3 Ideas For Growing Your Community Marketing Team

b2b_community_management_team_marketingMost B2B community professionals are overworked. They often dream about the day when they can hire more people to help take care of their branded community. That way, they can spend time with their family (or dog, or rock collection, or Netflix account) instead of answering yet another forum post in their downtime.

While you may not have the resources to add staff members to your team today, there are some things you can do to make those new hire dreams a reality.

Here, we’ve put together three things every B2B community manager should consider of they’re thinking about growing their community team.

1. Know when it’s time to grow

Even though your workload may be heavy, it’s difficult to know just when the time is right to begin adding people to your team.

One place to start is with your objectives. For example, if you’ve set a community objective that every forum post will receive a response within two hours, and you’re unable to meet that objective because you or your teammates are too busy with other tasks, then it’s either time to realign and reprioritize, or get some more resources.

Before you even get to the overworked stage, though, you should consider putting some measures in place to ensure you’re prepared for any unexpected future demands on your team. Hiring part-time help, or even recruiting your advocates to help with some of the daily community tasks will help you focus on more strategic work.

One more word about objectives: When trying to convince executives that it’s time to grow your team, be sure to speak their language. If you’re able to relate your community objectives to business objectives, and position new hires as critical to helping you achieve long-term strategic goals, you’re more likely to get the resources and support you need from the top.

2. Tap into your community

Community managers agree that one of the most important qualities a community team member can have is empathy. And who better to put themselves in the shoes of a community member than a fellow member?

This is why hiring from your community—or asking advocates who are active in your community to pitch in—makes so much sense.

“I’m a big advocate of hiring within the community,” said Kelly Hungerford, community builder and social business strategist, during a panel at this year’s Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD).

“It’s not only loyalty, growth and sales—focusing on that core community of loyal users, you can do a lot of hiring. There are a lot of advantages when someone knows your product and you can bring them in.”

If you haven’t been given extra headcount, get creative. In return for asking your advocates to take on some tasks, do things to help them be recognized as leaders in your community. It will make them feel appreciated and happy to do more.

3. Find the right skillsets

Building the most effective team means making sure you’re covering all of your responsibilities with people who best fit the necessary roles.

According to the CTR’s Community Management Skills Framework, there are four categories of skills essential to the profession:

  • Engagement and people skills
  • Content development skills
  • Strategic and business skills
  • Technical skills

Which do community managers say are most important? According to the CTR, 64 percent of community managers name engagement and people skills as the most important to their role, while 75 percent rank technical skills as least important.

No matter which mix of skills you decide is right for your team, it’s important that you continually assess how well your staff is aligned with their responsibilities.

Jennifer Sable Lopez, director of community at Moz, told the CMAD audience that the best way to do this is to:

(1) define your areas of responsibility (managing social, Q&A forums, events, etc.);

(2) assign an owner to each area; and

(3) every six months or so, re-evaluate to be sure your team is aligned.

Her final piece of advice for those who want to build a community team? Always have a backup.

Other than the obvious sick day or vacation time coverage, cross-training your staff can help ensure that your community is always taken care of. “We’re all each other’s backup,” she said. “If something comes up, we know what everyone else is supposed to be doing.”

One Response to 3 Ideas For Growing Your Community Marketing Team

  1. […] that you have enough community staff, developing a cross-functional community team and encouraging policy and governance structures at the organization level to support the community […]

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