There’s only so much you can learn from books and articles. Life’s greatest lessons come from experience. At first, I was nervous to start my week as the CMGRclass Moderator, but I became more excited when I began to realize that it would help me truly grasp the feeling of being a Community Manager. My most important lessons and takeaways from the week are below.
I was lucky enough to have a great topic to work with for the week. So far, we’ve learned about the factors that go into making a community great, but you can’t even get to that point until you learn how to start a community from scratch. I was able to discuss a wide range of topics, because anything related to making a community stronger has to be considered from the very beginning! I enjoyed all of the articles from this week as well as the chapter in Buzzing Communities, so I had a great time leading discussions on the topic.
Getting community members engaged is more complex than most people think. You read about it in articles and class readings, but as a moderator, you experience it first-hand. Here are the three things I learned about engagement this week:
Learn from previous posts. Some of your posts are going to get a lot of activity, and some are going to be left alone. Learn from it! Track the type of posts that generate conversation and engagement, and craft the rest of your content to match.
- Get a conversation going. You’re more likely to get people engaged if you ask them a question or spark a conversation. Once you have a few comments on a post, I noticed that the flow of conversation really started to move itself. When someone reacts to a post, you comment back as a Moderator, and other members become even more interested in joining the conversation.
- It isn’t going to be easy. Learning the ropes definitely takes time. I struggled with getting people to react and engage–and this was a group of people who needed to participate in order to earn a grade! I can’t even imagine how much effort goes in to getting members engaged in a community where participation isn’t obligated.
Across All Platforms
“Should a brand be equally active across both channels or try to cater their content to where the audience is?” One of my posts on the page led to a discussion about posting content across all platforms, and this helped show me that it isn’t as easy as it seems. I feel as though one platform may be more established than others and, by nature, most members will flock and feel most comfortable there. Take our class for example. The moderators and professors post content on three different platforms: Google+, Twitter, and WordPress.
If you track the activity of the semester thus far, most engagement occurs in the Google+ group. This surprises me because I assume that most class members are using this platform for the first time (myself included). As young college students, I would expect there to be more engagement on Twitter, a site we all use daily. I’m even surprising myself! Also, even though we are required to post weekly on the blogs, we aren’t commenting on them or getting engaged with posts written by others. The only activity I had on Twitter was with Ally Greer, a CM for Scoopit and a CMGRclass panel guest! I only tweeted a few times, but, because the posts didn’t receive much activity, I didn’t want to bombard the account with Tweets that weren’t generating any feedback.
I posted twice in one day. My first post was a question related to one of the readings from this week. It received no attention. Soon after, I sparked a conversation with a real-life scenario about my a cappella group, Groovestand. It was kind of a “what would you do?” type of situation, and the class reacted well to it! It was only a few people, but there were over 15 comments on the post, and it was a real conversation.
The topic was something that a few people could relate to but, even if it wasn’t, I think people really reacted well to a scenario that made them think and asked for their advice on a real topic. It was great, because everyone used things we’ve learned from the class as well as information they had prior, and I really learned a lot from them.
Personally, I was having a rough week. My schedule was ten times more hectic than usual, and even personal issues had me in an off mood. I tried to make sure that my personal life wouldn’t get in the way of what I had to do as a professional (because that’s how I was treating it). It was important to me that my own feelings didn’t affect the content I was putting out or the way I was behaving to the group.
I learned that being a CM is a 24/7 job. You have to be on your toes for everything, and it’s up to you to get conversations going and continuing to flow! I had a great time being a Moderator for this class, and it opened my eyes to how important getting engaged is for the class. This is the best I’ve felt thus far in this class, and now I’m ready to take the rest of the semester head on. All in all, this week was the best lesson I could ask for.
People who participated this week:
– Jaime Manela
– Zachary J Prutzman
– Aashmeeta Yogiraj
– Hannah Nast
– Ben Glidden
– Anne Suchanek
– Andra Kenner
– Jess McDonald
– Katie Lemanczyk