Many nonprofits looking to use social media to boost their profile, mobilize their base or raise funds assume that all they have to do is create a Facebook page or a Twitter account and people will automatically converge. That may be the case for the most visible brands (personal or corporate) but for most nonprofits, building a network and a following requires work and genuine engagement.
That’s where a community manager can help.
While for smaller organizations it may not be necessary to have a person dedicated full-time to social media engagement, it is absolutely necessary for every organization that hopes to leverage social media to have someone on staff with primary responsibility for online outreach and engagement.
The role of an organization’s online community manager is to listen, engage and fuel conversations within the social environment created for the organization.
Typically, the community manager is expected to interact with the community to help maintain a smooth flow of information as well as coordinate and moderate online discussions; less frequently, they are expected to act as the corporate social evangelist.
Too often the role of corporate evangelist is overlooked because of an exclusively external focus by the organization, and that is a mistake.
By keeping the entire organization focused, engaged, contributing to the conversations and following policy guidelines and principles, the community manager can help employees, associates and volunteers become brand ambassadors and leverage their own networks in support of the organization’s goals.
Another way that the community manager can play a key role is by ensuring that content responds to the needs and expectations of both the community and the organization.
Social content is what brings people to your site; jump starts conversations and amplifies messages. The best content is informative, timely, original and easy-to-share. Content should always be developed with an organization’s audience and community in mind, and the best way to start is by listening to ongoing conversations and identifying what it is that most resonates or gains traction within the key communities.
The community manager’s role is to listen to these conversations and figure out how they align with the organization’s own narrative and then help develop content that reflects and leverages these linkages.
It’s not everybody that can be a good community manager. Sure, it helps if they understand the basic technology and functionalities of the most popular platforms, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be tecchies. Howvere, they do have to be good communicators and most important, they have to be social.
A good community manager is someone who understands the basic principles of effective communications and who genuinely likes to connect with people and share information, ideas and opinions. It is also someone who is passionate about social media and who can communicate that passion to colleagues as well as to the organization’s leadership.
For a nonprofit that is struggling to gain traction in the social sphere, creating a commuity manager role within the organization can bring focus, energy and ultimately, success.