Community Manager Tip: Value of Waiting

Most community managers keep a close watch on their online communities to be able to respond quickly, but really good community managers know when to respond right away and when to wait. If something is truly wrong, you should step in immediately to let people know you are working on fixing the issue, and when someone has an urgent or quick question, responding right away can help a community member get through an issue and back to being productive. However, there are many times when waiting and watching can be the best strategy.

Here are some times when you might want to wait:

  • For less urgent questions, wait to see if another community member responds. This gets more people participating and active in the community.
  • When someone is attacking and highly critical, a response from the community manager can seem defensive or self-serving. By waiting, you might find that other, more neutral community members come to your rescue. You can add more details later, if needed.
  • During controversial discussions, it can be useful to wait and let other people weigh in with opinions. If the community manager responds too early, you can shut the discussion down rather than learning where people stand.

Additional Reading

Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.

Photo by Flickr user Vincent van der Pas used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

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