First let's talk about what a community manager does. Jeremiah Owyang from http://www.web-strategist.com/ says there are four tenants to the community manager position:
1. A community advocate – primarily to represent yourself in your community
Brand evangelist – promote events, products and upgrades to customers by using traditional marketing tactics and conversational discussions.
Savvy communication skills, shapes editorial within your community
Gathers community input for future product and services.
How do those tenants translate into being your own community manager for a home based business?
A community advocate – this is your walk and talk stage. You need to be in your community and letting everyone know what you and your business do. Find ways to help others and help them. Find out what your online community is. Are you in any yahoo groups relevant to what you do? Are you on twitter and facebook and linkedin? This is YOUR community – where you can make a real difference. Are you doing so?
Brand evangelist. Does your company have events and new products? What are you doing to get the word out? Some companies have strict internet guidelines that don't allow you to mention your company name and products by name. Don't let that stop you! Honor your company guidelines for sure, and be sure to find ways to talk about what you do in a more generic way. My community and new invites into the community know that I am green, work from home, and am helpful. How do they know that? Because I help others, answer questions, blog about ways to build your business and ask a lot of questions that lead to conversations.
Gathers community input for future products and services. What is it that people are looking for? What kind of service can you provide to your community? What are you and your team doing to build your business and help others along the way?
If you are successful at your business,well keep on doing what you are doing! And .. .share your tactics and business methods with your team and your community. As we help others, we help ourselves.
Not as successful as you want to be? Remember to keep doing the things that are creating the results you are looking for. Then try some other things! In this day and age of business, its all going to be about your community.
It's important to have a plan. You can go out there and just talk to everyone, but sooner rather than later you will lose your mind. In my business, I have determined the types of people I want to be talking to. For my client base, I'm looking for baby boomers and work at home moms. For my learning base, I am looking for social media experts. My business expansion base includes green minded people, local people and movers and shakers. That's it. I will probably tweek that as a go along, but its my starting plan.
Here are some sites you need to be familiar with in order to be an effective community manager:
http://www.twitter.com/ the object is to follow people and have them follow you – and create a place for discussion. Sign up, follow me @debworks. Feel free to see who I am following or even better.. go to http://www.search.twitter.com/ and search for like minded people. You can search by name, activity, groups, whatever you like!
http://twitterlocal.net Now that you are on twitter - find people that live around you!
http://www.facebook.com/ Create your facebook presence. You want to give as much info as you can. This is a great place to create your identify. Look up old friends, college buddies, political affiliations, twitter friends. You can post articles, pictures and links to sites. You can invite people to events. Add me as a friend! (Deb Brown Waterloo Iowa) Use the search feature to find like minded people – or people you wish to communicate with.
http://www.linkedin.com/ Post your professional information here.
http://www.google.com/ set up an account. You can use their analytics to analyze your website traffic, reader to follow other bloggers, alerts to have Google search a topic for you and email you results every day, blogger to write your own blog, docs to share documents – and so much more!
Remember, being your own community manager is important. Remember also – keep doing what is working and add new things a little at a time. Don't let this new job description as community manager take over your life and you stop any other action you were taking that was working!
Picture courtesy of apenny at flickr.com via creative commons agreement