The Best Online Community Managers Keep a Regular Presence - dummies

The Best Online Community Managers Keep a Regular Presence

By Deborah Ng

The worst thing you can do is be an absentee online community manager. Your community-building efforts are all for naught if you’re not a familiar face at all your online haunts. People want to see you.

In many cases, they joined the community because of you. You’re the voice of reason and the glue that holds it all together. If you’re never around, things start to fall apart. Have a regular presence each day, even if you’re just saying hello. Your presence matters a lot more than you think.


Here are a few things you can do to help you establish a regular presence:

  • Lead discussion topics. Your community should have a fresh supply of discussion topics each day, whether it’s a forum, an e-mail group, a Facebook page, or Twitter. Even if it’s the type of community where the people generate their own topics, you still can’t leave it to run by itself.

    Posting your own daily discussion topic lets members know that you’re there and paying attention. It also shows that you enjoy participating in the community and aren’t there just because you’re being paid.

  • Interact and engage. Most brand-related communities exist so that customers and members can interact with the brand. Customers put their trust in brands that have accessible people working for them. They like being able to reach out on Twitter and ask questions or discuss issues.

    Having an active community manager dispels the myth of the big corporate executive sitting behind his desk chewing on a cigar, not having time for the “little people.” Your active presence ensures faith in the bran because your customers know their thoughts are concerns are being heard.

  • Note problems or issues. When you routinely monitor community discussions, you’re aware of problems and issues. Sometimes, community members reach out to one another to see whether they’re experiencing the same issues with your brand, website, or community. It pays to have an active presence so that you can observe these discussions, respond if necessary, and take action.

  • Receive feedback. You know what happens if community members don’t see an active brand presence? They assume that no one is around to receive their feedback. Yes, they can call an 800 number, and yes, they can e-mail their feedback, but customers want to reach out via the social networks too.

You also want to hang out in other communities. Other communities aren’t competition; they’re places to share, collaborate, and commiserate. It pays to visit blogs, forums, and Facebook pages and take part in Twitter chats so that you can

  • Build relationships with like-minded people. The beautiful thing about online communities is members can join more than one, and many do. You may see the same people visiting several communities in the same niche.

    You want members of other communities to interact with your tribe as well-. Community is not about spamming someone else’s forum. It’s about having a conversation with people who have a common passion and hoping that they visit your community in return.

  • Raise brand awareness. If a blogger is listing lemonade recipes, how cool would it be for someone from a lemonade brand to leave comments offering kudos or tips on making things with lemonade?

A daily presence goes a long way. Your community members give up their time to be there for you. Shouldn’t you offer the same?