Are you the only Community Manager or social media practitioner in your company? Allow me to shake your virtual hand. It can be a tough gig. Here are a few tips for “lone wolf” community managers to help make things, well, more manageable.
Set up your command center.
Think of yourself as the social media air traffic controller and have the information you need to run your community either right in front of you or just a click away. Monitoring tools that combine social streams into one “master feed” are your friend. I’m a fan of Sprout Social for small to mid-size businesses. For the channels you can’t consolidate into a single dashboard, consider a password manager to keep track of all of your login credentials and generate unique passwords for you. There are several solid, inexpensive options… I use LastPass. Finally, no matter what your setup may be, make it accessible from all of your devices. Because the reality of being a lone wolf is that you’re keeping an eye on your communities outside of the 9-5 workday.
Advocate for yourself.
As a lone wolf, you’re the only one who knows exactly what it is that you do. If you need additional tools or support to do your job, it’s unlikely anyone will deliver them to you spontaneously. You’ll need to ask for what you need. Back it up with data to make a business case for your request.
Also, as a “team of one” you may not necessarily be included in particular collaboration groups, distribution lists or meetings. If there’s someplace you feel you need to be heard, claim your seat at the table.
Toot your own horn.
You won’t have someone looking over your shoulder and patting you on the back when you’re on your own. Much of what a community manager does happens behind the scenes. So when you do something awesome, shout it from the rooftops. And if you’ve been tracking your metrics (and you should be), back up your brag with data.
Assemble a team.
There’s no need to live on an island. The community manager shouldn’t be isolated in their work, and often it’s up to you to create a formal training program to pull in your colleagues and force introduce them to social tools.
Still scared to hand your colleagues the keys? Be the go-between. When I first introduced our customer service team to Twitter, I didn’t give them their own account. I had them email me their ideas for tweets. That gave me customer stories to share as twitter content without the risk of new Twitter users posting something inappropriate.
Have “sub plans” ready for any planned absence.
My background is in education, and as you probably know, if a teacher is going to be absent from school, you leave plans for the substitute teacher so they know what to do. Some “lone wolves” feel like they can never really go on vacation, because who would manage the community? Who would post to the blog? But there are ways to get away. Use a scheduling or automation tool to auto-post while you’re gone. (I like using Buffer to set up a Twitter “drip campaign”.) Have a colleague you trust take over other aspects of your job that can’t be automated.
Sure, community engagement may not be as healthy while you’re away. But on the flip-side, consider how that dip in engagement can help justify your worth when you return.
Photo credit: ahlea on Flickr