Day In The Life Of A Community Manager, Pt. 1

I’m currently sitting at my Conduit trade show booth (as you can see), waiting for the next round of conference attendees. For a while now I’ve been thinking about writing a “day in the life” series where I can talk shop about the daily goings on as a community manager (thanks @feedia for the idea nudge). This, my lucky friend, is the inaugural post. And in it I will outline the basic gist of what I do on a typical day. Although no day comes close to qualifying as typical…

For all my fellow future community managers out there, I hope I can shed a bit of light on what your work may someday look like.

First though, let me clarify what type of online community manager I am. I think there are at least two types. One would be a social media marketing role, where as a community manager you manage the various social platforms for a business, writing and creating content, measuring engagement, and reporting the metrics.

Another would be more of an internally-facing community manager, where you generally deal with one social platform (often times custom-made, or custom-built on Jive, Sharepoint, Lithium, Yammer, etc). Here your prime duty is to facilitate collaboration and sharing among your members. You’re a bit more of an usher, a concierge, and in some cases a SME (subject-matter expert). If you want to drill down into these two types of roles, check out this post.  My version of community manager fits somewhere between these two poles.

So without further ado, Let’s look at activities from one recent day in late November, 2011…

Review Development Schedule. Our site is custom built of Microsoft SharePoint 2010. We just launched the site about 6 months ago. As such, we’ve got a new release of features and functionality about once a month and they tend to be pretty significant. My job here is to make sure we’re releasing features that people want, and that those features work intuitively.

Help people Set Up Online Working Groups. Our site offers a lot of features for private groups, many of which can be daunting to new users. So today I helped some new group managers set up their groups. I also consulted on their communication and content strategy to get invitees to join and participate.

Community Outreach and Training. I spoke for an hour at one of our member organizations. This was a first time visit, so the topic was geared towards new members: “What is it and how does it work? And more  importantly, how will it help me?”

Develop Content. I reviewed posts from a couple new potential bloggers. I’m always thinking who could be one of our guest contributors. Our community site is almost exclusively UGC, but to get that UGC ball rolling, I’m working on developing some relationships with folks who con contribute some fresh, relevant and rich perspectives.

Moderate/Clean Up Recent Posts. This likely qualifies as my least favorite set of tasks. I corrected typo’s, cleaned up duplicate and misspelled tags, and I directed stray user comments to their appropriate groups or discussions. I also contacted some members about inaccurate comments and educated them on the best way to post their content on the site. I actually don’t mind these latter tasks; Concierge stuff – LIKE – Grammar Cop stuff – DISLIKE.

More Content. Now I’m looking for some good newsletter content to feature in our weekly newsletter. I like to feature recent UGC, an active member profile, and a few hot discussions and tags. I’ll usually ask a few folks to brush up their profile page for this. I usually write about 4-5 paragraphs for each weekly newsletter.

Tracking and Reporting. Once a day I log into our Google Analytics (GA) account or Sharepoint (SP) reporting module . GA gives me overall traffic numbers, while the SP tool gives me per member activity and engagement stats. I report to my partners and stakeholders on community performance once a month. Tracking daily helps me ensure I’m on the right trajectory to hit my goals.

Game Strategy. I talked a bit with our graphic designer on a new “super user badge”. We’re in the process of gaming engagement a bit by developing some badges that display next to highly active member’s profile pages. This will likely be the first in a series of badges.

Sharpen the Saw. Today I read about 5 blog posts and news articles on community management best practices. A couple times throughout the day I’m seeing what conversations are happening on Twitter. I regularly participate in the #cmgr, #cmgrchat, #octribe hashtags. Gotta stay up-to-date on the latest thinking in this field!

Hone engagement strategy. Of all the various things a community manager may talk about, the thing they’re likely the most passionate about is the big E word: Engagement. So today I’ve been thinking about ways to increase engagement on the site with internal staff. What motivates them? How can I tie their intrinsic values to engagement on the site? Should I run another contest? or maybe I should focus on some 1:1 interaction? Probably both…

Review marketing plan. For a new online community like this one, marketing is prime. Before you can drive engagement, you have to get some members. Our marketing plan is full of strategies and tactics that we’re deploying each month to reach our recruitment and engagement goals. Every couple weeks I’ll slow down and get that 20,000 foot view that our annual marketing plan affords.

Since writing this I’ve talked to a few other community managers on Twitter about their typical days. As you might guess, everyone has something a bit different to say:

What’s your typical day as a community manager look like? Feel free to comment below or ping me @benfowler.

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