A few months ago I contributed to Marketing’s piece on structuring your community management team here.
I thought it might be useful to post my full contribution to it, because if you’re handling things in-house, or working with an agency, community management presents several interesting challenges to normal working schedules.
While much coverage of real-time marketing focuses on the creative output, there’s a host of things you need to set up behind the scenes to allow you to react quickly.
Be flexible with where your team works
Community managers are effectively being asked to deliver ‘always on’ coverage. This is typically self-managed or covered by shifts to achieve community management seven days a week and sometimes even round the clock. If you’re doing this, you need to be aware that time in lieu will accrue. It may not be necessary for your team to be in the office every day, and working hours may need to shift. Without being open to this, you risk putting too much pressure on your team – and attention to detail will slip.
Get your documents in order
Make sure your community manager is aware of any regulation that may affect how they respond or behave online and what you expect from them in terms of response time, escalation process and more. Key documents include a Rules of Engagement ‘handbook’, FAQ of pre-approved responses to core issues, a content matrix that outlines content themes to directly link output to strategy and visual brand guidelines for social.
A community manager can’t work on their own. Period. You can’t brief them to ‘come up with some posts’ and expect them to just get on with it solo. If they’re in-house, an agency partner can provide creative support and bring case studies and learnings from other brands to the table. If your community manager sits within an agency – they should work alongside planning, creative and client services to deliver the best results possible.
Don’t hire the stereotype
A truly excellent community manager is a polymath; with editorial, creative, account management and social experience – but where possible, hire to match passion for a subject with your brand. You can teach someone how to use Facebook, you can’t teach them to love something and make it credible.