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How to develop a community team before you hire them


JoelR

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So many community builders either plan to do everything themselves or hire a community manager. Instead, you should first clarify your strategy.   Yes, having someone to help you moderate and handle mentorship is excellent. But if you don’t know how the community will support your strategy, or if you don’t have any objectives yet, it may be too soon to know exactly what that support should look like or whether you need any. Sometimes when several people are involved, distractions increase and break the focus needed to strategize.

A client I worked with had challenges in this area. While developing her strategy, she attempted to onboard her team, confusing everyone. As the host, you set the vision for your online community’s future. You will need to guide and support the members until you’re ready to bring on the proper support for your community. You may hire professionals who offer services to support you as the host or engage team members to manage aspects of the design, community building, content writing, copywriting, marketing materials, education, or funding.

Strategy 1: Run it by yourself

In this approach, you, as the community host, take charge of setting the vision, mission, and purpose of your online community. You make decisions about the community structure and develop the strategy yourself.

Running a community solo has its limitations in terms of time and resources, so accountability becomes crucial. You'll guide members during virtual meetups, onboard new members, and handle marketing and promotion. To streamline your efforts, consider launching a timed program, such as a 90-day program, to set clear expectations and create urgency among participants.

Selecting the right platform is also vital. It should align with your members' preferences for connecting between sessions. Don't make the mistake of investing in unnecessary tools that don't align with your community's needs.

Strategy 2: Run it with help from one team member

When you collaborate with a partner, determine whether one or both of you will serve as the community host. It's essential to identify each person's strengths and roles within the community. Typically, the Community Leader aligns the community strategy with business goals, while the Community Facilitator manages content, programming, and events.

Clarify the division of responsibilities and how active each of you will be in your respective roles. The community facilitator can take on various roles, such as course instructor, co-host, coach, or advocate, depending on your community's needs.

You may also consider bringing in a Community Manager to handle daily operations, even though their role might be less visible but equally crucial to the community's health. Additionally, consider outsourcing tasks like strategy, marketing, and sales support to professionals or agencies.

Strategy 3: Run it with volunteers from your community

When it's time to hire a community manager, start by looking within your community. Community members who volunteer often bring enthusiasm and a deep understanding of your community's dynamics. The manager may handle multiple responsibilities, depending on your community's size and purpose, including content planning, event facilitation, leadership development, marketing, member onboarding, and addressing challenges.

Clearly define roles and responsibilities for your host, leader, and manager, and establish a timeline with benchmarks and goals for your community's launch or relaunch.


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You can start alone but it is not possible to run your community alone, you need a team, or at least one staff to help you and look after the community when you are away. Before you can tell your team or staff what should they do, you need to be clear on your goals and objectives. Before you hire, you should know what your staff should be doing on your site. This will help you in the long run.

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I have very occasionally hired team for my communities. When I hired them, my communities were already available for the public with some threads (mostly created by me). Since the community is ready, the person who is hired already knows what to do.

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