Google+ Hangout: Habits of Successful Community Managers

As a community manager, you’re passionate about social media and the brand being represented. And while it’s a rewarding role, sometimes demanding hours and customers can turn that passion into burnout. Fulfilling a job description is only half of the challenge; community managers must also be able to balance the intensity of the job with their personal needs.

During last Friday’s #CMGRHangout, we spoke with a panel of talented community managers to get some insight into their daily workflows, including how they manage their time, handle the stresses of working in a highly visible role, and battle burnout. If you missed Habits of Successful Community Managers, you check out some of the highlights from the discussion and view the full video below.

Panelists included My Community Manager’s Sherrie Rohde, Grasshopper’s Mary Mallard, Gossip Genie’s Darryl Villacorta, Buzz to Bucks’ Maria Duron, Twilio’s Erika Balbuena, Kapost’s Andrew J. Coate,’s David DeWald, and Sprout Social’s Brit Thompson and Sarah Nagel.

Divide Up Your Workday

There are many misconceptions around what it is community managers actually do. While getting paid to tweet and blog might seem like a sweet gig, there are actually many different layers to the role. Social media is a real-time, around-the-clock resource, and being a community manager is demanding work. Staying focused is a necessity.

There are dozens of tasks requiring your attention at any given time. Dividing your work day into different chunks allows you to focus on different activities. Make sure, however, that you know what you’re going to do before you step foot in the office because chances are something else will grab your attention before you reach your desk.

At the beginning of each day, make a list of everything that you want to accomplish. Gossip Genie’s Darryl Villacorta encouraged everyone to take advantage of calendars and notifications. Schedule everything from team meetings to lunch breaks to birthday parties. And at times, you might need to block out time to actually get things done — open up your calendar, mark a time slot as busy, and let your team know that you can’t be disturbed.

Mentors and Help Are Everywhere

Creative ideas can happen anywhere, but sometimes community managers need help getting the creative juices flowing. Fortunately, you’ve got two incredible resources at your fingertips: your team and your community. Set aside a core group of colleagues and bounce ideas off of each other. But as Erika Balbuena from Twilio pointed out, make sure that they’ll challenge you and push you to dive deeper and further explore an idea. Don’t just surround yourself with “yes men.”

Additionally, you can turn to your community for ideas and collaborative opportunities. Kapost’s Andrew Coate said his team relies on an interactive LinkedIn Group to help inspire blog content.

“Our content team asks questions of the community in there and that spawns about a blog post per week. It has even inspired bigger content like infographics,” he said. Or do what Thunderhead’s David DeWald suggested, and establish a core group of community members to give first looks to and pull feedback from.

Figure Out What Downtime Means to You

Like we said, community management is 24/7. Carving out time for yourself is important to stay fresh and recharged. A common theme among the panel was to unplug and schedule downtime, but first you need to figure out what downtime means to you.

For Erika, she prefers to get out, travel, and talk to other people. One of her favorite ways to recharge is to get out from behind the computer and visit community members offline. At the same time, she makes sure to have some regular quiet time. It’s important to schedule time just for yourself, whether that means taking a power nap in the break room, going for a run, or spending time with family unplugged.

At Grasshopper, employees aren’t allowed to eat lunch at their desks. You have to take a lunch break. This is a great time to talk with team members about topics that don’t have anything to do with work. Enjoy good conversation and food, and when you’re done, you’re refreshed and ready to take on whatever the afternoon brings. The Kapost team likes to loosen up together through whiteboard sessions. “Get in a room with a couple of beers and a whiteboard, there’s a lot of creative energy there,” said Andrew.

Even though we highlighted some general themes from the discussion above, we recommend giving the video a watch when you have time for additional tips and resources.