4 Tools to Help Community Managers Succeed

I had an interesting conversation with a social media community manager recently. She's in a challenging situation. She works for a property management company, and each property has a social media presence and a local community manager. The company also uses it's social media sites to pass information to its tenants, and to have conversations with them. It's an interesting mix of local social media conversation management and information dissemination. Information flows from the business down, from the property management company to it's tenants while conversations bubble up from tenant questions. Managing this, and coordinating it with local community managers presents a big challenge for the corporate social media manager. The main issues are getting the right information out, and making sure appropriate responses happen, in a timely and responsible way so that communities are properly managed, and corporate guidelines are followed. In this article, I show you four tools you can use to help community managers, and they key to success in community management. 

Organizations want employees to be brand advocates.


It's really the same challenge faced by businesses that want their employees to become an integral part of the social media team. The more common phrasing we hear is, "how do I make my internal thought leaders external thought leaders, and empower my people to become brand advocates."

People who are asked to join the social media team face many challenges. So does the organization that hopes to leverage them. From the people perspective, some may be less experienced, or less comfortable interacting on social media. They might need help just learning the social media platforms, writing content, or knowing when and how to respond to community events. From the organization perspective, the people interacting on their behalf need to represent the brand, and nurture their community. They want their community managers to be responsive, and to make the community feel well loved, but they also need to respond appropriately to avoid legal issues, and maintain the brand's values and image.

4 tools to help your community management and content team.

At the organization level, the social media team leads need to be trained so that they can put the following infrastructure in place:

  1. Clear social media policies. Policies tell community managers and community members about how to use the organization's social media sites. This includes what is, and is not appropriate, and tells the community how the organization will respond in different circumstances. This should cover everything from appropriate use, to response times, to privacy and so forth. 

  2. A social media triage chart. This is a flow chart that will help community managers figure out how to respond to feedback and conversations taking place in the community. It also provides vital instructions about when community managers should seek help, and who from in the organization (see some Triage Chart Examples). This is one of the most important things you can do for your community managers. It makes their job simpler, it helps ensure they bring things up the chain that you want them to, and that they respond in the correct way in key situations. 

  3. Editorial calendar. This tells your team when content is published. This makes publication more consistent across your social media channels. It lets your audience become familiar with your content cadence so they can tune in at the right place and time. We prefer DivvyHQ

  4. Action Plans. Action plans are little mini-plans that tells your people what's expected of them, when it's due, and creates a plan of record for each piece of content. It documents steps in the process, responsible parties, KPIs, and the hours everything will take. It takes the ad-hoc out of content creation, improves the quality of content, allows team members to plan hours appropriately, and reduces the stress of production. I prefer the simple NISM action plan template.

Other skills that make community management easier.

All of this will create a framework that makes it much easier for community managers to operate, and thrive in. It will also make it easier for new resources to ramp up and become productive social media team members for your organization. But anyone who is managing a community will still need to be trained on how to manage that community. This training should include the following:

  • How to establish a consistent voice and personality.
  • Strategies for interacting with the community, including when, and when not to respond in ongoing conversations.
  • How to build relationships in the community through engagement.
  • How to improve customer service through community engagement.
  • How to triage feedback.
  • How to manage criticism. 
  • What to do in the event of a social media crisis. 
  • A review of corporate social media polices, triage charts, editorial calendars, action plans, and content release strategies. 

Get the right training partner to get the job done.

That's a big list, but at at CarverTC we have you covered. We offer 7, half-day courses designed to let social media community managers and social media teams hit the ground running. Those include a course to help organizations create brand advocates, and another to train those brand advocates. For those who are more serious, we offer a comprehensive course backed by a certification the National Institute of Social Media! We can customize these courses, and deliver them on-site or on-line. At CarverTC, the first step in any training engagement is to get to know the people, the brand, and it's goals. Our focus is to tailor our courses to ensure your people get the right training. Reach out to use for a free consultation with no obligation. 

-Bob