7 of the top lessons learned from experienced community managers

July 30, 2014 — by Kimbe MacMaster0



7 of the top lessons learned from experienced community managers

July 30, 2014 — by Kimbe MacMaster0

7 of the top lessons learned from experienced community managers - Dom GarrettMany of the successful tactics of community management come from experience. Last week on #CMGRHangout, the floor was open for anyone and everyone to get their community management questions answered. Emma CunninghamDavid DeWaldBrian FanzoDom Garrett, and David Hurley joined Jonathan Brewer and Sherrie Rohde in answering a plethora of questions. Discussions ranged from whether or not to pay your influencers, the software skills needed as a community manager, how to you bring out the silent community members, how to deal with a social media crisis, and many more. It was a whirlwind of community management learnings.

All of the panelists on last week’s panel have significant experience in the field. They’ve tried various approaches and different tools. Most importantly, they’ve measured the difference. And so, when they were asked the number one thing they’ve learned about community management, it was a good time to take notes. These aren’t the things you’re taught from community management 101, but things you’d learn only from experience. Lucky for the rest of us, we can benefit from their experience, too!

Without further adieu, here are 7 of the top lessons learned from experienced community managers.

1. David Dewald’s Top Lesson: Frustrating community members are on your side

While it’s easy to get annoyed with or frustrated by ‘loud’ or angry community members, David Dewald recommends reminding yourself that these members are actually on your side. In fact, they’re often sitting on a hidden pot of gold. Taking the time to understand what’s upsetting them can often lead to improving your product or service, not to mention your community as a whole.

Frustrating community members are on your side. They just want things to be better. – @Historian #CMGRHangout .

2. Sherrie Rohde’s Top Lesson: Prove your worth

Sure, it’s difficult in the industry we’re in, but Sherrie Rohde points out that proving your worth as a community manager is an extremely valuable (and necessary!) task. There’s many ways to prove your worth, both from an objective, financial perspective as well as a more subjective or emotional perspective. A previous hangout covered all angles of the ROI discussion. Check out my recap post here to learn how you can prove your worth.

Don’t ever forget to prove your worth as a community manager. – @sherrierohde #CMGRHangout .

3. Brian Fanzo’s Lesson: Save reminders of what you do for your community

Brian says that “haters are always gonna hate” and while we can’t change that, we can change how we feel about or react to it. His recommendation? Screenshot the awesomeness or those quick, small wins and keep them in a bucket you can refer back to (FYI: we generally call this a file folder, but Brian’s use of bucket sounds way more fulfilling!).

When a leader who’s resistant to change is trying to push you back or you’re just plain having a rough day, you can reach into that bucket and remind yourself of the great things you’ve been doing. Maybe it’s helping someone find the answer to a question they had, giving them a free sample of a product they love, or just made someone’s day better by having a great chat. Whatever it is, you can bet that what you do is awesome and this is a great way to remember that.

Haters gonna hate. Keep reminders of the awesome impact you’re having on your community.- @iSocialFanz #CMGRHangout .

4. David Hurley’s Lesson: Act as a channel

Your job as a community manager isn’t simply to post great content and sit back and watch. As David Hurley reminded us, it’s must more than that – if you make it so. He encourages community managers to (1) be accessible; (2) be available; and (3) be a channel.

View yourself as a channel or a pathway to other connections or knowledge for your community. It’s very difficult to be the ‘be all, end all’ for your community on your own. And it’s unlikely that they expect you to be. But to maximize their experience, take it upon yourself to facilitate those connections to people or knowledge.

To be a successful community manager be accessible, be available, and be a channel. – @dbhurley #CMGRHangout .

5. Emma Cunningham’s Lesson: Loop in the rest of your organization

Emma learned first-hand that looping in the rest of her organization is extremely valuable. What we, as community managers, do should be shared! Not just because the work we do is so brilliant (am I right?!), but because the things we do affect so many different aspects of our companies from marketing to sales to customer service to product management and much more. It just makes sense for everyone to be connected.

Loop the rest of your organization in to your community management activities and discoveries. – @EmmaCunningham #CMGRHangout .

6. Dom Garrett’s Lesson: You’re a person; your community members are people

It’s so funny that we have to be reminded of this so frequently, but it’s so easily forgotten. More often than not, community managers are connecting with their community through online methods, various tools, and behind a screen, not face-to-face. The biggest lesson Dom has learned and wants to share with other community managers is to remember that your community is full of people.

Remember to treat them as such, but also remember that it doesn’t always have to be dead serious. What keeps people around is if they feel like they’re being treated like a person and not an object on the other side of an interface.

Treat your community like they’re people and they’ll be more likely to stick around – @DomGarrett #CMGRHangout .

7. Jonathan Brewer’s Lesson: Show your fans you care

Jonathan’s recommendation was short and sweet – in words and in principle. If you’re expecting your community members to be supporters and fans of you, be their supporter and fan first. Thank them for participating in conversation, help them when they need it (or better yet, before they know they need it), and cheer them on.

Be the biggest fan of your fans. – @houseofbrew #CMGRHangout .

Watch all the tips on the recorded hangout or check out some of the other discussions from the Open Mic CMGRHangout.

Kimbe MacMaster

Co-founder and CEO at Fides
Kimbe is a co-founder and CEO of @Fides_Social. A social media fanatic, start-up marketer, and community manager herself, she understands the ins and outs of the social process. When she's not buzzing around the Kitchener-Waterloo Startup Community, you can find her on the ball diamond or walking her chow chow. Connect with her on Twitter (@Kimbe_Mac).