The risk of solo community management

by Alison Michalk March 15, 2019

Does all your company’s social media sit with just one Community Manager? Cue the alarm bell!

The 2018 Australian Community Managers Career Survey showed that 38 per cent of organisations have one or fewer people dedicated to managing their always-on social channels. Which – aside from one exhausted Community Manager – also means your company has a high risk, single point of failure.

If your community manager leaves the organisation, falls ill for a short or long-term period, or decides to take a well deserved holiday, who will take the reins? What happens if a crisis hits? At three in the morning?

How quickly can you hire, train and have someone manning the fort?

In nearly a decade of running Quiip we’ve seen social media go from a nice-to-have to a must-have, to a strategic advantage and a full-scale out of hours operation.

Social media audiences, customers and members expect round-the-clock response times to their enquiries. Company reputations can tumble frighteningly fast after even a single public misstep. And risky content can snowball long before your Community Manager has clocked in for the day.

Honestly, there’s every chance your community manager never clocks-off. A worrying 32 per cent of working community managers in Australia struggle with burn out, and even more with general overwork and fatigue (ACM 2018). They often feel a duty of care to their community members and – without an extra helping hand – are motivated to check-in at all hours, however impractical or unhealthy.

Working all hours isn’t only risky for the community manager. A business enabling (or worse, encouraging) always-on availability may come under scrutiny for working conditions. One crisis in the early hours could see serious, even legal repercussions. It’s a reckless way to deal with the employee you’ve invested in, and the community asset you’re working to build.

With all of this risk, we still consistently see companies struggle with moving beyond one Community Manager. They get stuck at “what’s next”, and we’re entirely sympathetic to the question.

The thinking goes a little like this: Is it a Community Manager who works nights? Or weekends? Could they do both? That’s a full seven days. They’ll need a break. Can they work in the company office? At night? Or remotely? Does the business allow that? Do we have our community processes bedded down? Documented? Do you have headcount approval?

We’re very familiar with this organisational challenge. While you may not have the headcount to bring on more staff (or the energy to build a complex business case for that staff), an alternative option is to fill the immediate gaps with specialised out-of-hours help. You and your Community Manager can rest assured that the community is in safe hands when the lights are off, and you’ve got breathing space to run the numbers, consider community strategy, and figure out what the next step looks like.

If you’re facing this challenge and want to explore your options, whether it’s adding another 15 or 40 hours to the 168 hours of always-on social media, do get in touch, as this is our area of specialty.

And there’s nothing we love more than providing back-up to your single Community Manager, giving them a break and protecting your investment.

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