Whenever, Wherever – Community is Not 9-5

Not every community manager is part of a team that is set up to constantly monitor the 24/7 world of social media. Many of us are teams of one, and you can’t be sitting at a computer every minute of every day, waiting for something to happen.

community manager asleep

photo credit: Aaron Jacobs

Having said that, you can not allow your community to go unattended to and your members left hanging, especially when it could be with a potential customer service issue. It amazes me, how many brands, especially the larger ones who have capacity to staff, leave tweets abandoned  or questions unanswered on Facebook.

There is no formula to find the sweet spot while juggling the work/life balance. Finding that is something different for each person. Here are a few ideas to help you find yours.
Set Expectations and Limits

When you first set up how you will be working with your community, set your limits right away. Give yourself a time limit (for office hours) set a standard for yourself as to how often you check on what is being said and how soon you reply. For example, I make it a point of replying withing 10 minutes of seeing a comment, even if it is just saying that I will look into an issue and respond. Reply honestly and non robotically to people, no one wants to be on the receiving line of a cut and paste answer.

Do you only respond during certain hours of the day? Make sure that is clearly written out so people are aware.

Set Up Alerts

When you are in your “off” hours, you do need to be aware of what is going on. You don’t want to come back from a weekend, or even a lunch break, and see something horrible has gone wrong with your accounts (Burger King anyone?) Set up your accounts to ping you when you receive a tweet or a comment. Mobile devices keep your community in your pocket for a reason.

Get in the habit of checking in on your accounts once or twice a day when you are out of the office. It keeps things running smoothly and you in the loop without keeping you a slave to the job.

Find A Reliable Back Up

This probably will be the hardest step on the list. Find a coworker(s) you can trust and who understands what managing a community is about. Keep them in the loop so they can help you out when you need to take some time away.

How do you keep your community running smoothly 24/7/365?

Carrie Keenan
Carrie Keenan is a Social Media Community Manager and blogger out of Appleton, WI. I work with both B2B and B2C clients, but I prefer to call them all P2P. I am actively involved in the Wisconsin Irish community as the social media chair for Oshkosh Irish Fest. I’m a proud geek and book nerd, lover of big words, rhyme & alliteration.

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