Apparently, the only way that International Community Managers Day is celebrated is by community managers telling everyone that it is International Community Managers Day. So I don’t feel left out, I thought I’d send out a few more tips on how to stop being a bad community manager, because I feel that if there are no gifts exchanged on International Community Manager Day, it may as well be about learning.
Give before you take. For your community to thrive, you need to give your time, effort and money (if you’ve got it). Your community members need to feel real value from their interactions with the community for them to keep coming back. Community managers have long referred to themselves as party hosts, so think about all of the things you need to do to throw a good party. Much like those horrendous candle parties, nobody likes hanging out in a community that’s all about making money off of them when they only get something smelly in return.
Ask a million questions. Whether your community is built around a product, an idea or a passion, the easiest way to get people involved is to ask them what they think. You can start by asking, “What do you think of this?” (obviously, right?) but as you get more comfortable with feedback, your community will offer you insights into problems you haven’t quite figured out yet, or take ideas in new directions for you.
Be your ideal community member. How many communities are you involved in? What behaviour can you not stand within other communities? Are you committing any of these crimes yourself? For example, if you hate when dominates a forum with posts, make sure you aren’t overwhelming your community with posts. No matter how well intentioned, the same rules apply to you.
Post community quirks front and centre. Do your senior members hate when newbies come along and ask a question that’s been answered 50 times before? Instead of letting newcomers figure that out for themselves, you need to post that up front. Remember that a strong community is a growing community, so to make those new members feel welcome, you have to teach them the rules and invite them in. We’ve all experienced feeling too intimidated to start posting somewhere – don’t let this happen to your community!
Never believe the one pointing the finger. No matter how well-educated community members are, there’s something about the Internet that makes everyone act a little like they’re back in high school. I really have no idea how teachers handle conflict, tattletales or whining, but I do remember that when I was 15, the best defence was a good offence. Keep this in mind if a community member starts pointing fingers. Try not to side with one community member over another, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Hope you enjoy International Community Manager Day. Next year, let’s ask for Unicorns.