Interested in a career in online community management? Try these tips to get involved today.
The field of online community management has grown rapidly over the past few years. The rise in popularity can be attributed to the growing belief that companies cannot survive simply by accumulating users. In today’s ultra-competitive tech market, companies strive to build a community around their products, services, or mission. But what does a community manager do and what does building a community actually mean?
The community manager is responsible for building and maintaining a company’s digital brand and/or online presence. Community managers are on the front lines listening to users, managing digital content, encouraging growth and getting people together at meetups. And because everyone in a company works on building the brand in some capacity, community managers often have the opportunity to work with various teams throughout the company.
Does a career in community management sound like the ideal fit for you? Here are some tips for looking for a job in this engaging and rewarding line of work:
Be part of the community
If you want to work in community management, it’s imperative to read, browse, and participate in the discussion. Understanding the people and tone of a company’s online community is the first step to understanding the brand’s digital marketing objectives.
Make sure you’ve created an account on the target company’s site before applying. If you’re already an active member of the community, you’re one step ahead!
Read the FAQs and send a support request
Reading the FAQs beforehand will give you three huge advantages when interviewing for a community management position. First off, you’ll walk in knowing more about the site than expected. Second, you’ll be familiar with the community’s common issues and concerns. Last, you’ll understand people’s experience with the company’s site and what the community would like help with.
Quick, frictionless support is one of the best ways to gain trust. A bad support experience is an easy way to lose it. Are there a lot of FAQs or just a few? Is it easy to send in a support request? Is the response time quick and personal? This is where you’ll make the most impact as a community manager, so it’s important to have an opinion on what’s good, what’s bad, and which areas can be improved.
Read the guidelines
Most companies will have guidelines or rules about what is and isn’t allowed on their site. Reading these rules will grant you insight into what kind of community they are attempting to build and how you can potentially fit into that scheme.
One extra step I take involves using the Wayback Machine to look at a company’s archived digital content to see how it’s evolved. With this information, you can ask what the target company has learned as their site has grown and how they envision their community going forward when interviewing.
Find the team page
Be sure to check out the company’s team page on their website when researching a target company. This will give you an idea of the personality of the team and the corporate culture of the company whose community you could be managing.
Look at the little things
It’s important for the community manager to understand the big picture of the brand. However, it’s a site’s little features that help build the brand’s culture. The fact that I can reply on Twitter is nice. But it’s the little animations, the email after you follow someone, the “share this” feature, the notifications the recipient gets that make it engaging. These actions advocate online unity. Look for the little features of a company’s site that fascinate you and start thinking about how you can make them better.
As a community manager, you’ll put yourself out there in front of a lot of people and be responsible for innovating and promoting an online brand. If contributing to the digital culture of a company sounds like the ideal fit for you, implement these tips to find your dream career today!
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