From neighborhood get-togethers to social media groups, communities and community members play a big part in our lives. And with the growth of online platforms, we are now able to create and manage our own communities.
Along with giving us the chance to meet people with similar lifestyles and interests, these online communities are also more flexible and responsive than traditional communities. In this article, you can find out about what a community is, the roles of online community members, and how to efficiently manage your community.
What Is a Community?
Whether they be online or in-person, communities are formations that emerge when people with common characteristics come together. There are endless possibilities as to what these characteristics may be. For example, your neighborhood community emerges because of your place of residence, while your religious community results from your common beliefs with people. Simply put, communities give us a way to meet under the same roof and interact with each other comfortably.
Community members feel a sense of belonging and togetherness, which improves their interpersonal communications. This communication can help members in different areas of life depending on the community in question. Namely, family is a kind of community that provides people with financial and emotional support. Another example of this would be a gaming community that connects gamers and allows them to share their gaming experience with others.
What are the roles of online community members?
Like in other types of communities, online community members are assigned certain roles. These roles vary depending on the type of community you are a member of. So let’s look at three main examples of online communities and what roles the community members may adopt.
Communities of social media content creators:
The roles within the community of a content creator are pretty straightforward. A content creator’s community usually only consists of their audience and themselves. For example, if you’re a YouTuber who shares daily vlogs, the majority of your community will adopt a follower role while you have the role of a community leader.
This understanding of a social media community is at the core of many platforms, and it helps people relate to each other on a deeper level. This follower-leader relationship also creates alternative ways for content creators to reach out to their audience. Selling merchandise or doing advertisements are some ways content creators financially benefit from this relationship while the followers enjoy interacting with their favorite influencers and becoming a part of their life.
Some gaming communities like Twitch channels can be put under the category we mentioned previously. But people also create gaming communities on platforms like Discord and Reddit. The roles in these platforms are usually flexible and not hierarchical. But a group of people with a vital role in these communities is moderators.
Moderators work to avoid unwanted content or negative interactions in the community. Every community has its own rules, and it is a moderator’s job to detect and eliminate unwanted behavior such as vulgar language, unrelated content, or spamming. In short, it is thanks to the moderators that the rest of the community can share their gaming experience comfortably without unwanted distractions.
Nonprofit communities constitute a great portion of online groups. The appropriate distribution of roles is crucial for such communities to function properly. Therefore, many nonprofits use online platforms and management software to facilitate and automate their community management processes.
Fundraising is central to nonprofits, and efficient fundraising can only be ensured with good organization. The collection of donations brings along the need for accounting and marketing positions while sharing your cause with people requires a good human resources team. And of course, these roles can only be distributed efficiently under an executive.
The details of roles you need to assign your nonprofit community members are highly dependent on your specific cause and fundraising methods, so earning more about all nonprofit roles and responsibilities will surely help you have a clear idea about what your community needs.
How to Efficiently Manage Your Community
We have mentioned that different online communities need community members to adopt different roles. Though these online communities require different perspectives and ways of operation, one thing they all need is efficient management.
Always be on the lookout for solutions
The most important quality of a community manager is actively seeking improvement. The best methods and practices for a community can only be found through research.
The best free tool you can use for research is, you guessed it, the Internet. Though this may sound like an obvious tip, you’d be surprised to see how many people fail to optimize their Internet research.
For your specific questions or problems, forums and blog articles can provide the best solutions. These posts are usually written by people who have experienced the same problems and found solutions already. Even if it is a technical problem you are experiencing, looking up some entries online will save you so much time and money.
You can also optimize your YouTube research to learn great management practices. YouTube contains many videos from other community managers, HR specialists, and even psychologists to help you gain a better understanding of how to manage and interact with your community. For instance, this TEDtalk on social interaction can teach you many tips in just a couple of minutes.
Make use of online management tools
Even for offline communities, using manual community management methods is usually inefficient. Ensuring the organization of your community members is crucial, and this becomes harder as you want to achieve more with your community.
This is exactly when membership management software comes to the rescue. There are many CRM tools and all-in-one management software that you can use to manage your community members online. You can think of this software as an assistant that will organize your contacts and facilitate member communication for you.
Adding another dimension of communication to your community will help members engage better. Not only will your community members enjoy this new connection but having contacts and member profiles sorted in an online environment will make management much simpler for you.
…And that’s it!
Now you know all the basics of community membership, member roles, and how to manage a community. Using these tips and reading other helpful articles from our blog, you can improve your community with simple but efficient steps.
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