The Community Manager Checklist

by Jameson Brown on Sep 03, 2013
See top industry experts speak at Social Fresh 2018 / Dec. 5-7
Where social marketers go to get inspired. Speakers include BET, American Cancer Society, 5/3 Bank, Duke University, Sallie Mae, IBM, Darden, Georgia State University, Chris Brogan, Brian Fanzo, Ekaterina Walter, and more.
>> Reserve your seat today

Community, by definition, is a unified body of individuals.

It’s a group of people who all connect with one another ROUND points of common interests. It’s where we converse. It’s where we exchange ideas. It’s where we build relationships.

And most importantly it’s where we activate relationships.

With these aspects in mind, it is important to understand that online communities are reflective of real life communities. Thus the management should be treated with similar mindset and strategy.

Below is a checklist that will help any community manager with the day to day management and positive growth of online, social communities.

1. Morning Read Through

This is the cup of joe and newspaper before the sun rises routine.

Well, it doesn’t have to be before the sun rises, but it helps to kick off the day (especially a Monday) with just taking time to enjoy some industry reading. Oh, and it doesn’t always have to be “industry” reading.

Example: I love film. So more times than not I find myself reading my slew of film blogs. It kickstarts your brain (in coordination with caffeine).

2. Networks Check 

Once your morning zen period is over, it will be time to ease into “work.” Start going through each online community you manage and check the pulse.

See what’s been said by everyone and start crafting messaging that addresses all comments and questions. Note: probably should be pretty clear-minded by this point – robotic responses tend to come from grogginess.

3. Campaigns/Contests Check

Easy. If a campaign or contest of yours is running you must check in on it daily. Bottom line.

4. Content Timeline Check

Surprisingly, from community managers I have talked to before, this step is not included.

Yes, they produce content, but they never take the whopping ten minutes it takes to check on future events and how they can produce good content for the next two to four weeks.

So, take a few minutes to see what the next month (ish) holds in relevance to your client or brand. Life will be much easier for those next few weeks.

5. Content Gathering 

Here’s the time suck. It’s enjoyable, but it can be hard to schedule this part of each day, as some days you’re finding exactly what you need and other days you couldn’t find something applicable and useful to save your life.

Also, gather and create content that is worth something, that actually serves a purpose to your community. I’m not going to preach about “make content shareable.” Duh! Is that not automatic?

6. Content Writing 

The most fun part (at least to me). Take all of your hard work from above and customize it to your voice and to what you are trying to achieve for that week, month or year.

I tend to stick to a concise, witty approach, but you are different and so is your brand or agency. So, take this as a mere suggestion and nothing more.

7. Reporting and Analysis 

A very important part of the process. Every organization is different with how they generate reports and who does this task. But typically this is included in a community manager’s day-to-day.

I’d rather have a one-sheet that hits me with the exact information I want than some five page sheet with a million graphs and charts that really don’t matter.

Clean, concise and direct tend to be three words I keep in my head when putting together a report.

8. Brand Industry Research

To know your brand(s) you need to a.) be passionate about them and b.) know them better than they know themselves. In your “off time,” research your industry.

Put together a list of credible industry blogs. Bottom line: try and have a document where all your research lives and you can go back and review.

Above are the basic community manager checklist items. These are things to review on a daily basis that reside on the executional side of the fence. Below are more advanced community manager checklist items that fall on the strategic side.

9. Strategic Brainstorming 

This is where you lock yourself in a room (maybe one with a fuzzy carpet?) and hash out specific ideas that would be applicable to upcoming overall marketing pushes for your client.

Not to burst that creative bubble, but all of the ideas that are generated here need to be tied back to a specific overarching marketing initiative and must be measured in some kind of way.

10. Strategy Writing and Editing 

Once the cool, hip strategic thinking part is completed it is time to grid things out and put them in order. I tend to think of this structure in this order: goal setting – brainstorm – idea pool – checks and balances – strategy – tactics – finished plan.

Coherency is the name of the game when putting a strategy plan together. Just be rational. Present it so it is to the point, effective and makes sense.

11. Influencer Responsibility 

Isn’t this you getting verified on Twitter and being the king or queen of anything social or digital? Um, no. Influence comes in many different forms… a little blue checkmark does not “verify” your influence.

Just be: honest, insightful, respectful, responsive and passionate (but that should always be there!).

As a community manager you owe it to yourself to put your knowledge out there – if someone disagrees or doesn’t take your advice that’s completely cool.


Everyone is different. Everyone works differently. And all brands and agencies are different. So, view the above as a list as a recommendation.

What would you add or remove from the checklist?


Post Author

Jameson Brown is a digital and social media professional who is currently the VP of Strategic Operations at Knechtel Group, a new media agency in Atlanta and New York. Clients have included IMAX, Macy's, Cox Communications, CNN, Advanstar Communications,,...

  • NeverMissGift

    Dennis, thank you for the article. I just committed the guilty pleasure of hitting the “Promote” button on FB pages for my blog. It was so cheap! However, it drove no traffic to the blog (perhaps my call to action was weak or the blog topic just wasn’t compelling or it didn’t go the right audience. Are you in the Dallas area? If so, perhaps we can connect.

  • NeverMissGift– could be that your call to action wasn’t to visit your blog or that the focus was on your image. Unless you choose a goal, Facebook will assume that engagement on Facebook is what you want.

    I’m in Dallas often– email me at!

  • Too Funny! Its the path of least resistance for any SMB . The bullhorn icon alone is tempting just to look at. Those things are loud. You should start a recovery program, for the Ad Boosters, ABA? :)

  • Martijn Donkersloot

    Nice article Dennis, thanks, partly I agree, the quality of engagement you are getting using the boost post, depends a lot on the history of the built up of your page likes.

    When you targeted this built up well, hitting your target group, you will also get a higher quality of engagement using the boost button. So in my opinion, don’t use the boost post before you built a healthy,high quality page like base.

    For me it also worked get higher quality engagement using boost, to not target a bigger reach with boost then the page does have on likes. This to ensure to hit
    your target group.

    Also monitoring very well the viral vs. paid reach gives a good indication to know where to stop the boost or not, I always try the keep as much
    as a balance between viral and paid. Again this to reach the right audience and keep out the shitty engagement.

  • LivingLifeInCostaRica

    I paid $5/day on FB for 2 days & most of the people that “liked” my Pet/House Sitting business were low 20’s or younger, probably still living with mommy & daddy & I didn’t see any pictures of pets in most of their Photos. Are people paid TO “like” pages on FB????

  • Terry Lancaster

    Dennis, maybe with posts of kittens (and lions) the engagement is meaningless. But I boost targeted posts for my page which has a tightly targeted fan base and generate clicks to my web page at half the cost of google remarketing and a third of the cost of search

  • treb072410

    Great article Dennis.. I really had a great time reading it and it was an eye opener.. Thanks for sharing…

  • Mara Capili

    Made a trial ad this morning, looks cool. Couldn’t wait to try it for real next time. Would be great if it has Paypal payment integrated on it just like Facebook.

  • Agreed. That would remove a major barrier.

  • Ruby S.

    I logged in at but it won’t show me any analytics. I don’t even see that menu unless I’m looking at my settings and when I click the links it just takes me to the “Welcome to Twitter Advertising” page. Is advertising a prerequisite for seeing one’s own analytics?

  • Hi Ruby. It appears this is still rolling out to everyone. Sorry to hear you don’t have access yet.

  • Sambarnes90

    Great post James.

    Have to say it was great to see number 1 being the reading.

    It’s always my first port of call in the day. How can you serve a community if you don’t know what’s happening in their world?

  • jameybrown

    Thank you! Completely agree.

  • Arron George

    Nice post James. Good to checklist for all CMs

  • jameybrown

    Thank you, Arron.

  • juanluks

    Very good post! A “must” read!

  • jameybrown

    Thanks, Juan!

  • Great post …I’m sending to our team of Community managers for their morning read! Thanks Jameson!

  • Awesome Jameson! Great guide!

  • jameybrown

    Thank you, Gina! That just made my day. Hope they enjoy it :)

  • Ayelet Golz

    Totally agree! The content timeline check is a great one to add to my list. Thanks Jameson!

  • Dixie_Lee

    Outstanding post! I’m right in sync with number one. Can’t start the day without coffee and keeping up-to-date.

  • jameybrown

    Thank you! Same. That morning routine is essential.

  • jameybrown

    My pleasure, Ayelet. Glad you found this beneficial :)

  • jameybrown

    Thank you, Laura! Any favorite steps?

  • Dirk Landis Mortensen

    Awesome list. Thanks Jameson!

  • jameybrown

    Thank you Dirk. Glad you enjoyed!

  • Eli

    Great list! Excellent advice! Thanks for sharing. I have already tailored it for myself, using Workflowy :)

  • jameybrown

    Thanks Eli! My pleasure, and glad you’re molding it to your own style :)

  • <3 this post. Most of this is part of my routine, and in a similar order. It's a natural way to community management, IMO.

  • jameybrown

    Thank you!

  • Nikki

    Awesome post! It’s nice to see the responsibilities laid out along with a timeline of sorts. Very helpful for independent entrepreneurs doing their own social media management.

  • Rayane Sn

    Very nice post :) Keeps things in sequence, in a clear and straight-to the point manner,

    Highlighted a few points I need to work on, as a community manager myself.

    Thank you!

  • jameybrown

    Thank you, Rayane!

  • jameybrown

    Thanks, Nikki. Glad it is helping :)

  • Love #11: influencer responsibility. Well done!

  • jameybrown

    Thank you, @megthemediamaven:disqus!