How to manage your day job and your community
Are you a community manager?
Before you say no, know this: If you’re the one running any of your business’ social media outlets then you, my friend, are indeed a community manager. Yep. You’re welcome.
A community manager is the person monitoring and engaging on behalf of a company. A lot of the people who do this don’t have an official title. You may have been the only one with the interest, time, skill set, or personality to take it on. You may be running a small business in which this is one of many roles you take on in addition to everything else you do.
However you got here, you’re someone special. If you’ve taken on the community manager role and also have another position or role in the company, you’re what I like to call a hybrid. Or, if you’d rather, a unicorn.
A day in the life of a hybrid
What exactly does a hybrid do? The role and responsibilities depend on the company, its size, and the freedom the company allows the community manager to have.
I’m a pretty good example of a how a hybrid/unicorn comes into existence. I work at a web marketing company as a “social media strategist.” Developing and implementing strategies is what I was hired to do for our clients, so it’s a natural extension to do the same thing for the company.
In my hybrid role, I develop goals, strategies and ideas for each social outlet. I help plan the company’s blog posts, come up with clever headlines that integrate keywords for SEO and
demand ask people in the office to tweet. I engage on behalf of the Mack Web Team on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and more.
Although my job led naturally into community, other community manager hybrids may start out as anSEO, blogger, marketing specialist, graphic designer, business owner, etc. If you have the skills or desire to be a community manager, hop on the hybrid train.
How does one manage both clients (or design, or payroll, or whatever else) and community? It’s not easy having more than one significant role at work, but it is possible. Here are some guidelines I’ve leaned on to help manage the load.
Follow a plan
Having a strategy for each social outlet that aligns with company goals is numero uno. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. To make life easier on everyone, think realistically and leverage assets that have already been developed for your company.
For instance, articles on the company website can be reworked and turned into blog posts with images and video. An upcoming event can have a social campaign built around it in order to gain more excitement and exposure.
Keep an open mind
As a community manager you’ll see lots of new ideas that could turn into great opportunities for your company’s online engagement. Keep company goals in mind while engaging and you may find yourself helping out in all kinds of areas – from link building opportunities to ideas for content – just by listening to conversation happening on social media outlets.
Your main job comes first
As a hybrid, your main job is…well, your main job, and community management comes after that. The company you work for won’t need a community if it goes out of business. If you work with clients, remember that they’re the bread and butter (and bacon). Ever heard the saying, “Happy wife, happy life”? There should be a similar mantra for your company: “Happy client, happy boss.” Wait, that doesn’t rhyme. But you get the idea. If you need help prioritizing, meet with your manager or boss and ask them to clarify your responsibilities.
In a recent My Community Manager hangout on Google+ about skills a community manager needs, organization was deemed a must-have. This is important because it helps with time management (and sanity). Luckily for you, there are plenty of tools that make a hybrid’s life easier. If you’re not already using them, try some of these.
Set a budget and track your time per task with a tool like Harvest. This is vital to keeping your time and efforts in perspective. Otherwise it’s too easy to get lost in the business of monitoring your community. This may also serve as great ammunition if you need to prove to your boss that more time is needed in your schedule to handle the role of community manager.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes projects on a board. This is a great visual tool that has boxes to check off upon a task’s completion.
Trello also allows users to have ownership in specific areas of a project. For instance, community managers may need art created for a Facebook cover photo, so the graphic design artist can be assigned to that project (just drag their avatar to the task).
Due dates are optional additions on Trello, and it’s easy to upload the assets that are created around the project so that everything’s in one place.
3. Raven Tools
Raven Tools has a lot to offer community managers. For one thing, the metrics tools are great. Even if you think analytics have nothing to do with community management, cross-knowledge is a must for hybrids. Plus it’s good to know how your posts are doing, which days are performing best, which types of posts are creating engagement, and who is mentioning you.
Community managers also have an advantage in helping link builders out because they are so active in the community. Take advantage of Raven’s link building tools and help a brother or sister out with some lead and link generation.
4. Google Calendar
Use Google Calendar to schedule blog post production, set reminders of upcoming events, update team members on ETA of design assets or just keep yourself on task. You can also schedule time for engagement and plan when to pull analytics (remember the very important manage-your-time-and-retain-your-sanity plan?)
5. Social media dashboard
A social media dashboard comes in handy for those who work with multiple social media accounts. You can use a dashboard’s stream to monitor and engage in one place rather than logging in to each outlet. Use Raven’s social media tools or social-specific tools like Sprout Social or HootSuite. Recently, HootSuite introduced a Google+ stream.
6. Inspiration Checklist
Develop an inspiration checklist to help you to kick ass at your job. It does wonders for me, so check out the video to get my suggestions.
Last but not least is Songza.com, a tool introduced to me by Shareholic’s Ginny Soskey in her post 10 tools to help you blog better. It’s a music concierge that provides users with great playlists. It helps to have music get you in the right mood.
Have a sense of humor
It’s the final step of the manage-your-time-and-keep-your-sanity plan. As a hybrid, you’re going to be busy. Try to enjoy the awesomeness of managing a community on behalf of your company.
Good luck, fellow hybrids.
Photo courtesy kosabe on Flickr