Beginner’s Guide: A Community Manager’s Handbook
The startup buzzword for the last few years is Community. And it’s not going away anytime soon. Many companies are realizing how important it is to build with the community at early stages and this has opened up a stream of Community Management job opportunities.
I’ve been in the community niche for the past 2 years and working as a Community Manager professionally for the past year. I’ve helped build some developer and B2B communities — She Code Africa, OSCAfrica, KCDAfrica, Afropolitan, and currently working with the amazing community team @sourcegraph to build a growing community of Sourcegraph advocates. I am also a very vibrant member of various tech and startup communities such as Hashnode, Dev.to, FreeCodeCamp, etc., so you can say I’ve been managed as well.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you some of the things I think every community manager/ advocate should get armed with, some communities to join, and resources to leverage if you want to venture into this path.
Let’s start from the beginning…
What is Community Management?
According to HubSpot, Community management is the process of building an authentic community among a business’s customers, employees, and partners through various types of interaction. It’s how a brand uses opportunities (in-person and online) to interact with its audience to create a network in which it can connect, share, and grow.
We’ve gradually moved away from the times of advertisement to the time of adoption. I’ve discovered that developers don’t like to be marketed to, they basically use products that help them achieve a task or solve a problem, and would stick to it, so long as it works.
Every company needs a community of loyal advocates to thrive. Companies want to build vibrant and strategic communities, build advocates who will do the talking (via User Generated Content) while they focus on improving their experience.
…and that is where you come in.
Skills a Community Manager Should Possess
- Knowledge around the product
- Attention to details
- Writing Skills
- Social Media Prowess
- Moderation abilities
- Ability to learn fast
The skills above are as explanatory as they can get. If you don’t have any of them, it’ll be great for you to start working on them ASAP, as they are the key things that’ll determine your success in this field.
Articles to read
Trust me, I’ve read so many articles on community management, in a bid to learn more, and get better at my career. I’ve listed some of the articles I found most useful when I started out.
- 1000 true fans
- Building community by Lenny
- How to become a better developer community manager
- Community ≠ Marketing: Why We Need Go-to-Community, Not Just Go-to-Market
- 10 Online Community Engagement Tactics You Can Steal
- How to Plan Your Developer Community’s Activities for a Whole Year
- How to Boost Engagement with Community Rituals
- Community Content: How to Build Your Community ‘Snack Table’
Communities to Join
Community Managers to Follow (Twitter)
- Rosie Sherry — Founder RossieLand — @rossiesherry
- David Spinks — Founder CMX — @davidspinks
- Jana Boruta — Events and Experiences Manager — @janaboruta
- Krystal Wu — Community Manager Shopify — @krystalwu
- Shannon Emery — Community Manager Higher Logic — @llamasayswhat
Some Companies with a Community to look up to for inspiration
Community management is a process and not a destination. So many times, you’d find yourself failing, or rocking it. Either way, it is important to always measure your success, define your KPIs and what success looks like for you. More importantly, always learn from them, and restrategize or repeat.
I’ll be updating this article from time to time, with new learnings and updates on Community Management. I hope this gives you a good start as a Community Manager. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a dm via Twitter.