Community Management

Do's & Don'ts of Your First Month as Head of Community

March 24, 2022

Let’s set the scene…You were recently hired to lead community efforts at a reputable company. You’re psyched! You’re ready! It’s your first day, and you’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity. You’re all set to strut your way into this new role and show them what you’re made of. 

Before you unleash your community-godlike-powers, you’ll want to heed some simple do’s and don’ts about your job. And while we are calling these “simple,” it doesn’t mean that they’re easy, so take note and make sure you’re prepared. 

The Do’s

✅ Get ready to LISTEN.

Much of your first few months on the job will be a period of listening and assessing. If you’ve got big ideas to contribute, don’t worry, you’ll get that chance, but first, see what others are saying. Then, you’ll have a better sense of how your big ideas could fit in to the broader picture. 

✅  Set up your internal stakeholder meetings.

Use this time to not only introduce yourself but to also find out the biggest challenges these stakeholders are facing (this is sometimes referred to as a “roadshow”). You’ll want to take these challenges into consideration as you’re formulating your plan for the community. Think: How could the community help these stakeholders and what they’re working to accomplish?

✅  If the company already has a community, arrange meetings with a variety of community members.

Sure, you should meet with the VIPs, but why not also speak with people at different points in their community journey? Select someone who’s not a VIP but has been active for the last few months. Select another person who’s brand new to the community. And if the company does not yet have a community, use this opportunity to meet with customers to ask about their experience and challenges working with your brand. 

✅  Create an account and introduce yourself to the community!

In fact, you could even hold an event and invite people to join you for virtual coffee and some light conversation to get to know one another. In addition, spend time browsing the community. Look at the most popular posts and at the individual conversations. Get a feel for what people are talking about. 

✅  Review any community or customer surveys from within the last year.

Take note of specific themes that are frequently mentioned. 

✅  Review community analytics from the last 1-2 years, noting spikes, dips, and trends.

If there is no community yet, ask for social media and website analytics (anything that will help you better understand customer behavior). 

The Don’ts

❌  Complain.

Remember, you’re in a period of listening and assessing. Even if you discover something worthy of complaining about, park it for now and make reference to it as an Area of Improvement when you’re ready to present your plan for moving forward with the community. (Note: If you discover any instances of injustices, abuse, or harm, disregard this advice and bring up these issues IMMEDIATELY.) 

❌  Be a know-it-all.

As you are getting to know your new colleagues, approach each meeting and communication from a place of learning. You’re new, and though you have a lot to contribute, this is not the time to ride in on a high horse and claim that the community will solve everything. 

❌  Set unrealistic targets.

Eventually, you’ll be asked to benchmark certain community metrics. Try to factor in as much historical data as you can, and then set your goals based off of what you feel confident you can achieve. 

❌  Make assumptions.

If you’re unclear on some data, feedback, processes, or anything really, do what you need to do in order to get clarity and confirmation. You don’t want to move forward with your community plan based on assumptions. 

Well, what are you waiting for? Go on and step into your new role knowing exactly what you should and shouldn’t be focused on! Community kick-ass-ery awaits you!

Jenny Weigle is the Chief Community Officer and Strategic Consultant of Jenny.Community, specializing in building customer communities for enterprise brands. Jenny is an Advisor for Talkbase, and she lives in Los Angeles.

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