Fostering an online community around your brand is a great way to grow your business. But it can be challenging keeping tabs on what your community is up to across multiple platforms. Good news, it doesn’t have to be.
The best apps for community managers will provide solutions to your problems by consolidating the number of platforms you have to frequent on the daily.
Ahead, we’ll look at what makes an online community successful, what makes for a great community management app, and then we’ll dive into our list of stellar apps for community managers.
What makes an online community successful?
A thriving online community is one where your members are active, engaged, and driven to accomplish the goals you’ve set out for them. At the end of the day, a community is just a group of people who all have a common interest, purpose, or goal, right?
So, successful online communities thrive when their community managers provide them with a few things:
- A clear purpose for the community. When you take the time to clearly articulate why members are coming together, they will be more likely to stick around. What do we mean by this? We mean that communities thrive when everyone knows why they are together and how they can achieve their goals.
- Offer news types of content. A great way to re-energize a community is by offering them new kinds of experiences. When you create new types of content for your members you’re going to figure out what they like and dislike, but also appeal to different members’ sensibilities. It can feel a bit stale to receive the same kind of discussion board post or video week after week. The most successful online communities will know when to roll the dice with something new and see if it sticks.
- Open and honest communication. A great practice to have when building a community is making a point to ask how your members are doing. Communication is a two-way street too. Open and honest communication means that as the leader, you communicate how things are going, changes you’re thinking about, and more. In turn, your members will be willing to talk about openly how they are doing, what they’d like more of, and what isn’t working for them. Honesty is the best policy.
We’ve found that most successful online communities embody these three aspects. Best of all, these qualities work together. When your purpose is clear, you’ll in turn have a better idea of what kinds of content to make. And if you make some missteps along the way, talking to your community about it will assure they don’t happen again.
What to look for in the best apps for community managers
If you’ve ever done any research on community management apps, then you’ll know there are dozens out there. In order to make your search a bit easier, we believe it important to break down what these apps should be doing for you.
All of the apps we’ve focused on support a range of different use cases from managing social media, to giving your greater online community customization options, and even tracking your analytics. The goal of apps for community managers should revolve around consolidating the number of places you have to check in on in order to see how your community is doing.
Think about it this way: If you have a Facebook group, an Instagram account, a Twitter account, and your own website it can be a lot of work to keep track of everything. So we’ve focused on apps that will either make it easier for you to post across your various social platforms or consolidate them all under one roof.
Great apps for community management
Now that we’ve talked through our mindset for picking community management apps, it’s time to explore what we’ve come up with. Ahead, you’ll see 5 community management tools that will make your life easier.
One of the biggest hurdles for any community manager is finding a place to organize all of your files and resources.
Google Drive is one of the best apps for community managers because you can store spreadsheets, presentations, graphic design assets, documents, and more all in one place. On top of that, you also have the ability to share any of your files with multiple people as well as control if they can edit them or not.
One great use for Google Drive in any online community (outside of the organizational benefits for you) is utilizing a Drive as a resource space for your members to tap into wherever they are. This means that whenever someone new joins the community, they’ll have an easily accessible hub for all the files available to your members over time.
Another great community management app is Google Analytics. We promise we’re not a secret Google hype group, they just make great products for better understanding communities!
You can utilize Google Analytics to measure the traffic and interactions for your main website as well as your various social media channels. This is a great community management app because it will give you an idea of what kinds of content is working and what isn’t.
Think about it this way: when you have the actual numbers you can have a clear path for your community engagement strategies.
Mighty Networks & Mighty Pro
Mighty Networks is a website builder and community management software that offers some of the best community management tools, enabling members to build skills and work towards mastering a common goal.
One of the major challenges of community management is the fact that your community is splintered across multiple channels. When you choose a community management software platform like Mighty Networks, you’ll be able to bring everyone under one roof.
By reducing the number of places you have to check-in on, you’ll have less work and more accurate analytics around how your members interact with your community and content.
And when you’re ready to take your online community to a new level Mighty Networks’ premium service, Mighty Pro, is a great fit. With Mighty Pro, you get all of the standard features accessible on Mighty Networks as well as a white-label branded app.
That means, your app has your brand icon, you can deliver branded push notifications, events, and more. This is a great app for community managers because it provides you with immense customization and brings your community together under one roof.
Mighty Network Pro offers all of these pieces together under your own brand, instantly available on web, iOS, and Android. Don’t underestimate the power of your members being able to access your brand wherever they are.
Hootsuite is another great app for community managers because it provides analytics around your social media efforts, in addition to engagement breakdowns for your community.
Another great thing about Hootsuite is that it’s compatible with over 35 social platforms. Other aspects that make Hootsuite a good app for community managers are its ability to create schedules for yourself, schedule updates for the most optimal times. And you can even upload CSV files that will map out clear paths for scheduled updates and social media campaigns.
Basically, Hootsuite is really good at making your scheduling needs easier.
Sprout Social is a great app for community managers who are trying to get a handle on their social messaging by providing a number of publishing and targeting options.
When you use sprout social as a community management app, you’ll gain greater control over scheduling content across multiple platforms. Additionally, you’ll have robust tools to track and document your reporting.
Other great features that make Sprout Social a great app for community managers are its tools for monitoring keywords, hashtags, and locations to discover new places for engagement opportunities. You can even sort your inbox will tags, customizable filters, and message prioritization.
Sprout social is basically a one-stop-shop for managing engagement, publishing, and analytics around your online community.
It’s time to get started
So we’ve reached the end of the article, but hopefully, these community management apps will make your job a bit easier.
Remember, when you can reduce the number of moving parts you’re checking to manage your community, you’ll have more accurate analytics and fewer headaches.
And one last thing, these picks aren’t only good apps for community managers because of how they streamline your workflows. At the end of the day, you’re finding these solutions to your community management practices so that you can focus on what matters most: your members’ experience.
Now that we’re at the end of the article it’s time to start implementing some of these community management apps into your life. We can’t wait to see what you pull off.