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Online Community Management: Goals and Priorities

If you’re entering into online community management thinking you’ll be spending all your time on Facebook and Twitter, you’re in for a rude awakening. The gig entails way more than hanging out on the social networks. In fact, social networking is only a small part of the community manager’s focus.

Online communities are created for a purpose. Groups hosted by a business are usually there to drive sales, bring in new customers, provide customer satisfaction, build buzz, and create an effective word-of-mouth campaign.

A company typically gives a community manager a set group of goals, which may entail anything from achieving a dollar amount in sales, a percentage of community growth, a positive word-of-mouth marketing campaign, or higher rankings on the search engines.

The challenging part is to achieve those goals while still following company policies and guidelines, especially among those businesses that are reluctant to embrace social media tools, such as Twitter or Facebook.

Many such businesses are hush-hush about the inner workings of their organizations and don’t want their community managers talking about them on the networks. Some businesses even insist upon approving every single tweet or status update. Even businesses that are more transparent about operations have policies and procedures to follow regarding the community manager’s jobs, goals, and responsibilities.

Although the community manager is, indeed, an advocate for her community, her real loyalty is toward her place of employment. Before beginning as a community manager, you’ll want to get a clear overview of all goals, policies, and procedures in writing so that no mistakes or miscommunications occur.

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