091 · Become a Community Manager

If you like to spend your life on social networks, here’s an idea that should appeal to you. Becoming a community manager means managing Facebook, Instagram, and other accounts for companies, artists, and individuals. It requires certain skills, but can be a very well-paid activity if you’re good at it. So, where to start, how to find customers, what tools to use? That’s what we’ll see in this article.

What is a community manager?

A community manager is a professional responsible for managing and growing the online presence of a brand, company, personality, organization, or even an individual, on social networks. His or her main mission is to create and maintain an engaged and loyal online community around that entity.

He or she acts as a sort of ambassador for that entity, ensuring that its image and values are well represented in every communication or interaction published online. The role of the CM is multifaceted and involves interacting with community members, answering their questions, solving their problems, and fostering dialogue. This requires excellent communication skills, including the ability to handle negative comments or criticism in a polite and informative way.

The CM also creates relevant and engaging content such as written publications, videos, images, polls, contests, and many other forms of content, all with the aim of generating community interest and interaction. And to measure the effectiveness of his publications, he analyzes social media data, monitoring engagement statistics, follower numbers, conversion rates, and other key metrics to assess the impact of each strategy and make adjustments if necessary.

Finally, a good CM is constantly on the lookout for trends and news, so as to react quickly to the latest events and ensure that the brand maintains a positive, dynamic image.

What are the key skills and qualities of a community manager?

A community manager needs to possess a varied set of skills as well as certain qualities to succeed in his role. Here are those he or she should generally have, but note that some are more essential than others, depending on the type of client and communication.

  • Communication skills: These are the basics. The CM must be an excellent communicator, able to express himself clearly in writing and orally. They must also be comfortable in the art of diplomacy to handle delicate or sometimes even interactions that can be a little rough.
  • Knowledge of social media: A thorough understanding of the different platforms, their functionalities, and algorithms is also crucial to maximizing the impact of communication campaigns.
  • Creativity: Creating engaging content is essential to maintain community interest. A CM must be able to develop original ideas for written publications, videos, competitions, etc.
  • Media creation: Creating captivating images, videos, and other visuals is important, and so is knowledge of graphic design software (Photoshop, Canva, etc.).
  • Writing skills: Writing well is good, but writing convincingly is fundamental to writing quality publications, responses to comments, or blog posts if applicable.
  • Customer service: A good CM must have excellent customer service skills to answer questions, solve problems, and handle complaints professionally and efficiently.
  • Project management skills: Managing multiple tasks and multiple social media accounts can be complex. The ability to organize, plan, and prioritize is essential.
  • Data analysis: Analysis of social network data is necessary to assess the effectiveness of various campaigns and make adjustments. Mastery of analysis tools is therefore essential.
  • Reactivity and crisis management: In difficult or crisis situations, a community manager must be able to react quickly to problems and manage crises with finesse and professionalism.
  • Brand knowledge: A thorough understanding of the brand or entity he/she represents is essential to convey its image and values in an optimal and authentic way.
  • Empathy: Understanding the needs and concerns of the community is essential to responding appropriately and building positive, lasting relationships.
  • Adaptability: A good CM must be able to adapt to new functionalities, algorithm changes and any other evolution of the tools used.
  • Team spirit: Collaboration with other departments, such as marketing or customer service, is often necessary to successfully implement communication campaigns.

It’s a long list, I know, but the most important skills can be learned fairly quickly.

How to become a community manager?

If you want to become a community manager, it’s essential to develop the skills and knowledge I mentioned in the previous chapter to master the various aspects of this profession. To achieve this, there are several learning routes to suit everyone’s needs and preferences, whether you’re a novice or already initiated in certain areas.

One way is to follow specialized training courses. Many official and private institutions offer training programs in social media management, covering topics ranging from content creation to data analysis. These courses can be delivered face-to-face or online, depending on your preferences and schedule.

If you prefer a more autonomous approach, a wealth of resources are available online. Platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera or LinkedIn Learning offer courses led by industry experts. These courses provide a solid grounding in communications strategy, engaging content creation, and community management techniques. In addition, you’ll also find some interesting resources, in the form of videos on YouTube, podcasts on streaming platforms, or blog posts via Google.

You should also be aware that recognized organizations such as HubSpot, Hootsuite et Google offer certification programs that attest to the skills you have acquired. These certifications can be an invaluable asset to your career and reinforce your credibility as a professional.

But learning isn’t limited to courses and certifications, and practical experience is just as crucial. Creating and managing your own social networking accounts, participating in group projects, or securing an internship are excellent ways to develop your community management skills. This experience will help you understand the real challenges you’ll face professionally.

Infography: A typical day in the life of a community manager Infography: A typical day in the life of a community manager

How to launch a career as a community manager?

Embarking on a career as a community manager can be a stimulating adventure, but it requires methodical planning, an investment of time and energy in acquiring the requisite skills, and also unwavering motivation to achieve your goal.

First of all, it’s crucial to understand what a community manager actually does (I think I made that clear at the start of this article). So, once you’ve got a clear vision of the job, you can decide whether it’s right for you, and take the next step, which is to follow the training courses I’ve already mentioned.

You can then gain practical experience by creating your own accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, and any others you find interesting. And alongside this, you can also look for internship or volunteer opportunities with companies or organizations that are looking to develop their presence on social networks.

And even if your goal is to become a freelancer, you can start your career by working within a company to gain experience. In this case, look for job offers on specialized sites or directly on the websites of the companies you’re interested in.

But right from the start, collect screenshots of content you’ve created, campaigns you’ve managed, and positive results you’ve achieved. And when you’ve got enough, create a portfolio. It’s a great way to demonstrate your skills and value to future clients or potential employers.

Finally, networking plays a key role in launching a CM career. Join social media-related Facebook and LinkedIn groups, participate in discussions, and socialize with other industry professionals. It’s always a good idea to make connections in the field you’re working in.

But the best way to get started, especially if you want to work on your own, is through freelance platforms. These will enable you to create a profile and offer your services to potential clients from all over the world. Among the best-known platforms are Fiverr, UpWork, PeoplePerHour or ComeUp. I’ve written a full article on the best way to get started on Fiverr (but it’s valid for other platforms too), if you’re interested.

How do you set your community manager rates?

Taking the time to set appropriate rates is essential to ensure that your work is fairly remunerated while remaining competitive in the marketplace. To do this, you’ll first need to assess your experience and skills: the more experienced you are, the higher the rates you can charge. Also take into account your years of experience in the field, your previous successes and your specific expertise too.

If you work exclusively with local customers, also consider the geographic region in which you operate. Rates vary according to the cost of living and demand in your area, so do some research to get an idea of the average rates charged by other CMs in the area. Also look at what they offer in terms of services and rates. This will give you an overview of the market and help you determine where you stand in relation to the competition (whether local or online)

Also consider operational costs and expenses related to your business, such as account management tools, graphic design software, and so on. Make sure your rates cover these costs and allow you to make a profit.

And don’t be afraid to offer different pricing options for different levels of service. Variable rates can attract a wider range of customers since some may need a full service while others prefer one-off help.

Finally, you can adjust your rates over time, increasing them as you gain experience and notoriety. This can reflect your value in the marketplace, but don’t forget to communicate these changes transparently to your existing customers. And by the way, don’t forget to offer special rates to reward your most loyal customers.

What are the essential tools of a community manager?

Let’s take a look at the tools you’re likely to use in your work. You’ll certainly see them in detail during your training courses, but the fact that you’re already aware of them will enable you to explore them if you feel like it.

  • Management tools: Hootsuite, Buffer ou Sprout Social enable you to plan, schedule, and publish content on several social networks simultaneously. They also offer tracking and interaction management features.
  • Content planners: Loomly or CoSchedule help organize and schedule content on social media, visualizing the editorial calendar, and ensuring regular publication.
  • Content creation tools: Canva, Adobe Express and VistaCreate are online graphic design tools that make it easy to create eye-catching visuals for your publications. Alternatively, there are more professional tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
  • Data analyzers: Google Analytics, as well as the statistics tools integrated into social networks, provide essential information on publication performance, audience growth, and community engagement.
  • Monitoring tools: Community managers need to keep abreast of the latest trends and relevant discussions. Monitoring tools such as Google Alerts help track important topics.
  • Link managers: Bitly or Sniply allow you to shorten links for social media posts and track their performance.
  • Automated response tools: Chatbots and automated response tools like ManyChat or SendPulse can be used to answer frequently asked questions quickly and efficiently.
  • Collaboration tools: For community management teams, collaboration tools like Slack ou Trello facilitate communication and task management.
  • Monitoring tools: Brandwatch or Talkwalker can be used to track mentions across the entire web and gain an in-depth understanding of brand perception.

How can you maintain your motivation and creativity?

Over time, you may find yourself going through phases of fatigue, where your motivation wanes and your level of creativity dips into the doldrums. Both of these factors are essential to maintaining a dynamic and engaging online presence. So, taking regular breaks is therefore essential.

Creativity can’t be forced all the time, which means it’s important to step back, relax, get away from the screens and recharge your batteries. Spend time with loved ones, go for a walk in nature, practice a sport you enjoy, or take up a hobby (preferably without screens). What’s more, these moments of retreat can often be the spark that triggers new, creative ideas.

Remember also to reconnect with your initial passion for what you do. Remember why you became a freelance community manager. Identify what motivates you in your niche. Sometimes, just a few hours’ break can be enough to boost your motivation, so do it systematically and according to your possibilities.

Tips and tricks for success as a community manager

Let’s end this article with a few tips to help you get started. Note that some of these points are ideas that have come to me from my inner thoughts, so you’ll have to test them to see if they’re right for you.

  • Identify your niche: Instead of covering every field, focus on a specific niche that you’re passionate about and in which you excel (fashion, sports, technology, travel, animals, etc.). This can help you attract customers with more targeted needs.
  • Continuous learning: Social media is constantly evolving. Stay up to date with the latest trends, new platform features, and best practices by following blogs, online groups, and webinars.
  • Be responsive: When working on your customers’ accounts, be sure to respond quickly to comments and messages. Active engagement is essential to maintaining and developing an online community.
  • Create an editorial calendar: Organize your publications using an editorial calendar. Plan ahead to ensure consistency in the content you share.
  • Use targeted advertising: Learn how to use paid advertising on Facebook and other advertising platforms to reach specific audiences. This can be a fast and effective way of increasing your visibility.
  • Provide reporting and analysis: Offer regular reports on the performance of your customer’s community. Show how your work is having a concrete and positive impact on their objectives.
  • Ask for referrals: Don’t hesitate to ask your satisfied customers for a recommendation or testimonial. Positive references reinforce your credibility.
  • Organize Q&A sessions: Regularly organize live Q&A sessions on Facebook or YouTube to engage your community directly. This allows followers to interact in real time, strengthening the relationship and building trust.
  • Use automation sparingly: While automation can be useful, avoid overusing it. Authenticity is essential on social networks. Use automation tools for repetitive tasks, but maintain a human presence for direct interaction with the community.
  • Create compelling stories: Use storytelling to create captivating stories around the brand. People are more receptive to stories than to simple promotional messages.
  • Measure emotional impact: Analyze how emotions play a role in community engagement. Design content that evokes strong, positive emotions to strengthen the connection (inspiring testimonials, motivating quotes, humorous content, etc.).
  • Make unexpected collaborations: Collaborate with well-known influencers, local artists, or other non-competing brands on creative projects. These collaborations can broaden your audience and bring in new content ideas.
  • Listen to the community: Monitor community comments, questions, and concerns. Always respond tactfully and professionally and show that you’re taking the community’s opinions into account.
  • Keep a work-life balance: Freelancing can be time-consuming at times. Make sure you take time for yourself and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Conclusion

Becoming a freelance community manager can be an exciting adventure, but it requires a mix of skill, creativity, and commitment. In this article, we’ve explored the different aspects of this profession, from the very definition of the role to the best way to get started, as well as the essential tools and how to set appropriate rates.

This activity has become essential in today’s digital age, where social media play a central role in communication, marketing, and interaction with the connected public. So, even if the number of CMs continues to grow worldwide, there will always be room for newcomers as the online communications market is vast and exponential.

But now, it’s your turn to have your say: Why do you want to become a community manager? Do you have any additional questions or tips to share? Feel free to leave a comment below and join the conversation. Your thoughts, questions, and feedback are invaluable to other readers.

EcoTips

Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

The job of community manager, although primarily focused on online communication, can have a negative environmental impact that can manifest itself in a number of ways—the main one being the creation and distribution of digital content, especially HD images, video, and audio content, which generates a carbon footprint due to the energy consumption required to store and distribute this data on the Internet.

To limit this impact, you can adopt sustainable practices, such as optimizing the size of multimedia files to reduce the bandwidth needed to download them and the space used to store them. Using servers powered by renewable energy, like Greengeeks for example, is also an effective way of reducing this environmental impact.

And you can encourage awareness of this issue within your community by sharing relevant information and supporting causes linked to preserving the planet.

Finally, frequent use of energy-hungry electronic devices such as computers can lead to increased energy consumption. In this case, you could opt for an entry-level laptop bought second-hand rather than a new, top-of-the-range desktop model.

Pros

  • You can work from home or even while traveling.
  • A creative job that gives you the opportunity to express your full potential.
  • The possibility of managing several customers, which can generate a steady income.

Cons

  • You’ll sometimes have to deal with negative or violent reactions, online crisis situations, and tight deadlines, which can be stressful.
  • Social networks operate 24/7, which can require constant availability, including evenings and weekends.
  • Competition can be fierce, depending on sector and location.
Disclaimer, please read this

Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local adminitration before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.

Please also note that there are currently NO affiliate links on Sweekr! This means that NO commission is charged when you make a purchase from any of the sites recommended here. Some links are optimized for performance testing only, and each recommendation reflects the opinions or evaluations of the writer of this article. And be sure you'll be notified if (and when) this situation ever changes.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments

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