I’ve been telling myself to publish more but I never do. Then I realized today after spending almost 3 hours talking about social media with my CEO and colleagues that I already had written things I could share on my blog. So here are some notes I think are a worthwhile read for anyone who is starting to build a community online.
Established community manager Micki Krimmel gave a great talk at Web 2.0 Expo SF on What Would a Community Manager Do (WWCMD). And these notes, from a South by Southwest Interactive session I attended this past March, are helpful in framing the mind to think like a community manager. Consider reading it as your step 1 –
From Flickr and Beyond: Lessons in Community Management
Panelists: Heather Champ (Dir. of Community, Flickr), Mario Anima (Dir. Online Community, Current TV), Matthew Stinchcomb (VP Community, Etsy Inc.), Jessamyn (West Dir. of Operations, MetaFilter), Micah Schaffer (YouTube)
Start with an idea of what the community is going to be about but the community is going to have their own ideas on what it is. Empower them and try to cultivate something good.
- You’re going to have to adapt your product and practices
- Redefine how your product, company, service works by addressing the needs of the community
- What is good for the community at one stage, might not be beneficial at another stage
Strategies need to adjust and evolve as communities grow. Most important is to understand HOW the community wants to interact and building around that.
If you give people multiple channels to communicate with you/brand, you are making a commitment that you will respond
All wear multiple hats. You have to ID what those hats are and be quick about running with them
Focus on internal communication; make sure everyone knows what’s going on
Must commit to being there, be ready to hear feedback and answer it honestly
Salient advice for someone starting or engaging within a community
Spend more time online! The more interactions you can create enables and grows ambassadors who do the job for you. Build a team of evangelists. There is no metric to gauge that value but imagine how much farther your reach will be.
One basic rule: don’t be a jerk and everything else comes from that. [Don’t be a jerk is ok but I like better, Kill the world with Kindness]
There’s a lot more to this role than moderation and making things pretty
It helps to be an insomniac
You have to be committed, you have to promote the 1-to-1 interactions you do, to make people feel that they are being responded to as an individual
Be able to explain and enforce your rules
Censorship and comment moderation
Sometimes the best action is inaction