The role of the community manager is to ensure the motivations of members are being satisfied. Members want 3 things from any online community. These three things shape your actions in the following ways:
1) Recognition amongst peers.
Help members think they can get increasing levels of recognition from those they consider their peers. This is by far the biggest motivator for anyone in any online community. The more you can create an environment that highlights contributions from members, the more successful your community will be.
2) Influence within the community.
People want to know what they did has made an impact. If you kick a ball and it doesn’t move, you don’t kick the ball anymore. You have to demonstrate the impact they can make. You have to give them increasing levels of power and influence to have this impact.
3) Sense of community.
This is about trust and feeling secure to express yourself within a group you know feels similar things to you. This is about finding the people like you, having inside jokes, self-disclosing information and being rewarded with a layer of emotional safety. This is achieved by attracting the right members, ensuring high levels of interactions, real-time meetings and soliciting self-disclosure.
Don’t focus on just one, you need all three for a truly successful community.