Community Managers: We make it RUN!

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A community manager has proven itself to be valuable to many businesses and community organizations. A good community manager isn’t just “hanging out” on social media all day. Community managers are often the first in line to help engage customers in your business. I believe there are four important parts to a community manager position: growth, engagement, evaluation and improvement.

The role of a community manager is to get people actively involved in your organization through various social media platforms, blog campaigns, and participating in relevant networking events. By connecting the brand with customers, a community manager builds engagement. Community managers frequently evaluate organizations using feedback from customers. With the rapid changes in companies and technologies, improvement is critical with any organization’s community. The community manager should directly follow the evaluation phase with an improvement phase to ensure success.fdlrc

Although I am currently in a position at a fitness center, I am using another position I hold in a community organization, the Fond du Lac Running Club, for the purpose of this assignment. Currently, I am the Publicity Director for the running club and have the pleasure of monitoring our monthly online newsletter, Fondy Footnotes, as well as our Facebook page. I think my current position is very similar to a community manager position.

Recently, I created a Member Spotlight article for our online newsletter. This creates brand advocates from our existing members in order to help grow our membership base. It is important to grow the community using relevant social media followers. A large number of “followers” are great unless they feel they have no relevance to the community and do not actually follow the organization. I think making personal connections with social media users on a regular basis is important. Often times technology creates a situation in which users have an inability to be personal. As the community manager, I could do a better job of connecting personally with users. An example of this would be giving them a personal “shout out” on a recent race. The recently created Member Spotlight is a step in the right direction to personally engage members. Facebook sends out a weekly data report including “new likes”, “talking about this” and “weekly total reach”. It also shows if the number “talking about this” and “weekly total reach” have increased or decreased since the previous week. This email analysis allows for an easy evaluation of Facebook data. I am not familiar with Twitter or other social media markets. A good community manager should test new social media platforms and determine if they would be a good fit for the organization. This would be a great way to improve my position within the running club. However, one way that I work to improve the club is through monitoring our competition and the running industry to understand what they are doing better, how they are doing it, and how this information can improve our running club. By incorporating growth, engagement, evaluation, and improvement, as a community manager, I can give the Fond du Lac Running Club a lasting voice and success in the community.

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4 Comments

  1. I think that it’s awesome that you have the opportunity to be the community manager/ publicity director for the Fond du Lac Running Club! Your thought regarding the Member Spotlight is a great way to allow the community and yourself to get involved with the runners that are following the face book page and reading the newsletter. If you show enthusiasm and dedication in your communication through social media, that behavior may attract new runners who will want to learn about the club and get involved within it. Giving a “shout-out” each week is an excellent way to push individuals that are in the club. Giving the audience an opportunity to be recognized, on the Face book page or in the newsletter, may motivate and push the community to work harder. Shout-outs are a smart way to get the community involved and it could increase the popularity of an organization’s page. I also enjoyed the point that you made about “followers”. A company is capable of getting thousands of “likes” or “followers”, but it doesn’t mean that the community manager has created a progressive online community.

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  2. I think it’s key that you recognize that popularity and creating a following are not just about the numbers, but rather about the stories behind the numbers. As Cheryl alluded to, people don’t necessarily care how many followers or likes you have. The real challenge for you as a community manager is to convey the inspiration and personality that sit right behind those numbers. The shout-outs are a great way to do just that. People will recognize those faces as part of the Fond du Lac Running Club. In the end, providing qualitative rather than quantitative data and testimonies makes all the difference for this sort of outreach.

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  3. First, you had me at “read” with your graphic and title. Great way to pull in the readers and give them a snippet of your the core of our blog post. This is an essential part of good content development.

    Second, I am a stickler for good quotes. What can your most significant quotes tell me about where you are going with this topic and more importantly where you are professionally and personally regarding this topic.

    I like this quote: “By connecting the brand with customers, a community manager builds engagement.” Very good at noting, “connecting the brand with customers.” But also, building engagement.

    And yes, you are acting as Community Manager. Your roles and responsibilities, the way you are focused on “listening, engaging and then sharing with the online community is commendable.”

    I would suggest another way you can connect on a deeper and more personal level with the customer is to have a Google Hangout. You can have a hangout based on topics that are of interest to them. Running 101 What you Need to Know To Get Started. Come Hangout with the Race! A personal community round table with some of this years runners.

    Just a few suggestions.

    Great post. You grasped the meaning, significance of why your organization needs a community manager, their role not just within the organization but with their online brand evangelist. More importantly you really highlighted something most people don’t pick up on. Having a lot of followers on any network is good if all you are measuring are numbers. But if you are measuring true engagement and brand influence, then you will look more to those who are engaging with the brand (signing up for the run/race, referring people to the run/race) , are influenced by the brand ( sharing referrals and resources ) and are engaging with the brand via the online community.

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  4. I love the idea of identifying relevant social media followers and giving personal “shout-outs.” Giving this affirmation to followers is a great way to build the relationship between the brand and the community because, as you said, it gives relevance to their comments and achievements on your Facebook page. Why should they comment if there is no positive reinforcement to do so? Great Post!

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