How to structure your community management team

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.

Taking spot 50 in The #DrumDigerati

The Drum released its Digerati list last week; which looks at key players across the digital marketing industries.

A longlist got whittled down to 100, and I was pretty chuffed take spot number 50 🙂



Holmes Report Echo Chamber podcast

The Echo Chamber is a fortnightly podcast that explores the big PR stories from across the world.

Hosted by the Holmes Report’s Arun Sudhaman and produced by TVC Group, I joined him and Jericho Chambers’ Robert Phillips last week to chat about British Gas.

Check out and download the Oct 24th show here.


Lynx and Snapchat

Jennifer Whitehead at Retail Week did a piece on retailers’ use of mobile apps in this month’s issue.

Following TMW’s work with Snapchat for Lynx, I spoke to her about the how and why the team went down that route – focusing largely on why going to the place where our fans are is the key thing, rather than expecting them to come to us.

Subscribers can read here, or else view the article PDFs below.


Year of random writing; on everything from digital to PR, social and beyond