Best community management tools – streamline & soar!

Regardless of your community management style, or your online community engagement platform of choice, it’s important to have tools that support you and your bad*ss community-building self.

So, what are some of the best community management tools out there? While the answer depends on your objectives and needs as a community manager, it also hinges on the size of your community and your leadership team, as well as the areas in which you could use the most support.

Scheduling and organization? Video and content creation? Project planning and meetings? Task management, communications, and team-building? Or, all of the above? Whatever kind of community management tools you need to help you simplify, streamline, and make your community soar, you’ll find some of our most esteemed recommendations below.

And to help keep things organized, we’ve laid out our cream of the crop of online community management tools using the following categories:

  1. Content creation (graphics, videos, etc)
  2. Content resource hubs (industry-specific news)    
  3. Communications + project management + automation (all-in-ones)
  4. Communications 
  5. Scheduling + tasks
  6. Email marketing

Generally speaking, we either use some of the community management tools included in this post and adore them. Or we’ve done some research, and adore them. Our criteria for adoring them?

These best-in-class community management tools are user-friendly, efficient, well-designed, and give us what we need (and not much that we don’t). They increase efficiency and optimize time, add extra layers of organization and, ultimately, bolster community growth.

While no one community management tool is perfect, the ones we’ve selected here will help you manage your community to the best of your ability, make the best use of your time, and keep things running smoothly.

Cheers, and enjoy exploring our favorite tools for community managers—we wish you great success!

Without further ado, our picks for your community management toolbox

Content creation

Canva – Ah, Canva—what better way to up your community management game than with engaging, on-brand graphics. Self-described as “a graphic design platform used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content,” Canva is something that should be in every community manager’s toolbox.

With a robust free version, and a fairly priced paid version, Canva lets you create infographics, presentations, creative decks, social media posts, and all kinds of other content that’s easy to share with your community. We can’t recommend it enough.

What we love most about Canva:

  • Brand kit – this feature lets you upload brand logos, colors, and fonts (and stores them in one spot) for use across all of your Canva creations.
  • Easy downloads – once you’ve finished a design, you can easily download it to your Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android device and share to your community across multiple digital media channels. 
  • Free (and paid) graphics – with Canva, you can access tons of free or paid photos, backgrounds, design templates, and clipart (yes, their clipart is worlds apart from 90’s clipart—though, retro options are in there too!).
  • Teams – you can create teams—with anyone, anywhere—and “move faster and create designs together in real-time.” It’s kinda neat to get to work on a design with someone else, at the same time, and see the changes and collaboration occur in real-time.

Landscape – Gone are the days of having to Google “current dimensions and sizing” for different social media and community platforms. Created by and operated through Sprout Social (another handy community management tool) Landscape is a free social media image resizer. All you need to do is upload your images, choose the social platform/s you’ll be posting to, hit resize, and voila!

Content resource hubs

Flipboard – With Flipboard, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your specific industry (or interrelated industries). In turn, you then get to provide your community with relevant, interesting, and up-to-date conversations on industry-specific topics. In their own words, Flipboard is “an excellent tool for collecting the news relevant to not only clients, but also what’s developing in the social realm of [your] industry.”

Want to get a tailored view into the top industries for your community, then create amazing content from that view? Because content is queen? Flipboard lets you “pick and choose the stories that you want to follow, and get a tailored look into the industries that matter the most to you…it serves as a great resource that can keep you informed and involved in the developments going on in your field.”

In other words, Flipboard is an excellent resource and tool for community managers who need to create relevant and useful content on a regular basis. Instead of searching all over, you can just set your parameters and have the industry-specific news come to you.

Communications + project management + automation (all-in-ones)

Asana – Asana couldn’t have said it better themselves. And, they did! Asana “organizes work so teams know what to do, why it matters, and how to get it done.” WIth useful features like timelines, boards, app integrations, calendars, progress monitoring, and more, Asana truly does have it all.

Which, in having it all, also means that getting used to Asana can be a little overwhelming at first. Still, if you’re managing a larger community, and a larger distributed leadership team, Asana has what you need and then some.

Monday – With Monday, you manage. And we don’t mean “get by.” We mean you manage everything in one place–projects, software development, operations, tasks, sales and CRM, creative and design, HR and recruitment, and much, much more. As a community management tool, Monday is tops. Just be ready for a pretty steep learning curve, especially when onboarding new team members.

Trello – Same deal as Monday and Asana, different flavor. Trello lets you “manage projects, organize tasks, and build team spirit.” Boards, cards, work-tool integrations—Trello is a robust community management tool that’s great for optimizing, organizing, and centralizing.

For a much closer look at all three—Monday, Asana, and Trello—check out this comparative article from Zepel.

Zapier – As a platform that handles (automates) repetitive tasks in the apps you use every day, Zapier is great for reclaiming and optimizing your time as a community manager.  While Zapier is best explained via their customer stories, what we most like about the platform is how it allows us to create automated reminders and tasks for our internal community management team. We also use Zapier to alert us when a new member joins so that we can greet them right away!

Communications

Chanty – Similar to Slack and simply put, Chanty is software that’s designed for easy team communication and collaboration. Overall, Chanty is cheap (free or $3 per user/month) and easy to use from day one. Unlike other communications platforms, with Chanty there’s not this huge learning curve. You and your distributed leadership team can wade in, figure things out with ease, and get right to work. 

Like most community managers, you’re probably looking to optimize workflow, interconnect apps (like GitLab, Trello, DropBox, Google Drive, MailChimp, and more), better control your team workspace, and increase overall communications. If so, Chanty is definitely worth looking into. Especially if your community, and your team, want to spend a little less (or nothing) on the kind of essential community management tools that are going to help your relationships thrive and your community grow.

Miro – Self-described as “the online collaborative whiteboard platform to bring teams together, anytime, anywhere,” Miro is one of our favorite tools for community management. Basically, it’s an interactive board designed to support and facilitate group meetings, organization, project planning, brainstorming, and more. Here at Mobilize, we use Miro to provide a more interactive experience for our Champions group, as well as to do fun breakout rooms in Zoom while using Miro as a Q&A board.

Loom – Don’t want to type everything out in an email, Slack message, Asana message, message message—ALWAYS? Yeah, us neither. Fortunately Loom, an essential community management tool that lets you easily record and share videos of your screen, offers a “more efficient, expressive, effective way to communicate.” 

With Loom, you can just share a video of your screen—while doing a James Earl Jones voiceover wherein you verbalize your objectives, reasons, wants, questions, and needs—hit send, and receive feedback in record time.

Scheduling + tasks

Timepage – As a community manager, you most likely have at least three calendars going at any given time. There’s your personal calendar, your work calendar, all the different Google calendars associated with all your different email addresses. 

With Timepage, you get to have ALL your calendars in one handy, aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use app. Which is to say: once you’ve synced them all to Timepage, add an event to any of your calendars and it shows up in your Timepage calendar. Also, your events get color-coded according to which external calendar they belong to.

Timepage is excellent for personal organization, which means it’s also excellent in helping you optimize your time and crush your community management goals.

Todoist – Know how writing out a list always feels good and helps you organize for the day/week/month ahead? Know how it feels good to then do the tasks on said list and physically, with your pen, check them off? Yeah, we feel you.

While we’re not into checking boxes simply to check boxes, Todoist takes list making, puts it into digital form, and delivers that same checked-box satisfaction through auditory and visual cues that occur once you mark a task as completed.

Todoist is a perfect tool for staying on task (and feeling good about it) as a busy community manager.

P.S. Sometimes I’ll write down (or type in) an already completed task just so that I can cross it out or mark it as done and hear that sound. Yes, there’s a psychology behind this. Perceived progress in a Sisyphean world? Most likely, but still, it feels so good!

Email marketing

HubSpot – While Mailchimp and Hubspot both have blog posts up about “Mailchimp versus HubSpot” (😂), we thought we’d go the slightly less biased route and offer up this informative Medium article (though, who knows which email platform employs the author).

As a “growth platform that combines marketing automation, email, and a suite of other flexible marketing tools with the power of CRM,” Hubspot is a powerful tool for community managers looking to engage and grow their community

Mailchimp – Mailchimp, on the other hand, is a “marketing automation and email marketing service [that expands] functionality through a number of tools and integrations.” While it’s less expensive than (and just as great a platform as) HubSpot, Mailchimp is not as strong in its analytics.

Basically, which one you choose all depends on your email marketing goals. Maybe you need stronger analytics, but perhaps you want more template options (Mailchimp).

Either way, the choice is yours when it comes to picking the right email marketing platforms to add to your growing list of community management tools. In addition to the above Medium article, be sure to check out Sprout Social’s list of recommended email marketing platforms, as well as our recent article about email best practices.

Vidyard – Nope, Vidyard is not email per se. As an easy yet powerful tool for creating videos, Vidyard helps you transform how you communicate with your community. As we’re well aware of by now, video tends to be more interactive and drive higher engagement. With Vidyard, you can reach your community in yet another engaging way: personalized videos sent over email.

*Bonus community management tool*

Bitly – As a community manager, you’re constantly sharing links to resources, content, and landing pages (whether yours or outside resources). With Bitly, you can share those links and reap the benefits of seeing how they actually perform. 

Bitly not only lets you shorten links, but also “see when the links were most popular and how often they’ve been clicked once posted.” Bitly is particularly useful to online community managers, in that it can “create customized keywords in short URLs for reporting, analytics, and SEO purposes.”

As a community management tool, Bitly is good for helping you “generate, share, and track branded links for every form of communication.” So you can leave the guessing game behind, and better communicate with and serve your community.

That’s all for now! If you have other tools for community management that you also adore, we’d love to hear about them. How do you keep your community management processes and communications organized and running smoothly?

Work with experts who build successful communities

Mobilize is made up of community experts who have launched communities for the likes of Dropbox, United Nations’ SDSN, Dermalogica, and more. We work with you to align your business goals with a tailored community strategy to ensure its success.

Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to improve outcomes with your existing community — we have strategies and industry-tailored programs to help you get things done. Schedule a demo for a personalized walk-through of our technology and learn about our expert-led strategy services.