There’s more to being a community manager than a little social networking. You need a thick skin, a pleasant personality, and the ability to organize and prioritize.
—Deb Ng, Online Community Management for Dummies
If you’re considering a career in Community Management, I highly recommend Online Community Management for Dummies by Deb Ng. Deb covers everything from becoming a Community Manager to discovering successful existing communities to how to track community stats and run an offline event.
This book serves as a fantastic resource for existing community managers as well. I found myself reaching a level of information overload, but in a positive way. With highlighter in hand for future reference, I was able to power through and take notes of which nuggets of wisdom I could apply now and which to work on in the future.
I absolutely loved that Deb was able to pull together so much information that applies no matter what type of community you are or which tools you are using. This book does a fantastic job on focusing on key concepts in community management in a way that you can apply regardless of your situation.
Here are a few of my key takeaways:
The reason many leaders fail is because they don’t respond well to feedback. Community managers know that the best way to improve or grow is to ask questions, request feedback, and respond to that feedback. Brands can no longer assume that they know what’s best for their customers. By asking questions or using surveys to request feedback, community managers are able to pass on valuable information to the brand.
Customer confidence really isn’t a difficult thing to achieve. It involves delivering what you promise, being an active presence in the virtual world, answering questions honestly, and not sweeping anything under the rug.
People are loyal to brands that are loyal to them. They don’t like products to change too much, and they want them to deliver what’s promised.
Your community members invest a lot of time in your brand. You owe it to them to treat them as equals and to be honest with them. Backpedaling, tap-dancing around issues, or pretending that you didn’t read or hear something are insults to their intelligence.
My advice? Grab this book, take a look at the index, and decide which areas you want to focus on.
What can you improve today?
A Word from Deb
I’ll be honest, this is the first book review I’ve written. I know I’m not focusing much on the specifics, but I really wanted you to get to know Deb herself. I had the pleasure of meeting Deb in NYC this February during our Community Manager UNconference. Let me just say, after a day of discussions I can assure you her wisdom is truly authentic.
To switch things up a bit, I asked Deb for a bit of an interview. She happily obliged.
What is the #1 takeaway you hope readers will find in your book?
I hope they’ll close the book and realize community management is a strategic role, more than just tweeting or posting to Facebook and that there are a lot of factors involved in running a successful online community. With that said, I hope they also walk away with questions answered and the confidence needed to achieve their goals.
What inspired you to write this book?
My passion is in building online communities, especially in starting from scratch. When I originally began talking with Wiley about writing a Dummies book, they suggested several titles for me. I wasn’t really feeling them and asked them how they felt about a book on online community management. It was a bit of a hard sell, but it worked out in the end.
What book (or author), other than your own, would you recommend to Community Managers and why?
The list of books I read and enjoy changes on a daily basis. It’s also subjective. We all have different reasons for appreciating certain books. Here are the books that helped me as a community manager:
- Trust Agents – Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
- Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World – Peter Shankman
- Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Widly Successful Communities by Sarah Robinson
What is one random thing about you that most people don’t know?
I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 38 years old. This seems very old to folks out here in suburbia but I lived most of my life in New York City and it’s not unusual not to have a Driver’s License in the city.
About Deb Ng
Deb is the former community manager for several online brands including BlogWorld/New Media Expo and BlogTalkRadio. In addition to “Online Community Management for Dummies,” she’s the co-author of “Social Media Marketing All in One for Dummies.” When she’s not oversharing on the social networks, Deb’s blogging at Kommein.com and helping brands with community development.
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