A community manager is expected to be a jack-of-all-trades. You must be knowledgeable about the brand and its product or service, as well as all the people that make up the community. You need to know how to best interact on every social network, how to create interesting and engaging content, and how to benchmark and measure these efforts quantitatively and qualitatively.
Social channels are constantly changing, and CMs must stay on top of any updates or shifts in focus. There’s a virtually endless number of tools and resources to help community managers stay informed of industry news, improve their work and contribute to their communities.
As a community manager myself, I’m always looking for new tools and love to hear insight from fellow professionals on how they accomplish their goals. Over the years, I’ve curated this valuable toolkit. Here are my picks for channels to tune in and learn, where to connect with others, and resources to help you step up your game and raise the bar in your organization and beyond.
Tune In: Digital Media Resources
In this age of content overload, audio and video are a great way to digest information quickly. Whether short or long format, viewers can tune in and learn from the producers of these valuable episodes.
- Marketingpodcasts.com: Brought to you by Convince & Convert, this is a great site to find a marketing-focused podcast. All shows are categorized by subtopic and can be sorted alphabetically, by number of episodes, by audience rating or by total reviews.
- Reply All: This is a show about the Internet created by the folks at Gimlet Media. Gimlet was founded by Alex Blumberg, formerly of NPR. The show isn’t directly related to community, but the narrative episodes cover some aspects of the Internet that can inspire content ideas and new perspective.
- #AskGaryVee Show: Gary Vaynerchuck kicks butt. Seriously. Watch one of his videos and tell me you’re not pumped up to take on the world. He talks about wine as well as digital and social media marketing on his show of all user-submitted questions.
- Jay Today: Jay Baer is a no-frills business and social guy. He posts everyday on a variety of topics, but always has a really interesting take and gives sage advice for running an organization or community.
- Epipheo: This channel creates fun, animated videos that explain various things. Though not all are marketing related, they inspire viewers to think differently.
Connect: Engagement Resources
Connecting is second nature to community managers. Not only is it beneficial to connect with their audiences, but also with other industry professionals.
- List of (almost) all chats: Gnosis Media maintains this long list of Twitter chats on virtually every topic. You can sort by day of the week, alphabetically or by subject. Joining in on the conversation in different chats can grow your reach and connections very quickly.
- #Sproutchat: We host this Twitter chat every Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT to discuss all things social media marketing. We have an incredible community of knowledgable professionals who return week after week with thoughtful insights and GIFs galore. I moderate as @sprout_sarah and love seeing new faces. Mark your calendar and join me!
- #Cmgrhangout: Community Manager Hangout is a longstanding Google Hangout/Twitter chat that takes place every Friday at 1 p.m. CT. Jonathan Brewer and Sherrie Rohde co-host a panel of experts and field questions from Twitter. They’re always open to new topics; submit your request here.
Upcoming In-Person Events
- Sprint Europe by Feverbee (Feb. 24-25, 2015): Feverbee is all about communities. Rich Millington founded the organization to teach community professionals best practices and the speaker lineup for this upcoming conference looks to do just that.
- The Gathering (Feb. 18-20, 2015): A very unique conference hosted in the mountains in Banff, Alberta, Canada, this event features well-known brands sharing their best practices for storytelling and creating a cult following.
- Moz Con (July 13-15, 2015): Moz is a software company with analytics and SEO tools. Founder Rand Fishkin also helped create Inbound.org, an incredible hub for marketing pros to share information and discuss industry topics and best practices.
Find a New Gig
- Social Media Jobs: This is a really active Facebook group of people connected to the industry. There are several new jobs posted every day and sometimes a specific contact to refer you to the hiring manager.
- Cloud Peeps: Cloud Peeps is a relatively new organization with the goal of connecting community managers and brands. Brands post what they’re looking for in terms of content and offer an amount for compensation and a specific timeframe. Freelancers who are a good fit can pitch the company to take on the work.
- CMX Job Board: CMX is a phenomenal media company focused on community. Though the list isn’t vast, the jobs are solid and should be approached with research and thought.
- The Muse: This site is all about connecting professionals with companies that are a great fit. It gives a visually appealing look into organizations and highlights the culture and mission. Not all openings are community focused, but you can narrow down to “Social media & community” specifically.
Raise the Bar: Performance Resources
A community manager is only as good as their toolkit. Professionals in this industry still often need to justify their role and importance, as well as communicate with an audience that is increasingly unaffected.
- Twitter Case Studies: Convince your boss that social matters with these solid stories of success via Twitter. These cases are valid examples showing the power and capability that social can has.
- Canva: Don’t have a design team, but need good graphics for social? Canva is a user-friendly, popular tool for beginners to create beautiful images to better tell their brand’s story.
- Giphy: Giphy is GIFs. Everyone loves GIFs. They lighten the mood, make people laugh, and help you or your brand show a little personality.
- Slides that Rock: You’re not in junior high anymore. No one wants to sit through your boring presentation. This site is chock-full of examples of effective decks that will get your point across in an engaging manner.
- Movy: Movy is a video platform meant for messaging and collaborating with others for fun or work. Instead of a chain of emails, users can communicate with a direct or publicly posted video message of any length.
- Asana: “Teamwork without email” is Asana’s tagline. The platform brings all projects, tasks, and communication to one place. It’s a single stop for communication and completing tasks efficiently among multiple contributors.
- Trello: Trello is a teamwork tool. Users can set up department-focused boards and create lists that track a project from concept to completion. Each project is a card and any team member can comment or move the project from one list to another.
Have anything to add? Tweet me @sprout_sarah. I’ll be updating this list quarterly so be sure to bookmark this page!
Sarah Nagel: Sarah Nagel is the Senior Manager, Brand Advocacy & Community at Sprout Social. She heads community building initiatives as well as Sprout’s advocacy program, Sprout All Stars. Sarah is a champion for empowering passionate and enthusiastic customers and believes in the huge impact an engaged community can have on an organization’s bottom line. Outside of work, she loves taking on home renovation projects, spending time with her husband and two rescue dogs and making the best guacamole you’ve ever had.