What are the roles and responsibilities of an effective community manager?
Start by thinking of yourself as the host of a really good party - one where you're welcoming the guests and keeping them happy, and moving the evening along from event to event, while giving the conversation plenty of room to breathe. If one guest has had too much to drink and gets belligerent, you step in; if another is hanging back in the potted ferns, you introduce them around.
Depending on who else is on your team, you may have a lot of other responsibilities, too - from serving as the community's advocate within your organization to analyzing usage and metrics to see where your efforts are having the most impact. And one often-overlooked role is one of your most important: that of participant. When you're in the trenches with the rest of your community members, you not only get to model the kind of contribution you want to see from them, but you gain first-hand insight that can help improve the user experience in your community.
People being people, their conversations tend to stray off-topic. Here are 10 ways a community animator can keep online conversation focused on the subject at hand... or bring it back after a digression.
Drawing people to your site is just the first step. How do you motivate them to actually participate, to contribute their own time, ideas and content? In other words, how do you bring your site to life?
Independent news site The Tyee has an interesting take on the dilemma facing those of us who animate online communities: how can you promote positive participation, discourage the bile and avoid the accusation of censorship?
Traffic jams can happen in the online world as well as on the street; collision here, a bottleneck there, and suddenly your conversation is stalled in gridlock. And like traffic cops, your site animator can't be everywhere. The solution? Empowering your community members to be the first responders when trouble flares.
The web site's done. The launch date is set. Now - before you open the site's doors to the world - take these critical steps to starting your community off on the right foot.
Want to make your online community a roaring success? Try approaching it the same way you'd hold a party - from choosing an appealing venue to introducing your guests to each other. (If you can figure out how to put an open bar online, you'll be unbeatable.)
When flame wars erupt on your community, you need to act quickly - but with a skilled, careful hand, striking a balance between keeping the peace and stifling discussion. Check out these steps for keeping a community on the right side of the line between healthy conversation and verbal abuse.