Christmas checklist for online community managers
Tick these tasks off to prepare your online community for the festive season each year.
The tinsel comes out, the carols start-up on supermarket playlists and before you know it, it’s nearly Christmas once again.
Get ready for the rush to tie up work-related tasks or projects before breaking for end-of-the-year holidays, chasing that satisfying hit of closure. But if you’re responsible for an online community, it’s not so simple.
The internet doesn’t sleep, and most online communities (particularly those built on social media), don’t take a break when you do.
Make sure you’ve got these tasks wrapped up before you escape.
Communities vary dramatically. Depending on purpose and function, some may surge in popularity over the holidays, others may quieten and calm.
Combine historical insights (ideal if your community is at least two years old), with recent patterns and what’s making news with your business or brand to estimate how busy the community may become over the holidays.
This data is needed so you can resource and prepare accordingly.
Secure relief coverage
The people working on your community – especially those on the front lines – both need and deserve a break. A great way to do this is to secure relief coverage over the holidays – via either third-party services or alternative internal resources. You’ll be investing in the health and performance of your people while maintaining oversight and compliance.
Regardless of your approach to support, ensure those picking up the slack are skilled in both moderation and community management – and can hit the ground running. Gather documentation or handover materials ready well in advance and allow time to embed your holiday crew.
Before the silly season revs up you’ll want to pre-prepare content for your community. This might be social media posts, starting discussions or activities to run over the break, or asking select community members to do the same.
You’ll need a roster of programming that’s relevant to your community and the relationship it has to the holidays. (e.g. a DIY community may offer ideas for Christmas and New Year projects, while a community of faith may feature content about the spiritual dimension of the season).
This all needs to be approved, uploaded and scheduled or in the hands of those who’ll be doing it manually. If your community is typically quiet during the break, your programming should reflect that. Don’t over-engage if it’s not an organic trend.
Update risk measures
Even if your community slows down, you have legal and moral duties to guard against possible harms on your watch. With fewer people on deck and key stakeholders for risk management and escalation processes potentially absent, remember to revise and update those processes for the holiday period as needed.
Are contact details still correct? Do new stakeholders need to be added (e.g. third-party vendors, acting holiday managers?) Are there issues to be especially mindful of around the holidays for your business or brand that should have a plan (e.g. FAQs and crisis tactics).
Be a community member
Being present and engaging as a real person (or team of people) is a key factor in successful community building. The holidays are an opportunity to chat a little off-topic and nurture relationships.
Plan ahead and don’t forget to join in a little as the year winds up.