When I first joined the EOFire team, community management was something I was automatically drawn to.
How to be a great community manager
Interacting and engaging with our audience and community helped me understand them better, serve them better, and in turn, create better content for them.
And while I may not have realized it at the time, all that interacting and engaging is what has actually helped me become a great community manager today.
Being a great community manager
So what does being a great community manager look like exactly?
Well, for me being a great community manager means that you:
- Know what your community wants and needs (their biggest pain points);
- Understand how your community wants to communicate with you (and with the other community members);
- Proactively creating solutions to the problems your community is experiencing (and expressing to you – both verbally and non-verbally);
- Create a platform for your community to come together and connect on; and
- Continuously serve them with ridiculously awesome customer care.
Okay, that stuff all sounds great… but how do you actually become a great community manager if you’re starting from scratch, or if you haven’t really managed a community before?
Steps for becoming a great community manager
This post is going to share exactly how you – or someone on your team – can become the greatest community manager your business has ever seen by following a specific set of steps… a process, really.
This specific set of steps, when completed over time and continuously, will help you rock your community management like you never thought possible.
1. Know what your community wants and needs
The first step to becoming a great community manager requires that you know intimately what your community wants and needs.
Who is your perfect customer (or avatar)?
What are their biggest pain points, and what knowledge and expertise do you have that you can share with them to help solve those pain points?
When I first joined the EOFire team, I replied to every single individual who signed up for our email list, and I just asked them: “What’s one thing you’re struggling with right now?”
When I would engage with our audience on social media – on our pages and in the online communities that I had searched for and joined in our industry and niche – I would listen to the questions they were asking, and look for recurring themes across different groups.
When I would attend an in-person meet up or mixer, I would introduce myself to someone and then try and figure out what it is they needed in their business the most at that exact moment in time.
All these different ways I was communicating with our audience helped me get to know exactly what they wanted and needed.
(And yes, sometimes I found myself talking with people who weren’t our audience members, and that’s okay – you won’t always just stumble upon your audience – sometimes you really have to search.)
2. Understand how your community wants to communicate with you
You need to meet your audience where they are, because if you want them to stick around, you’ve gotta make it easy for them to engage with you and consume your content.
An example: if you’re hanging out on LinkedIn and sharing your content there and getting super frustrated because no one is commenting or liking your posts – let alone engaging in conversation with you – then perhaps that’s not how you community wants to communicate with you.
Where are they, what do they enjoy doing, and how can you assume they’d want to communicate with you given that information?
This might not always be a literal situation – it might be you saying: ok, my perfect customer lives in New York City and rides the train to and from work every morning. After they get off work, they head to Central Park to go for a jog. Then, they jet home, get ready, and it’s off to their favorite restaurant.
Sounds like your perfect customer is pretty active – busy, even. They probably aren’t spending a TON of time on social media, but maybe they are a really visual person, so they do occasionally check out Instagram on their train rides. If that’s the case, then you need to meet your perfect customer on Instagram – not LinkedIn.
3. Proactively create solutions to the problems your community is experiencing
Your audience isn’t always going to come to you and say “yes, this is exactly what I need, and this is what I want it to look like.”
Sometimes what they want – heck, they don’t even really know!
That’s why you have to be really keen on picking up the hints they’re leaving you – this might be a question they’ve asked (directly or indirectly), a conversation they’re having with someone else in a Facebook Group, or even a story they’re sharing that expresses a struggle or roadblock.
When you can proactively create solutions to the problems your community is experiencing, they’ll love you for it!
An example: we were hearing in our Facebook Group for our Podcasters’ Paradise community that a lot of people were struggling to get to that “next step” with their podcast. It might be their launch, growing their podcast, or figuring out how they were going to make their first $1.
Our proactive solution: the Accountability Match Maker Program.
That’s what the questions and conversations and struggles were pointing towards! People need someone else to hold them accountable – to help make sure they DO get to that next step with their podcast.
The community didn’t come out and ask us to start matching people up – we created it based on the struggles we were hearing.
4. Create a platform for your community to come together on
One of the most popular mediums for this right now – for creating a space for your community to come together in – is a Private Facebook Group.
We’ve created Forums, we have comments enabled on our blog, and we have company pages on most – if not all – of the social media platforms.
Hands down, the most popular and engaged space for our community, is our Private Facebook Groups. We have 1 for each of our communities, so a total of 3, and hands down our members site the community – the Facebook Group – as the #1 benefit of being a member.
Why is this so popular?
We, as humans, want to be surrounded by others. We thrive on community. We don’t want to be the only ones doing something unknown.
Essentially, we don’t want to be alone.
If you can be the one to create a platform for your community to come together on – whether it be a Private Facebook Group, monthly in person meet ups, mixers at the different conferences you attend, or all of these – then your community will LOVE you for it.
Connection is hard to come by when you’re an entrepreneur, and surrounding yourself with like-minded people who understand what it is you’re going through and who can help support you on your journey is one of the most important things you can have.
5. Continuously serve them with ridiculously awesome customer care
Bottom line: if you’re not there for your community, then you won’t have a community for long.
Whether it means spending an extra hour per day in order to respond to all of your emails, or setting aside 30 minutes every morning when you can jump into your Private Facebook Group and answer questions, continuously serving your audience – letting them know you care enough to be there for them – is what will keep them around (and really happy).
People ask John and I how on earth we’ve created this community, Fire Nation. It’s because we care about what they care about, and we’re always here for them.
Every email gets answered.
This might not be in line with your philosophy or mission – and that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be. But I stand by this: our connection with our community being as strong as it is because we stop at nothing to always be there for them.
If you don’t get a ton of emails, and you don’t have a Private Facebook Group, then perhaps you have other ways you’re serving your audience – maybe that’s through a podcast, a blog, a YouTube channel.
Regardless of the medium or the ways in which you’re serving your audience, always be consistent.
Consistency will help your audience get to know you, it will build trust, likability, and momentum, and it will help you grow your audience over time.
Bonus: How to create and manage an engaged Facebook Group
There’s a lot of hype about creating a Private Facebook Group these days.
Whether it’s an “open group” for your entire community, a “closed group” so that you can select / approve the members within, or a “private group” that’s super secret to the rest of the world, Facebook Groups are a powerful place for nurturing a community.
Okay, got it – so how do I create and manage one?
I get this question a lot, and so I put together a guide that walks through all the steps, including:
- How to decide: open, closed or private
- How to create your Group Guidelines (and get people to agree to them)
- Tips for starting with strong group engagement
- Strategies you can use for continuing that strong engagement
- Best practices for moderating your group
- How to find a Facebook Group to join if you don’t want to start one yourself
Ready to learn how to create and manage an engaged Facebook Group?
Sweet! Just click here (or the button below) and you’ll have your free download in no time!
You can also check out the chat I had with Rich Brooks of The Agents of Change Podcast about this topic as well! Listen in to that episode right here :)