Community Management in 2024: What You Students Need to Learn

Community Management in 2024: 3 Skills Your Marketing Students Need

Having an engaged and loyal community can make or break a brand. An established community can help drive brand awareness, boost customer loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth marketing to attract and influence consumers.  

It can also act as an efficient channel to deal with queries, feedback or complaints quickly. This not only ensures a company has happy customers but shows prospects and consumers that they are listened to and their opinion is valued.  

That’s why community management is a skill that today’s marketing students need to stand out to employers. So what is community management and what skills are needed to do it effectively? 

What is community management? 

Community management involves building, nurturing, and engaging online audiences for a brand, service or product to develop long-term and meaningful relationships, build brand loyalty and enhance customer experience. 

While you may have heard of social media community management, community management uses multiple channels to engage customers, not just social networks. Both should be used by companies to offer a variety of ways for customers to reach out. 

What skills do your students need to master community management? 


1. Community Research & Development


The first thing to understand when building a community is where they are! Many brands are active on different channels – social media networks, forums, messaging apps, affiliate programs or community platforms – but are they using them effectively to engage?  

To develop an effective community it’s important to research the channels available and those popular with your audience. Choose the right platform or platforms by looking at factors such as demographics, communication preferences, and engagement features.

For example, do your customer base post comments on a platform such as Quora? As a popular platform that uses ‘Spaces’ to allow people to follow their interests and ask questions, Quora can help brands find out more about what their customers think and want in specific areas.



Other great platforms to consider are Instagram pods, private Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups for B2B companies, Discord or Slack. 


Once a platform is chosen, it’s important to figure out what a brand wants to gain from using it. Is it to inform audience research, to act as a customer service channel, to boost customer interactions or to provide value to customers? 


The purpose will determine how a community platform is monitored, moderated and measured (more on that later…) 


Top tip: Whichever platform is used, there should guidelines and community rules in place to moderate the community and react to inappropriate behaviour. There should also be a spam control process to avoid comments from bots. 


2. Audience engagement


Audience engagement is any interaction between a brand and an audience. It’s a way to create a dialogue and prompt a person to take action such as responding in a forum, liking a social post or leaving a review.


But there’s a knack to engaging an audience. It’s not just about posting content or a comment and hoping it gets traction. Your students need to understand what your audience wants and what content resonates so they can tap into it and repeat it to drive engagement. 


Along with understanding who an audience is, other tactics can help boost audience engagement. 


    • Use social listening and audience research – There are some great AI tools out there to help track, analyse and monitor conversations online to get insights. Sprout Social, TalkWalker, SparkToro and Buffer are some great examples. 
    • Test content – A/B testing can help your students understand what headlines, content and even CTAs work when engaging a community.  
    • Use visual storytelling – Don’t just rely on written content. Share images, memes and videos to spark interest.  Here’s a great example of Patagonia’s Instagram account that uses visuals to communicate its activism and show its outdoor clothing in action. 

  • Personalize content – Use insights from existing content that did well to personalize content. For example, if people had a lively discussion about AI, look at another angle for the technology and post a question or survey to see what happens.  
  • React and respond – A community requires reaction and response. Regularly check on community platforms and make sure to make comments or respond.  
  • Consider engaging influencers – Influencers can help to build and engage a community. If there’s one that loves a brand, tell them about the community platform and get them involved.   
  • Share user-generated content (UGC) – UGC is a powerful tool for community building and management plus it shows appreciation to members. Make sure to share and comment on any UGC to get other people involved and create active community members and brand advocates.  
  • Offer benefits or ‘member offers’ – Give something back to your community by giving them exclusive offers or VIP access.  
  • Monitor engagement – You will only know if your community is working and growing if you monitor performance. Set KPIs and monitor how engagement is going across your community platforms.

Top tip: Don’t forget to use email as a community platform. You can send out a survey to get insights and drive engagement or direct people to a forum or social media group to get them involved.  


3. Conversation management


Not every one that comments or posts on a community platform will love a brand. So it’s important to understand that once your students open up the channels of communication online, there could be some negativity along with people looking for quick feedback. 


According to Sprout Social’s 2023 Index, 69% of customers expect a response from brands on social media within 24 hours. Plus response times on other platforms aren’t far behind, especially if it’s a complaint. 


For example, perhaps someone didn’t get the response they wanted through a customer service channel – or got no response at all. This could mean they vent using the community channel so your students need good communication and negotiation skills. 


The important thing to do on a community platform is to respond to any query or complaint quickly – which is why checking on your community regularly is a must. Then you need to acknowledge the issue or query and if it’s not clear, ask questions such as ‘Can you give me more details?’ or ‘What do you mean by…?’


Once there’s more information available (if you need it) the goal is to provide a solution. This could be posting a screenshot of a delivery that’s gone missing or providing a walkthrough of how to use a piece of software. 


The key is to respond and resolve as quickly as possible so a community sees that a brand is proactive and cares about customers. 


Top tip: Log complaints or feedback on community platforms so these can be accessed if there’s an issue or to monitor what’s posted.  


Boost your students experience in community management

Demo our free community management simulation to see what experience your students can gain in the area. Find out why universities, schools, and learning providers trust our simulation solutions to give students the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.