Tag Archive for 'Community Manager Tips'

Community Manager Tip: Role Model Good Behavior

Last week’s community manager tip about how members notice everything is part of why community managers need to pay close attention to how we behave in our online communities. Members notice everything, and they watch the community manager and other leaders in the community to determine what types of behaviors are appropriate and expected in the community. Every community operates with slightly different norms and expectations, and we need to be careful to role model those behaviors that we want to see in our members.

Here are a few things to think about. Are you encouraging behaviors you want to see from others?

  • Do you try to be as helpful when people are asking questions as you expect from other community members?
  • Are you careful to remain calm and not fly off the handle when things get intense?
  • Do you use language that is consistent with what you expect others to use?
  • What techniques do you use to help redirect people to keep the discussions on topic?
  • How do you deal with difficult community members?

Additional Reading

Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.

Photo by Amber Case used with permission.

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.

Community Manager Tip: More Listening, Less Talking

The balance between listening and talking is a tricky one for many community managers, especially new ones. As community managers, we get excited when people participate, but if we start to jump into every conversation or reply to every thread it can be a little overbearing and can shut the conversation down too early. I try to listen first, and respond later to give more people a chance to participate.

A few tips for finding the right balance between listening and talking:

  • If you are consistently the top contributor as the community manager, take a hard look at whether you are posting too often.
  • Wait a bit before responding (unless the request is urgent) to see if someone else wants to chime in with a response or an answer.
  • Read the entire thread before responding to make sure that you are listening to all of the various opinions, especially before making a decision that impacts the community.

Additional Reading

Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.

Photo by Flickr user Ky used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Community Manager Tip: Have Great Metrics

For community managers, having excellent metrics is one of the best ways to show your progress and help justify your efforts to management when talking about budgets and staffing for the community. It provides an early warning system and diagnostics for potential community issues, which gives you time to make corrections before things get too bad.

Here are a few tips for having great metrics:

  • Measure many details to help you diagnose issues, but focus on a smaller subset that are used to determine success / failure.
  • The smaller subset should map to your goals and strategies for your community as a whole to show that you are meeting your objectives.
  • Share your metrics with your community. I have a public report with the data and a second internal report with more detailed analysis and suggestions for where the team can improve.
  • Measure across a few categories. I use awareness, membership and participation / engagement.

Additional Reading

Note: I hope to make this into a series of short posts (approximately weekly) to share quick tips for community managers.

Image by Flickr user Kevinzhengli used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.