6 Ways To Thrive In Your First Month As A Community Manager
You did it! You got hired as the Community Manager at the company of your dreams. Now what?
Speaking from experience, your first month as a Community Manager will be a whirlwind of questions, excitement, trainings, and (I’m just going to say it) confusion. With that in mind, I’m going to tell you something else you may already know: It’s nothing you can’t handle. So take a deep breath, prepare your keyboard, and remember, there’s a reason you were hired.
Know Your Stuff
First thing’s first —you’re the social expert. You know how to keep Tweets under 140 characters and why POSTING LIKE THIS is never a good idea. Beyond the basics, make a name for yourself by truly understanding smart social.
For example, do you know the Twitter Timeline Photo Preview measures 1024x512? Or that customers who ask a question on Twitter expect a response within one hour? It’s little tidbits like this that not only help you create optimal content and build engagement with your community, but also establish yourself as the social expert among your peers.
Learn From The Past
Before you took the reigns, there was most likely a thriving community where content had a personality, a presence, a voice. If that isn’t the case, and you’re building a community from the ground up, it’s still crucial to research the foundation you’re standing on.
Start by doing your due diligence to really understand who your brand is, who your audience is, and which types of content drive engagement. I've been digging into our smart social software platform to really understand the Spredfast audience.
Beyond social platforms, explore your company’s other assets. Is there a blog? If so, read a month’s worth of past content to really understand your brand’s voice and key content pillars. Does your company send an internal newsletter? Set a goal to go through the five most recent issues to get a sense of the business’ priorities and how they talk about the work they do. Do you publish case studies? Explore as many as possible to understand what makes customer’s successful and how your company delivers value.
When I first started, I cozied up with a cup of hot cocoa and the Spredfast blog. Here are my Top 5 favorite reads:
- How to Make Smarter Social Content
- #monsterloyalty: Jackie Huba Shares Lady Gaga's Loyalty Lessons in New Book
- 10 Bright Ideas for Social Marketers
- 5 Ways to Use Social to Share the Love
- 3 Signs of Sophistication from Cutting Edge Social Brands
Meet Your New Self
If there isn’t already a brand voice in place, establishing one should be your first priority. When communicating on behalf of a brand, it’s important to differentiate yourself from, well, you. Whether your brand persona is prim and proper or totally chill, you can really show your stuff on Twitter by using a consistent brand voice. Plus, understanding how Bob from Bob’s Burgers would respond to a situation as opposed to Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl can come in handy.
Track Your Time
There’s a lot going on during your first 30 days. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and bite off more than you can chew. As nice as it is to say “yes,” your colleagues understand you’re new. Learning day-to-day workflow is no small task, and during this time it’s crucial to prioritize quality over quantity. To get an idea of where you’re spending your time, I suggest Toggl. Once you have a general idea of your day-to-day, it will be easier to take on projects.
Another important aspect of tracking your time is understanding that although social never sleeps, you should. A way to make sure you have time to unplug while still meeting customer needs is to set a realistic SLA and, if you’re part of a team, have a plan for splitting responsibilities with other CMs. If you and you alone wear the Community Manager cape, this can be done by clearly communicating the hours you support social channels. At the end of the day, there’s power in knowing your capacity and clearly communicating availability to your audience.
There’s a reason you’re a Community Manager, and that’s probably because you have a firey passion for social. Now that you have your dream job, this is where the fun really starts! You’re building a community with your customers, prospects, and industry influencers, which means that you need to be an active participant yourself.
Set aside time every week to stay ahead of the conversation so you know what’s trending in your industry and can speak confidently about it. A great way to do this is to set up a Feedly or build Twitter lists to keep up with subject matter experts within your company and among customers and influencers.
Ask, Ask, and Ask Again
The beauty of being new is just that, the fact that you’re new. There’s no such thing as a dumb question, and that’s especially true in the beginning of your career. Challenge yourself to ask questions, request informal coffee meetings, invite colleagues out to lunch.
Again, congratulations on your new role, and as one final piece of wisdom: bookmark this tipsheet ASAP. Seriously. It might be the most helpful bookmark you add all year. Happy posting!