Community Management: Best Practices

April 26, 2024

What is Community Management?

Community management is the act of building and maintaining an online community to establish a network where all involved can communicate, exchange ideas, and foster a sense of belonging. Online communities are used by business owners and influencers as a means to encourage community engagement, increase brand loyalty, retain followers, and promote products.

In gaming, some of the noteworthy platforms used to build communities are Discord, Reddit, Facebook Groups, and Metafy

Personally, the platforms I have found most effective for driving engagement with online communities in gaming are Metafy and Discord as they are platforms designed with gaming in mind that your target audience are likely already familiar with.

What is the difference between social media management and community management?

Social media management is a management strategy where a community manager develops strategies to generate content designed to engage their target audience to increase engagement and impressions by creating content for social media such as Twitter or Instagram.

Both social media management and community management play essential but distinct roles in most online businesses' marketing and management strategies. 

Social media management is important for reaching new potential customers and creating brand awareness in a way that community management cannot. Community management on the other hand serves to create a more intimate environment for an existing audience to engage with a brand community. It helps promote community engagement and loyalty which helps your target audience humanize and trust your brand.

I primarily use Social Media to expand my online community by catering my content to my target audience. Utilizing hashtags and keywords in posts can further increase the impressions and engagements on your posts which should be the key metrics you look towards to increase your following. These help increase brand awareness and help you define your brand voice.

How do I get started in community management?

To get started in community management, it's important to first get some experience in community building and moderation. To do this you can either apply for a position in an existing online community on Discord, Facebook groups, Reddit, or here on Metafy or create your own! A great way to find communities to get experience in is going through the Discord Server Discovery to find servers that peak your interest or reaching out to some Metafy Pros to see if they need help managing their communities.

You could also complete community management classes at Udemy, Skillshare or CMX or check out job listings for community management positions at CMX and Upwork if you're hoping to do community management work outside of gaming.

Some of the key skills you should be looking to build are:

1. Communication skills:

Both written and verbal communication skills are essential to being a successful community manager. As a community manager you'll be expected to conduct yourself in a friendly and professional manner.

2. Social Media Management:

Proficiency in managing social media platforms effectively to engage with the community, share updates, and respond to feedback and inquiries will be a key skill when managing your community. This is because social media is a key tool to grow your online community.

3. Customer Service:

Any community manager is expected to have the skills to address community concerns, feedback, and inquiries in a timely, professional, and friendly manner. This is necessary to ensure a positive experience for community members.

4. Moderation Skills

Community moderation involves overseeing discussions within your community to establish a safe and protected atmosphere for its members.

Moderation is an essential skill that's important when building communities. Build your experience and ability to moderate community forums, chats, and social media channels effectively as it's important to maintain a positive and respectful environment for your followers.

5. Content Creation:

Your understanding of, and ability to create various types of content such as blog posts, videos, livestreams, and social media posts catered to your target audience is important to keep the community engaged. This also works as an excellent form of content marketing

6. Analytical Skills:

Building your understanding and proficiency in data and analytics tools to monitor community engagement and gather insights to improve community management strategies and increase metrics is important to creating as engaged of a community as possible. This allows you to see what content is most engaging to your audience. 

7. Social Networking:

Building relationships with key influencers, content creators, and community leaders that speak to your target audience to advocate for your brand. This is important to help grow and further promote the community.

8. Literacy and Understanding of Community Management Platforms:

Being able to navigate and understand community management platforms such as Discord, Metafy, Reddit and Facebook Groups is essential if you want to be a good community manager.

9. Marketing Skills:

Understanding marketing principles and strategies to promote community events, engage with potential new members, and enhance the visibility and reputation of your gaming community. This includes skills such as branding, content marketing, utilization of influencers and brand ambassadors, as well as utilizing community outreach strategies.

The role of a gaming community manager:

1. Understanding your Gaming Community

As a community manager, understanding your virtual community's game of choice as well as having a thorough understanding of your community's wants and needs is essential to building and interacting with an engaged community. This should inform your choice of platform(s) to host your community on as each platform has a different set of features to help you build your virtual community. Some of the main options to consider are:

  • Metafy

  • Discord

  • Reddit

  • Facebook Groups

2. Community cultivator

Regardless of what platform you use to manage your virtual community, as a community manager you're expected to create spaces where your followers want to spend time. Building safe and engaging spaces for your audience to enjoy is key if you want to build a thriving community.

  • Creating spaces where users can interact is important when cultivating an engaged community. Setting clear rules and guidelines for members to follow in these spaces is essential. Consider creating dedicated spaces for users to leave feedback and report other users for misconduct to ensure your online community is as safe and welcoming to new members as possible.

  • Giving your audience a chance to generate and share their content such as gameplay highlights and their own content creation efforts by creating dedicated spaces for them to share their creations with others. Many members of your audience will likely be aspiring influencers themselves so this is a great way to bring value to your audience and foster community engagement.

  • Encourage your audience opportunities to engage with one another via direct messages as well as in dedicated voice and text channels if the platform supports it. This brings value to your audience as it gives your followers a chance to meet and social network with other like-minded members.It may be important to provide a forum where members can provide feedback if they have had negative interactions.

  • To promote engagement, it's important to engage with the community yourself. As a community manager it's your job to set the expectation for how members of your online community should interact with each other. Engaging with your community will also help humanize you, your brand and promote brand loyalty.

  • To cultivate a loyal community, it's important to find ways to bring value to your audience, and give them a reason to come back! This should be a key consideration when deciding your management strategy.

3. Moderation

One of your roles as a community manager is moderation. You're expected to enforce the rules and maintain the peace when there's conflict in your community. It's essential to lead by example. Your community will look to you as a role model of how to conduct themselves. Best practices when resolving disputes in your online community include:

  • Making an effort to understand all parties' perspectives while maintaining an open line of communication with them throughout the dispute, let them know that they can reach out to you privately to discuss the matter further if they feel the need! It's important that everybody involved feels heard.

  • Remembering that it's important to remain objective and avoid letting any personal bias impact your decision-making, if you don't apply the rules equally to everybody regardless of your relationship with them or their position in the online community then people will feel as though they're not being treated fairly and your integrity will be brought into question.

  • Being firm but fair. It's important to set boundaries as to what is and is not considered acceptable behavior while still being fair to everybody involved. Don't publicly shame anybody, and handle situations privately when possible. This is critical to building brand loyalty and trust.

  • Remaining open to feedback and considering how you can adapt your management strategy to avoid similar disputes happening in your online community again.

How to efficiently manage an online community:

Some of the best practices to consider when managing a brand community are:

1. Understanding your audience:

As a community manager, understanding what your target audience values is important so you can cater your content creation and community structure to suit their wants and needs, this will help inform your management strategy which is essential to good community management.

Some of the best ways to get this information include:

  • Utilizing social listening tools such as HubSpot or Sprout Social.

  • Conducting polls or focus groups.

  • Ask your community for their opinions in dedicated forums, on social media or talk to them in voice and text chats if the platform supports it.

2. Bringing your members value:

Now that you know what your members value, it's time to execute on that. Make sure your content cultivates engagement between members and brings value to your audience, some ideas to consider might be:

  • Creating montages to highlight some of the communities' gameplay highlights.

  • Creating opportunities for your audience to meet, interact, and social network with other like-minded players through dedicated spaces or events.

  • Promote user-generated content by giving spaces for your audience to share their content creation efforts. This is a great way to promote community engagement.

  • Hosting tournaments or giveaways for your audience to participate in is a great way to give your followers a reason to engage with your online community and can also be a great content marketing strategy.

  • Creating informative content such as articles or video tutorials for your community to engage with.

3. Remaining accessible.

As a community manager it's important that your members feel they can reach out to ask questions, make suggestions and offer feedback. Maintain a pleasant demeanor and interact with your audience on a regular basis. This is key to fostering an engaged community.


What are you waiting for? Start or Join a Community Now!

Community management is one of the most rewarding and accessible roles out there! There's nothing stopping you from getting started with your own community today on Discord, Metafy, Facebook Groups, Reddit, or applying for freelance work at Udemy or Upwork! There is a world of new skills to develop, opportunities to be found and people to meet and support. You won’t appreciate the value you can add until you get started.

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