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Community Management – A Beginner’s Guide

by Sorbaioli
Community Management - A Beginner's Guide

In the past, before social networks took on the scale they have today, companies hired a community manager to maintain a good image and reputation of the brand, for example on the forums that flourished on the internet.

Because yes, a company’s reputation is one of its most important assets. If your customers, employees or the media talk about you negatively, it can have a disastrous impact on your business. 

In 2020, the activity of the community manager has evolved: it is a question of monitoring, controlling and influencing communities on social networks to defend the interests of the brand.

Instead of talking about Community Management, we can then rather talk about Social Media Management. (marketing definition)

Let’s review in this article:

  • the definition of community management,
  • what skills this activity requires,
  • and what practices should be applied to exercise it.

What is Community Management?

Community management, according to the translation from English, refers to the monitoring of an online community, aimed at improving the reputation of the company, building customer loyalty and finding other prospects, in particular through social networks and other strategies. digital.

It is an activity that makes massive use of the internet and social networks. Today, community management is the management, animation and moderation of communities to seek out customer responses, decipher perceptions and propose marketing actions.

The role of Community Management

Community management is there to humanize the brand and the places where it is present. Without dialogue or exchange with the communities on social networks, the “perceived image” or “e-reputation” -or even the reputation in short- of the brand, could not be positive.

The role of the community manager has several categories of tasks:

  • It feeds and maintains the  company’s e-reputation on the web and social networks.
  • It optimizes the  technical management of e-reputation.
  • It promotes exchanges  within the communities.
  • It monitors (competitive, market, media).
  • He learns about new practices, trends and expectations  of Internet users in order to allow the company to adapt its products/services as closely as possible to demand.

We therefore understand the importance of this profession, which requires skills that cannot be improvised.

Status and training of the Community Manager

The community manager  can adopt the status of freelancer: he works independently for several companies that he has canvassed by himself. He can also work within a team: that of an agency specializing in the creation/animation of websites, such as this communication agency in Nancy for example, or at the very heart of the company (in-house) where he will evolve as an employee. This last formula is often favored by large groups who need a full-time community manager with a perfect knowledge of the business and products of the company.

As is often the case in the web professions, the community manager was built little by little on new uses, before becoming a profession in its own right. This activity is now one of the “desired digital professions” and job offers for community managers are multiplying.

There are different specialized courses in community management, at Bachelor, Master or MBA level, digital marketing expert. They teach web design, social media management, IT development and digital marketing.

What are the qualities required in Community Management?

In community management, you must have many skills, between writing and marketing. The community manager must have 3 essential qualities:

know how to write

Yes ! Knowing how to write  (without fail… it’s a prerequisite…) for the web. That is to say ? Write short, concise and impactful texts.

The small information – sometimes published on Twitter, on the Facebook page or the LinkedIn profile of the company – will have to arouse the interest of Internet subscribers. Better, they will have  to trigger a reaction  on their part: the objective is to attract clicks, to stimulate the exchange of comments and sharing in the communities to ultimately boost commitment.

Know how to use the main web tools

The task of a community manager is to bring the company’s profiles to life on the various social networks, according to their specificity:

  • 140 character text for Twitter,
  • blog posts,
  • images for Pinterest,
  • videos for youtube,
  • folders for Google+ and Scoop.it, 
  • job offer for linkedin,
  • etc…

Be creative and responsive 

Creative in order to  maintain the interest of the communities  and build their loyalty thanks to all types of information (new products, previews, games, surveys, company reports, anecdotes, etc.).

As for responsiveness, it is the essential quality of community management, but also the most difficult to exploit: the community manager must be everywhere, all the time. From monitoring to moderation, including catching up on a “bad buzz”, it is online on weekdays, evenings and weekends…

What best practices to use in Community Management?

As we have seen, social media are channels of conversation that are increasingly favored by consumers. Social media management will therefore use them as a priority by following the basic principles to be respected to ensure a “professional” presence in the social sphere. Here are five of the most important practices for the community manager to use.

Follow #hashtag trends

Of course, hashtags (#) have been used mainly on social networks since the 2000s. They make it possible to tag content with a more or less shared keyword, and to centralize messages around a very specific term. This allows Internet users to comment or follow a conversation more easily, by “categorizing” social publications.

Hashtags are  essential for growing your audience. This is why keeping an eye on trending hashtags has become essential for any community manager. There are several methods to detect the hashtags that punctuate the social sphere.

Keep an eye on your competitors

In the social sphere, publications follow one another, look alike (or not) and your competitors often participate in the discussion. It’s likely that  your company’s target audience overlaps with your competitors’ audience.

As a community manager, knowing how you stack up against your competitors can provide insights:

  • on how each brand is perceived,
  • on the companies that have the greatest  reach,
  • and those with the highest share of voice on social media.

Another reason to conduct a social media competitive audit is to  understand what type of content works  best in your market, for your audience. This will inspire strategic recommendations on new ways to engage your audience, whether it’s:

  • exploring the use of new platforms,
  • new hashtags,
  • by collaborating with certain influencers
  • or by testing different types of publications…

Here again, there are tools that allow you to industrialize your competitive intelligence on social networks, and by comparing you with them on key metrics to better understand their activities.

Keep a publication calendar

To be able to breathe a bit of strategy into your presence on social media and industrialize it, as a community manager you will have to  plan your publications so that your social engagement is consistent with the image of your brand and adapted to the expectations of your community.

For obvious reasons, it’s also much more convenient to plan a  backlog  of posts in advance: you do it once, and you don’t have to worry about your post for days, weeks, or even months. will follow. Many platforms offer features for scheduling your posts on social networks. 

Know the times when you have the best engagement rate

Brands can therefore plan their social media posts in advance. But not without any logic! Indeed, like all other disciplines of digital marketing, your activity on social networks can be optimized.

One of the first optimizations to put in place is to know exactly at what times your community is most likely to engage with your publications. Knowing this information allows you to know exactly when your audience is available to view the content you post, and therefore engage with your brand.

Although each business has its “preferred times”, there are many studies on the web that have conducted tests to find out when it was the most sensible time to post, for each of the major social platforms.

The following infographic gives a first idea, but each community manager will have to do their own tests corresponding to their company.

SaveBest and Worst Times to Post to Social MediaVisual.lyBest and worst times to post to social media – #SocialMedia #Infographic

Respond intelligently to comments

Social networks are therefore great channels for engaging directly with your audience and your consumers. After all, isn’t the key word in social networking “social”?

Around the world, know that about 1 to 2 million comments are posted every second! So normally, if you have published content that resonates with your audience, they will start commenting on your posts… Sometimes with soft words, sometimes with harsh words. Stay professional in how you handle social media interactions.

While authenticity and immediacy are a must on social media, that doesn’t mean you should post what’s on your mind in the moment, especially if your words engage an entire organization. It will be fashionable to first assess the very nature of the comment: is it positive? Aggressive ? Posted publicly on a platform you can moderate? You can then adapt your answer accordingly.

The following heuristic provides a simple method for how to handle each type of feedback in the social sphere.


Successful community management is not measured solely at the level of a large number of fans, followers, comments or tweets/retweets, shares.

You have to go and qualify the comment beyond the positive, negative,  you have to understand why, ask questions  to your community to get clarifications… which means,  transform your customers into collaborators  and there is only one only good way to do it: “dialogue”! They will thus become brand ambassadors by conveying a positive image.

To end with a smile, and illustrate an original community management strategy, I share with you the video of a Consumer Goods brand.

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