It’s.. April! That means it’s that time of the year where I’m back on my own blog. This time, it’s actually not from procrastination during final exams period. It’s because I’m graduating! 2 more weeks and a half, and I’ll be out of university! I really hope to be able to start my career officially with a community manager position, something that I’ve actually done for years without realizing it. So… here’s my take on how to do it with care. Enjoy!
HOW TO BE A COMMUNITY MANAGER WHO CARES
The first community manager role I ever took on was when I was 14 years old, running a Japanese boy band fans community on Yahoo Groups. Of course, back then, I had no idea it was called community management. My peers and I shared the same love for that band; my mission was to keep that love alive among us with social media.
Ever since, I’ve been the community manager for many other online communities, both professionally and for fun. I eventually discovered a lot of how-to guides about how to be a good community manager. However, with my experience, there is only one thing I retain in order for me to do the job right. A good community manager is someone who genuinely cares.
Become Friends with members of your community
The community manager is essentially someone who will proactively want to be friends with everyone else in the community. Think of it from this perspective. When you meet someone new and would like to become friends, what do you do? How do you behave? Trust and friendship are built on frequent, sincere and kind interactions between people. The interactions between a community manager and users should be based on the same principles.
As you identify the most active members of your community, don’t just get to know them in the context of your community. Being there is merely one aspect of theses power users’ lives. Don’t be afraid to be genuine, to get personal and to get to know them in other ways. What else do they like? How else are you and them alike?
Be alert, inspiration is everywhere
Interesting ideas come up when you least expect it sometimes. On top of listening to what your community members are saying, you should also pay attention to your surroundings. Things can come up when you’re commuting, talking to a friend or a colleague, etc.
Keep a notebook on you (or whichever other methods you use to take notes) to be sure not to miss out on these random sparks of inspiration. Some ideas may work out better than others, but it’s by doing it more often that more relevant things will come up for your community. Moreover, by doing so, it will help you add a personal touch on how you connect with your community.
Reassess regularly what it means for you to be a community manager
Sometimes, we lose sight of the enjoyable things of being a community manager. It happens. Being there for your community can become very time consuming; dealing with “trolls” can become frustrating. When certain tasks become tedious, don’t give up! Remind yourself of why you love being a community manager (I do it bi-monthly).
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the things that I love about my community?
- What is the most memorable comment a community member has ever said?
- What is the mission of your community? Do you still believe in it?
Lastly, if certain aspects become truly too mentally draining for you, think about setting limits and preventive measures. There are many tools nowadays that can help you plan postings in advance (HootSuite for example, can even be used on your smartphone), and monitor comments more easily (I’ve used Radian6).
You have your role and a community to care for, but also your own life to live! Basically, being a community manager must be done sincerely with your heart, by sharing a portion of who you are and by being attentive. It’s just as if as you were to make new friends!