For me, that day arrived a little more than a month ago when I became a community manager.
Life as a new Community Manager is stressful and overwhelming. Of course I knew a little bit about Facebook and Twitter, but I didn’t know much else. It hit me immediately that I had a lot to learn, and fast!
Within my first week as a Community Manager at Vaynermedia I saw firsthand how powerful social media is; in real-time for real-world clients. For the first time I saw how an “agency” works for a client. And for the first time, creativity was not only encouraged, it was required.
7 Tips I Picked Up In the First Few Weeks
Read as many blogs about social media (tactics, changes, case studies) as you can find. A few quick starting points would be this site, as well as Mashable, TechCrunch and All Twitter and InsideFacebook.
2. Be patient
Based on my limited experience, you are not going to be put in charge of any community in one day. It will take time. You have to learn the voice, the tone, the purpose and best practices before you will be given the reigns.
Watch the conversations on some of the most popular pages of mid-level and small brands. Those conversations show true passion. Study what types of questions drive the most votes. You can learn from what their fans (and trolls) are saying.
4. Community is everywhere
Just because someone hired you to be a community manager does not mean that is limited to just commenting on Facebook posts or coming up with witty Twitter updates. Community lives in public relations, marketing, reputation management and customer service. Everything matters.
5. Plan for a marathon
One of our co-founders, Gary Vaynerchuk, always says that it is a marathon, not a sprint. The problem with many businesses today is they they’ll trade nearly anything for a penny uptick in stock price. Community does not work like that. It takes times to build.
6. Your education only goes so far
Trust me on this one. Maybe colleges are catching up but most colleges are still learning old-school “push” tactics. Don’t get me wrong, so long as there is television, radio, newspapers and magazines, “push” will work. But so does “pull” and that is where we’re at right now.
I consider myself a writer, but I am not what you would call a “perfect on the first draft kind of writer.” I’m more of a write, let it sit and come back and hopefully fix it type of writer. In community management that amount of time and reflection does not exist. It is immediate and you have to become the best proofreader and copy-editor on the planet.
7. Ask questions
This is true for any job, but especially important for a position few understand and one that evolves every day. If you are the only community manager in your company, then reach out to others online and in real life who are in the same environment. You need to talk over ideas and tactics. If you work with a team of community managers like I do, try to have some kind of a creative meeting every week to bounce ideas off each other and find out what is going on in the social space.
Remember, it is a marathon. It is about building something that people can rally behind. You are now an advocate.
Enjoy the journey.