We’ve already established how critical it is to build an effective community around your brand and products. It’s the best tool we’ve got for meeting the diverse demands of modern marketing. Building a community and engaging personably with your users is the only way to go where they are and transcend the traditional boundaries between business and customer.
To build and maintain a good community, you’ll need a good community manager. Fantastic, where are you supposed to find one of those? Well, there are lots of ways to go about it. You could hire someone in house – an expert who will take on the job full time. You could also outsource the work to companies like Emissary Guild for the benefits of a well-established team of professionals with the resources of an entire organization at their disposal. If you delegate other tasks properly, you could even tackle some community building yourself, writing personal blog posts and communicating directly with users.
But, odds are that last option isn’t going to be very efficient in the long run. CEOs and higher-ups usually have their hands full making bigger decisions that trickle down to other departments rather than taking control of one aspect entirely themselves. So, how do you find the right person or team to build and manage your community?
Get a recommendation! – The best way to get someone you can trust is to network with others and get their recommendations. As long as you aren’t in direct competition, try to figure out how they went about building and organizing a community that successfully retained customers and helped expand their brands. Make sure that whoever you turn to for community management is somewhat aligned with what you’ve heard from others.
Now, what should you look for in a community manager? Let’s not forget how important it is to get this all right. As you’re basically looking for someone to do a job for you, you’ll want your community manager to have qualities similar to those of any other new employee you might hire.
- Understands the need for community
- Has experience with this type of outreach and
- Works with similar values to yours
Managing a community is something like sending a PR manager out to face the prying questions of the media. If they don’t understand the importance of what they do and if they don’t have the right experience to do it, they’ll be lucky not to fail. But failure can be learned from at least. Its values are the most important. If your community manager doesn’t believe in what you do, they could drag down the entire project.
That being said, managing a community is a highly personalized affair. Even the best experts can only form an initial strategy based on experience. Once the work begins, it’s a work in progress that requires constant reevaluation and incessant tweaking. Be sure you’re community manager is ready to take that on.