Archive for January, 2011
As your community develops and grows there is one Universal truth that will at some point show its ugly head; the fact that some people like to disrupt and cause aggrevation. Whilst I fully appreciate the need for “Free Speech” and that it’s marked down as a human right I think there are times as a Community Manager that you need to take stock and stand your ground.
To quote a great film;
“the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one”
I think this rings true when managing your community and especially if you have been tasked with increasing engagement and the audience size. If you’ve got a few people sounding off in a particular way that undermines those efforts and is proving detrimental to the experience of others what do you do? For me I’ve introduced what could be classed as a controversial rule; as CM I’ve got the right to remove someone from the community if they aren’t contributing positively and are causing unrest.
Now I do give a bit of flexibility and it isn’t a 1 strike rule but there have been occasions were I’ve ejected members both new and longstanding purely because the tone and content of their posts over a period of time isn’t benefitting the community. This does come down to a subjective view of where the line is and I fully agree that different people handle situations differently but I’d rather have a rule like that than enable people to ruin the experience for others.
As Community Managers we don’t fight for a “share of wallet” like the Marketing and Sales teams, we instead fight for a “share of time”. With this being the case what’s the USP of your community or your Value Proposition to users? With the internet opening up a whole new world and free platforms being readily available every Tom, Dick or Harry can create their own community so having a USP or Value Proposition is important.
While some users may be swayed by the fact it’s got a special badge on it (read this to mean Brand) the more discerning user may question what the benefit is to them if they join your community. It could be the fact that you are able to provide special offers, or a more direct line to the product developers or it’s the first place information gets released about the new clothing range but there needs to be something. In the same way Marketing attempt to promote a product USP you should be doing the same with your community.
As a Community Manager you may be loved and villified by your community at the same time and with that being the case everything you say, do or write carries weight. The ease of sharing content also means that anything you do write down can spread outside your community walls onto the wider internet, be taken out of context and potentially used against you in the future. What starts off as a harmless comment could spark an emotion-fueled response from the community and not in a positive way.
It’s therefore vitally important to remember to be mindful of what you write both inside and outside your community and the impact this can have in both the short- and long-term. Does it have the potential to come back and bite you? If so then don’t bother writing it, go for something a little simpler or less specific. Whilst your community might not appreciate it the company you work for may give you a silent nod of thanks and you can continue going about your business.