Recently, we celebrated the Community Manager Appreciation Day at Instamojo. A super fun day and also insightful – even to me. It helped me introspect and draw parallels between community management and my personality.
But who am I? I’m Nikhil Marwaha and I’m the Community Manager at Instamojo. I started my marketing journey late last year and so far, it has been nothing short of an adventure. An adventure that gave me a deeper understanding of why building an online community should be a priority for every brand!
Let me share some insights with you.
Who is a community manager?
There is a very high chance you might have heard the terms “community” and “manager” separately. Or even if you’ve heard the terms together, you might be in the dark as to what it exactly means. Worry not, allow me to introduce the concept to you.
The proper definition goes something like this – “A community manager is a marketing professional responsible for the management and development of a company’s online community by building, growing and managing it online and engaging with customers via various online channels”
But if you were to ask me, I’d say that a community manager is supposed to be a marketing person, a customer support person, a content creator/moderator, and occasionally a graphic designer as well. A community manager is the voice of the brand which bridges the gap between the brand and the customer.
What is an online community?
An online community is a group of people that share common interests, and who use the Internet tools and spaces to communicate, network, share knowledge, offer services, create something together, and pursue common interests over time.
There are several ways in which an online community can scale, and understanding what type of online community is the most beneficial for your brand.
Our Instamojo brand communities were built for small business owners, independent online store owners, customers, and experts from various fields that together in one place network and build something together.
I’ve been incredibly happy in this role and what it has taught me – the perfect balance of head and heart.
Related read: Networking for small businesses: A short guide
How do you build an online community?
When someone asks me, why is a community manager important? I have one answer. A growing online community is a strong sign that people are relating to your brand values.
And, I love what I do because I love people and getting to know their stories while also being to add value to their business journey
But is it easy building this online community? Yes, if you have a clear strategy in place.
Here are a few steps you can follow when you want to build an online community-
- Set rules and guidelines
- Remember that a community is all about the people
- Encourage your community to actively participate
- Be consistent
- Track and measure
- Learn from other communities
1. Set rules and guidelines
The first most important thing is to set some rules and policies. They needn’t be too strict. In fact, think of them more as behavioural guidelines.
They should help maintain a healthy environment for everyone to be able to channel their thoughts and feedback while also networking with other like-minded individuals.
2. Remember that a community is all about the people
Engaging regularly with your community will help you learn more about your audience, their needs and their problems.
In the long run, it will benefit your brand in shaping your product.
3. Encourage your community to actively participate
Ask your audience the right questions, conduct polls – which will benefit them in their respective fields.
Once you notice an uptick in the activity rate, you could recognize top contributors to the group or individuals achieving milestones in their respective fields – give them shoutouts.
This will additionally also help you identify community leaders who could further influence other members of your community to contribute.
4. Be consistent
This is a word you hear a lot. It does not mean you overdo it. All you have to do is set a balance. Design special segments for certain days, LIVE sessions, webinars, etc. Decide on a number and frequency of posting content that will help you find your rhythm.
5. Track and measure
Designing and implementing strategies could lead to high engagement – which is great. But what if the engagement doesn’t lead to conversions?
It’s important to measure metrics like sign-up rate, engagement rate and conversion rate on your online store to make sure your strategies are successful.
6. Learn from other communities
There are several existing online communities that thrive and are bustling with members and information. There’s absolutely no harm in borrowing certain ideas that work well on other communities and testing them with your audience.
What are my major learnings as a community manager?
My biggest learning is actually an unlearning. Usually, the expectations are that community managers are extroverted and highly sociable people. While it’s true that it is a people-oriented profession, it doesn’t end there. It requires highly developed skills in empathy and communication while also executing marketing strategies.
With the constant advancement in technology and new platforms to power community building, it definitely is a focus area for every company – no matter how big or small.
I have seen incredible people share their achievements, learn from other business owners, discuss market insights, and generously give valuable advice in the Instamojo brand communities.
As an eCommerce business owner, finding and connecting to other like-minded business individuals can have a long-lasting impact. Not only for your business but also for your emotional well-being.