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Find Calm as a community manager 1

LIVE Interview: How to find calm as a community manager of a large organization, company, or brand

On Saturday, August 13th I will be speaking to community managers as part of an initiative to bring two CMX Connect chapters together for a presentation focused on helping community managers of large organizations find calm in their role. 

This presentation will be more focused on brand communities, large organizations, and employees of SaaS companies, but I’d love to have your support. As of now, the chapter host hasn’t really promoted it and I haven’t seen a whole lot of people RSVP but if you are around and would like to join me, this event is hosted on the Bevy platform, which is very different from what you are familiar with Zoom. 

I’ve put together an article with the content I’ll be reviewing during that session for you here as a preview and for those who aren’t able to attend the event on Saturday.

How to find calm as a community manager of a large organization, company, or brand

No matter if you are managing a community of 10,000, 1,000, or 100, building an online community takes time, effort, and work. 

So many new community managers don’t have any idea where to go when they are struggling with challenges like organization, time management, or communicating effectively. 

The community industry is growing incredibly fast and there are some resources online to guide new professionals on best practices to manage an online community but finding them all in one place, or in a way to easily read, learn, and implement the tools is impossible.

Skills of community managers

To clarify who we are speaking about here, for this article, an enterprise company (SaaS) community manager acts as a liaison between an organization by building the brand presence, and trust with their customers, offering to elevate advocates who want to offer the best practices on using their software, asking community members for feedback on new product features, and designing a space for members to connect. 

We define an online community hosting site as a platform off of social media and offering a private or exclusive virtual space for specific members to connect, collaborate, and cultivate a sense of belonging. 

A community manager understands the company’s vision, purpose, and mission and most likely is interested in connecting with people inside an online community, through text chats, forums, virtual events, comments on posts, and highlighting active member superstars. 

Depending on the size, scale, and purpose of an online community, a CM may also be responsible for content planning, event facilitation, leadership development, marketing and promoting the community, member onboarding, and dealing with problems or challenges that the community faces on an ongoing basis. 

CMX explains that the 9 Skills a Community Manager needs are; organizational, creative, curious, analytical, passion, patience, empathy, tech-savvy, and visionary. 

It helps if you are willing to share with coworkers what you do, how you do it, and why it is important. Sometimes, that is half the battle. 

But if you are a community manager in a large organization and feel like you aren’t supported, here are a few quick tips to help you find a bit of calm and encourage you to keep up the great work you are doing.

Keep CALM in your role with just 4 steps

We are going to break this down into a few steps through the CALM Method  

  1. Clarity – Get really clear with your team and/or leaders on the prioritized metrics, and expectations of the role including the purpose and intention behind the community.    

  1. Awareness – Lean into your community members’ experiences when they share them with you and be aware of a member’s needs before planning to create a virtual event or a community content calendar. 

  1. Learning – Be flexible and know that you’ll be constantly learning new ways to communicate so try to schedule or automate tasks when possible.

  1. Motion – Take action by moving time-consuming tasks to when you are able to be most productive and blocking out time increasing engagement, connecting with members, highlighting advocates, and building relationships with peers.

What's the difference between a community host, community leader, and community manager?

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Community Hosts sets the vision, purpose, and values  

The host sets the vision for the future of the online community, gives guidance and support to the community manager, and directs how content is created. 

The host would also decide on the structure of an online community and the strategy for which the community would be led to include a marketing plan, creation of an ambassador program, securing sponsorships, developing educational materials, reporting to investors, reporting to grant funding authorities, or developing a crowdfunding campaign. 

The host may decide to hire professionals who offer services to support them or delegate aspects of the community launch, marketing, education, building, or funding to the community leader or the community manager.

3

Community leaders orchestrate, communicate, and guide the community culture

A community leader could be an advocate, ambassador, facilitator, mentor, or volunteer who takes an active authority within the community. The leader can be a person who works closely with the community host and may also be the “go-between” for community hosts and managers. 

Community leaders could be instructors in a course, co-hosts, partners, coaches, ambassadors, stakeholders, investors, or advocates. 

As a host may bring a community leader to help with marketing, creating a content plan, project management, or overseeing the progress, growth, and health of an online community.

The leader could be tasked with creating the overall operations manual or training manual for a community manager to implement. 

These could be documents like a marketing plan, writing a playbook for a community manager to provide the processes and systems that the person would use in daily operations. 

Additionally, a community leader may be assigned to write community guidelines, community onboarding manuals, or to create onboarding videos, to support the members.

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Community Managers implement, coordinate, and operate the community 

A Community Manager puts the community host’s vision, purpose, and mission into actionable steps, and implements these steps. 

Communities managers are usually partners of the host, volunteers, or working part-time for an organization such as a non-profit, a startup, or an online community led by a business owner. 

It has been traditional to seek volunteers to manage an online community when a budget does not allow for a paid staff member to oversee an online community. 

Depending on the size, scale, and purpose of an online community, a CM may also be responsible for content planning, event facilitation, leadership development, marketing and promoting the community, member onboarding, and dealing with problems or challenges that the community faces on an ongoing basis. 

Knowing the difference between a community leader, host, and manager is the key to identifying the community strategy, and who will take ownership of each step in the community-building process, and it will help to establish a timeline with benchmarks, goals, and outcomes.

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