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Role of Community Managers in Achieving Business Objectives

Posted by Alwi Suleiman

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If you want your community to flourish, you must nurture it with passion and coordinate it with intentional, strategic actions.

That’s where a community manager comes in.

In this article we discuss

What is a community manager?

Simply put, a community manager is someone who acts as the bridge between an organization and the community it aims to create or nurture.

Sure, you can purchase community engagement software, add some handy features, and even use automation to welcome a new member, reply to the most common questions, and so on.

You can even use AI to do some really neat things for your community. However, the personal touch of a dedicated community manager who is looking out for their member’s best interests is irreplaceable.

Understanding what a community manager is and is not and what they do is vital for the strategic choices you make for your community. 

What’s even more important is knowing the value they bring to communities and how they contribute to the overall business objectives.

What is an Online Community Manager’s Role?

An online community manager does the same things a community manager in the offline world would do with some additional tasks due to the nature of the online experience (list not exhaustive):

  1. owns your organization’s online community
  2. aligns your community’s actions with your overall business goals
  3. sets the strategy to ensure those goals are met 
  4. sets, manages, and configures the online community platform
  5. motivates your community members to get involved and engaged
  6. sets guidelines and moderates discussions

 

If you are a small to medium organization then your community manager will probably do the day-to-day tasks down to the nitty-gritty. However, if you are a large organization, your community manager will be more involved in strategy, planning, supervising moderation teams, and programming.

What is the Difference Between an Online Community Manager and Social Media Manager?

You’ve probably seen job vacancies for social media managers with titles like “Looking for an Experienced Community Manager”. There may be an overlap in skillset but the two are like comparing apples to oranges. Let’s take a look at some main differences to keep in mind when talking to your (potential) community manager.

 

Online Community Manager Social Media Manager
Fosters an online community Manages an online audience
Creates engagement and builds relationships between members Creates strategic customized content for different social platforms
Ensures conversations lead to useful engagement and moderates them Ensures content is conceptualized to generate conversions and monitors brand sentiment
Directly engages a brand’s online community as themselves Interacts with a brand’s audience as the brand
Takes strategic actions based on a bottom-up approach Makes strategic decisions based on a top-down approach
Facilitate and crowdsource content Creates and sends content

How Online Community Managers Facilitate Achieving Business Objectives

Customer Retention Through Relevancy 

The internet keeps evolving and your organization needs to keep up the pace because it is not immune to change.With this come the changes in your client’s needs and the way they expect your products and services to be delivered.

Having a community manager who is committed to constantly communicating with your clients and community members ensures that your organization and your members talk through the changes together. Subsequently, any decision on how to update your offerings based on a wave of change will include feedback from your community members.

Such a bottom-up approach does not only ensure that members – your clients – feel appreciated and involved; it makes your organization relevant and facilitates customer retention.

Success Facilitated by the Human Factor

While most brands today are looking at efficiency with personalization through AI, bots, and the likes, one may argue that these tactics take away the human factor from the brand’s engagement with its customers.

When you think about it, people are social creatures and the best of everything comes through human interaction. No one is disputing the benefits of automation for personalization. However, nothing beats talking to another person who listens with a keen ear to your needs and takes action to fulfill those needs.

A great community manager with excellent communication skills, empathy, and a desire to help your community members thrive is priceless.

Whether your business objective is to increase revenue through upselling or introducing a new product, a community manager with the skillset we mentioned plays a vital role in your brand or organization’s success.

Measuring the Value of Your Community

In a previous article, we highlighted how measuring and proving the value of community is a challenge that continues to plague community teams.  We then discussed the steps required to measure community value.

The strategies and tools – mentioned in the previous article – that you can use to do so are quite effective. However, they would be rendered useless without the right type of community manager to spearhead them.

These strategies and tools are encompassed in the SPACES model that David Spinks, Founder of CMX, introduced in 2021.

In this article, we look at them from the perspective of execution by a community manager who is driven to measure the value of their community.

In order to get this right, you need to identify the metrics that support your business goals and objectives. Then, you need to identify the type of community manager who has the expertise and experience to run a community with activities that lead to achieving those goals and objectives. Finally, the community manager must be skilled enough to measure and present the relevant metrics that support those objectives and goals.

spaces model

S: Support

A community manager who has the knowledge and experience creating knowledge bases and creating expert resources for community members can boost customer and member support beyond just running a support forum.

Such activities can enrich the quality of metrics such as:

  1. Case deflection
  2. Active users
  3. Conversation engagement (posts, comments, DMs, etc.)
  4. Number or percentage of answered questions
  5. Reduced customer support calls

 

P: Product Ideation, Innovation & Feedback

Community managers in product-based communities can encourage and streamline the sharing of ideas and feedback. Subsequently, such collective insight will result in innovation and product improvements.

You can then use the following metrics to present community value to stakeholders:

  1. Product ideas
  2. Feature adoption
  3. New user-generated content
  4. Customer satisfaction
  5. Number of event attendees

 

A: Acquisition and Advocacy

Some community managers are experts in empowering members to become ambassadors and advocates of businesses and organizations.

It’s not always a case of creating advocates unless you are a new organization. Most companies already have these advocates. It’s the responsibility of the community manager to identify them and give them the tools to be successful.

If done right, this strategy can drive massive growth that can be measured by the following metrics:

  1. New customers
  2. New user/member signup
  3. Number of event attendees
  4. Active users
  5. Conversation engagement (posts, comments, DMs, etc.)

 

C: Content and Contribution

Community managers who are content experts too, run communities of content contributors; content that makes up the product or other assets.

Community managers who strategize distributed content models allow value to be created by the masses. It is the community manager’s responsibility to moderate and qualify/disqualify/ban content based on the perceived value or the lack thereof.

The most common metrics for content and contribution-based communities are:

  1. New user-generated content
  2. Active users
  3. Conversation engagement (posts, comments, DMs, etc.)
  4. New user/member signup
  5. Number of event attendees

 

E: Engagement 

A community manager who is a subject matter expert and a fan of the product the business produces is perfect for engagement communities. These types of communities bring together a group of people around a common interest that is related to a given brand or product; like Nike’s community of people who love running.

Community managers can spearhead a common sense of identity and belonging, followed by increases in customer spending.

The most common metrics for these types of communities are:

  1. Active engagement
  2. Conversation engagement (posts, comments, DMs, etc.)
  3. Number of event attendees
  4. New user-generated content
  5. New user/member signup

 

S: Success

Community managers can enable customer networks for sharing best practices and help them upskill their product usage.

In certain cases, they may even empower customers to become mentors and instructors.

Success is mostly measured by the following metrics:

  1. Active users
  2. New user/member signups
  3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  4. Customer retention
  5. Customer satisfaction

 

The role of the community manager in building and enhancing communities is paramount to the success of that community. Even more importantly, having the right type of community manager to achieve your business goals through the community is something your business needs to have.

Find out how to effectively build your online community. Download The Association Community Compendium – How to harness the collective power of your members.

Association Community Compendium

 

Download the Compendium

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