources, identify and track useful KPIs based on that limited data, and then morph those into insights that guide future decisions.
To make their job easier, CMs are increasingly seeking out intelligent tooling to centralize all activity into one comprehensive platform that surfaces trends, common questions, product champions, shifts in sentiment, and more. Ideally, the tool will also be able to automate workflows and customize reporting and notifications to help community managers optimize their efforts.
Learn more in: How to evaluate community growth platforms.
Common Room helps community managers get real-time visibility into community activity, easily track KPIs, and automate workflows. Our platform provides a 360-degree view of each individual member’s activity, within the community, across social media, over in the company’s CRM, and beyond.
Having the ability to look at community activity on a granular level and with a wider lens is invaluable to a community manager. Common Room can flag an at-risk end-user who may cancel soon, monitor community sentiment, and provide context around a lead’s interests. This level of information empowers community managers to support organization-wide goals, from sales and customer service to product development.
To learn more about how an intelligent community growth platform can transform a community manager’s workload and optimize their efforts, check out How to get started with a community-led growth platform.