Community Management Tips from Clint Patterson
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series on community management, my tips centered on fresh content, visual content, user generated content and blog series. Given that you're reading a blog series (and I thank you for that), you'll see that I like to practice what I preach.
Let’s cover some additional tips that I learned managing an online community for outdoor enthusiasts.
Share the Same Content at Different Times to Extend Your
As a community manager, you hope to have an active
community. This is a worthy goal, but it can be challenging. While your site may
quickly gain interesting and relevant content, this activity may occur during slow
times on the site, and you need to
make your users aware that this content
For this reason, we frequently market our content in
various social media channels at
different times and even multiple times. We vary
our messaging in the hopes of drawing attention to interesting content on our
"Marketing our content via various social media avenues is
similar to fishing in different ponds or lakes."
Our members engage in these social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) and
marketing our content there has proven to drive traffic and engagement to the
content on our site. Some of our members simply can’t connect during the day
and they may miss an update while they’re offline, so we also share in the
evening when we
know they’re checking their social media channels.
Here's an analogy any outdoor enthusiast would love: marketing our content via various social media avenues is
similar to fishing in different ponds or lakes. We throw our lures (content) out a few different times
we never know which fish are paying attention at any given time. When
possible, we’ll “at mention” a user on Twitter or tag them on Facebook.
How To: Manage Your Social Channels
Keeping up with all of these different social networks can be a little
challenging, so we use a few helpful tools. For Twitter, I am a fan of
TweetDeck as it lets me
schedule posts throughout the day and monitor multiple accounts.
I use it to efficiently manage engagement with our
community members on Twitter. Another community manager manages our
. We coordinate the promotion of content on the site and he has
conversations and interactions on Facebook that can be much different from the
conversations I have on Twitter.
Different voices, perspectives and
keep things fresh and updated.
All in all, try re-sharing the same content at different times and see if it
provides good benefits to your community member engagement. It definitely does
Provide Useful Tools and Resources
Pictured: This weather alert tool has been popular with the community.
Everybody loves when you can
help them do something more
. If you can simplify a process or help them solve a challenge, your
users will have even more reasons to return to your site. We’ve found that
providing useful resources right beside the community content increases
engagement among our users.
Some of the resources I’ve provided to our outdoor
enthusiasts include geo-locating weather and moon services, a “rut-tracker” (an
app that allows users to denote deer activity and movement) and pages where
taxidermists, processors and hunting clubs can post information about their
services for free. These
resources help hunters make decisions, find
information, or simplify a process.
Communicate Changes to Your Community
Image via flickr.
One of the things I always try to do is communicate any changes
in the community. Whether we’re getting a new blogger on board, getting a new
sponsor or adding a new feature, I let my community know about it. After I let
the community know about any changes, I’ll
re-promote the updates weeks and
even months later
, in case anyone missed it.
We recently went through a major site upgrade. This was a definite “jolt” to members.
As you would imagine, change is not always met with a warm welcome, so I took
some steps to help make the transition a little smoother for my community
When we deployed the upgrade, I wrote an
about the changes and made a video walk-through of each new function.
I also included a link to a “How To” video across the site. This kind of
communication goes a long way in helping users transition to the new features
makes the change exciting, rather than frustrating.
Communicating change achieves a couple of goals for me as a community manager.
First and foremost, it shows transparency with members. When changes occur, my
community members know that I will make them aware and over time it builds
confidence in me as a community manager, and makes the users feel
and knowledgeable about the site
. Communicating change also helps ensure lower
There is No Holy Grail
no one right way to manage a community. It’s not easy. Community
management requires constant attention and focus. It’s not a set-in-stone set
of rules. It’s constant tweaking, monitoring and adjusting.
There is no Holy Grail. You have to be attentive, so that
you can adapt and respond to your community’s needs. For a community to have
success you must be constantly engaged and not afraid to initiate change.
If you try to follow a straight path of community
you will fail. And worse, you’ll fail to challenge yourself along
the way. Instead, have some fun, try some strategies and see what happens.
Be transparent along the way and you will learn what your community likes and
Keep in mind that the moments when you get nervous to try
something new are the
very same moments that you are becoming a better
. You will learn more about your community. That knowledge is
the very thing that you need to be successful as a community manager.
Every community is different and requires attention in unique ways. The principles
I’ve outlined in this blog series might not all directly apply to your
community, but I know some of them will. Managing a community is not an easy task
and requires constant focus. I hope these tips provide you with some useful and
For related tips, read
Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series on community management tips.
A Playbook to get you started
Getting started with an online community?
Read our Online Community Playbook. Then, get the party started.