Community Management - explained
Over the past few weeks we have been training many startup VAs, and speaking to a great many of those considering a VA business as an option. Through those conversations we generally spend a lot of time discussing key service areas, and one question keeps popping up:
"What exactly IS Community Management?"
Community Management is a service that VAs may choose to offer, especially if they are performing other social media-based tasks for clients.
It's not for everyone, and it's not anything like simply creating and scheduling content. It takes a strategic, well-planned person to maintain Community Management for any length of time.
A Community Manager provides support for online communities (paid or free). Generally, these communities are largely Facebook groups, but other communities may be the focus too (LinkedIn or other social media platforms).
Facebook groups are a vital space for many businesses in terms of providing more personal engagement and building trust and credibility. They also provide a forum for businesses to reach a wider audience. Facebook groups are also where Facebook wants users 'hanging out' - and they are giving more and more precedence to groups over pages in news feeds.
Running a successful Facebook group takes a great deal of time, and is often incredibly overwhelming and a potential source of pain for the group owners.
This is why many Facebook group owners prefer to enlist the services of someone (or several people) who will assist them manage the group for them - a Community Manager!
The tasks a Community Manager performs are largely focused on...well, managing the community within a Facebook group. Some of the tasks a Community Manager performs are:
Monitoring, accepting and declining member requests,
Reviewing and altering group rules and membership questions,
Staying on top of spam,
Monitoring comments and posts,
Responding to reported posts,
Ensuring group rules are adhered to,
Engaging with member posts.
Some Community Managers also manage the content within the group - creating, scheduling and posting content. How much a Community Manager is responsible for really depends on what clients actually want - sometimes it's all of the above tasks, other times just some.
So you want to be a Community Manager?
Here are our top tips:
1) Develop a strategy around the group member journey.
Think about what membership questions you will require answered for members to join.
Consider who you will / won't accept member requests from - and stick to it.
How will you respond (or will you respond) to membership declines?
Give thought to group rules.
Post an Announcement (previously a Pinned post) for new members to read when they
Will you post regular welcome posts welcoming new members?
Decide what the process is for those who breach the group rules.
Define and be clear about the purpose of the group - and communicate that.
2) Be strategic with your time in managing the community.
Leaving Facebook open and accepting member requests as they come in is a HUGE
productivity sucker. Set a number of times each day to address member requests - and
stick to it.
Likewise for managing reported posts.
3) Be clear that you have a responsibility to monitor and admin the group.
You need to have a relatively thick skin for Community Management - people can be
It's also important to recognise that, as a Community Manager, you have a responsibility
to uphold Facebook's Community Standards.
Be consistent in upholding your group rules.
When monitoring disputes, don't engage in a public forum! Shut down comments ASAP.
So, now you have a better understanding of what Community Management actually IS - is this something that appeals to you or is it a key service task you would rather avoid?