At the moment, I manage three online communities for three different brands. My job is to be the bridge between brand and community. I need to understand these communities; understand what that they like/dislike, understand how they like to consume information, and most importantly, understand how I can engage them in an ongoing conversation. Sure, it gets a little messy sometimes, managing three (and I was up to five a month ago), but with a solid work process, one can easily work community management around his or her day without worrying about having to spend 5, 6 or even 12 hours on the computer running searches, tweeting and Facebooking daily.
There are three basic steps in my day that is key to any community manager role: social listening, engagement and scheduling.
I spend half-an-hour at the start and end of every working day on social listening. I use tools like Hootsuite and Social Mention to track what people around the world are saying about the brand, as well as look up related news that I can possibly share with the community. I run a search through social networks and blogs and keep an eye on trending news in that specific area. In some cases, I check for any negative feedback a brand may be receiving and action it efficiently.
I use Sprout Social and Edgerank Checker to track engagement. These tools give me stats on how well my posts are doing. It tells me whether it’s effective, and gives valuable suggestions on how I can improve, in terms of timing, and content. I spend a fair amount of time going through newsfeeds, and responding to @s, RTs and FFs. The “Human Touch” is key, here.
If you’re reading this blog, you will not be a stranger to the idea of scheduling content. It’s a very basic and effective tool that should be at the fingertips of any community manager. After a few hours of social listening and engagement, I spend the rest of the day creating relevant and quality content for the audience. This all goes into a post-dated scheduling system. Hootsuite works beautifully for me. This way, I don’t need to be sitting at my computer at all hours, posting content. Through Sprout Social, I would have a list of the best times in the day and week that my audience is reading my content (usually at around midday and midweek). This goes right into my schedule. In hours, I would have developed and post-dated content for the entire week.
I’ve found that structuring my working day around these three basic steps has thoroughly improved my time management. I actually have time to have a day job, now! Imagine. What are some of your tricks of the community managing trade?