As a first time Community Manager at a consumer internet start-up, I didn’t know where to begin when I grabbed hold of the reigns at SkinnyScoop a year ago. Lucky for me, my ‘can-do’ attitude, willingness to wear many hats and varied mix of previous job experience have proven to be essential in acting as the point person for a quickly growing group of people. It’s been fun to discover that bringing together a group of people online is much like how one may go about making friends (and friends of your new friends) offline – all of the same rules apply.
So what are the ‘rules’, anyway? If you’re a new Community Manager looking to get your head in the game, my ‘Five Tips for Building a Start-up Community’ are for you:
Read and listen as much as you can.
Listening is the single most important factor in decision-making. Being clued in to what your prospective and current audiences are passionate about lets you in on the conversation and allows you to best serve their needs. Find key sources – platforms, publications, people – and start educating yourself.
Always be responsive.
Responding to inquiries, problems, suggestions and tweets in a timely fashion shows gratitude to those who engage with your content. It’s a two way street – you know how good it feels to see that something you produced or shared made an impact on someone. Give them the same satisfaction!
Find your niche and nail it.
It might be something you truly love or simply the business you’re in – but find your niche and nail it. Don’t spread yourself too thin or take on too much. Pick a place, roll up your sleeves and get started. Go deep!
Make sure that your tone represents you or your company appropriately across all platforms; it will be the voice that your readers and customers identify with. You can’t be everything to everybody – so just be yourself and you’ll reap the rewards.
Consistency is key.
Like anything else, small efforts on a regular basis really add up over time. By being consistent with content, you’re training your users to come back regularly for something new. By being consistent with tone, followers can easily identify you. Go down your list and see if you can check all of the boxes. Make sure you set expectations and meet them.
If you’re able to follow these basic guidelines, your community will flourish. Remember to be patient and keep it at – Rome wasn’t built overnight, and you’d rather build a long lasting, well-respected empire than something that will quickly crumble.
Did I miss something? I’d love to hear what sort of approach has helped you successfully build community. Share your best tip in the comments!
Passionate about the intersection of people and technology, Krista has spent the last ten years blogging, freelancing and running Internet marketing campaigns for a multitude of brands both large and small. Krista is currently employed as Community Manager at SkinnyScoop, where she spends her days helping women to inspire, empower and influence by sharing the things they know and love. Whether it’s creating content, social networking or driving traffic, Krista believes most strongly in old-fashioned hard work and authenticity – all else will follow.