Thursday 29 September 2016

Three Things They Don’t Tell You About Community Management

This post was originally published on Huffington Post Tech: UK.

Community Management plays a large part in the day to day roles of social media communicators.

Whether it’s working out the funniest pictures to share for a Friday afternoon update, answering a question or looking at data to understand what your community wants, there is an intrinsic understanding of how people behave in groups that you begin to learn.

Here’s three things to think about next time you’re pondering your next post:

Potential Over Real

Identifying the potential reach of your community is more important than the actual size of your community, whether it’s a network of bloggers, Twitter followers or Facebook fans.

As community managers, it’s our responsibility to ensure our clients are aware that it is not the number of people in the community that is the important figure but the friends of the community members that really counts.

It’s this group that will be receptive to their friends’ likes, comments and content shares, so we need to think outside of the standard fan engagement principle and look to reach these folks. If we can build advocates within communities who want to share their experiences with their friends, we’re doing the right thing.

Content needs to be shareable, but also useful, emotive or informative in some way to encourage friends of community members to investigate further and, hopefully, participate.

Empowerment Rules

It is important to keep your community happy, but it is better to empower the individuals within it to be the ‘go-to’ person within their friendship group for their particular interests.

This social currency behaviour of identifying yourself as an expert on a topic, or key member of a community is nothing new. It has been the way that the Internet hierarchy has been demonstrated since messageboard admins decided to show who the important members of their forums were by giving them different titles to indicate their level of input.

By making someone the expert within their offline network, brands make an important connection with a person who will then use that content as their ‘go-to’ source for information to retain this position they have developed.

In turn, you’ll then find yourself in a position where the community knows your brand, understands its values and participates more passionately than you can and they will need to be listened to as your communications, products and business develop.

Detachment Means Credibility

Running a community must be a long-term commitment from the client, but also from you.

If you don’t connect with the community you are looking after, you will struggle to understand their perspective, needs and questions in their context – you must be credible.

Do your research to learn about the brand, products and industry. Then, put yourself in the position of a community member and ask what you’d want as an end result from participating within that community.

It’s important to get into the mindset of the community and become their extension – if need be, remove yourself from the position of community manager and look to find what your client can give you to make you a more participative member of your community.

Detachment is a good way to find out what’s missing, what works and what more you can do to work with your client to provide their community with a more rewarding experience.

 

What do you think are the secrets of being a good community manager?

Image credit: Marc Wathieu

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