Community Management Essentials

Suzanne will run a Community Management Workshop at WOMMA’s School of WOM conference, May 9-11.

Pat McCarthy: What are the essential internal procedures on the back end of a community that are needed to make it look great on the public side?

Suzanne Marlatt: One of the things that every brand should consider is developing a decision tree or strategic response plan so their community managers know exactly how to respond to every situation whether it’s positive or negative. Or in extreme cases, whether it needs to be escalated up to marketing or customer service. Having a decision tree in place makes it more efficient and easier for community managers to work. And that shows through on the public side of the community.

PM: When you teach brands about community management, what are their main concerns and what do they need to learn the most before building a community team?

SM: One of the things I really emphasize is finding a voice. It’s really important for every brand to sound different. You wouldn’t want to look at one Facebook page and have it resemble 50 other brand pages and not be able to tell it apart in terms of culture, tone or focus. A distinct voice that is also authentic with the brand is critical.

PM: I recently saw an infographic on the mind of the community manager by Get Satisfaction. What do you think the ideal community manager is like?

SM: They should be passionate about whatever brand they’re working with. Relating to the brand on a personal level really improves their work. They’ll speak to the community better. They’ll have a better voice.

They also have to be a good writer. Good writers can articulate the brands message properly. Obviously they shouldn’t be putting out spelling errors. It happens, but they shouldn’t be doing it.

A person who has that customer service and marketing mind combination is also good. They have to be okay with answering the same question over and over again. That’s the customer service side. The marketing side would find creative and authentic ways to work in the product into conversation.

PM: What can attendees expect to take away from your Community Management session at School of WOM?

SM: We’ll cover the basics, but we’ll also speak about intermediate level strategies. We’re going to talk about the benefits of why you should have a community manager and how it can enhance your company. Then we’re going to dig deeper and explain what the day to day community management process looks like. They’ll learn how to make the job itself an efficient and streamlined process so it works for your company. And then run through a list tools that all community managers should know but probably have never heard of.

At the end of the day, community management is like being an ambassador for the company you represent—this session will equip attendees with some key insights which can help you represent your company effectively and authentically.