This past week, I was tasked with the assignment of being the #CMGRclass moderator. My job was to introduce new content to the class that would help us further discuss the topics we’ve been reading throughout. This week’s topic was listening and planning. Each member of our class has had a different experience with social media and community management both on a personal and professional level. My main goal was to not only create a discussion about the topic at hand but to also allow people to reflect on their experiences and teach everyone else about some new practices that we may not have heard of before. Once I had my goal set, I could finally start my moderating journey. While there are many things that a moderator is in charge of, three of the most important are the introduction of content, engaging with the community, and monitoring, not dominating, the conversation.
On my quest to find the perfect content, I tried to find articles that were informative, yet open ended. I wanted people to have the opportunity discuss some of the topics further without feeling like the article was right above all else. Each article explained a different practice used by community managers in either the listening or planning phase. In my opinion, each article brought up points that not only tied to this week’s topic but also tied into our previous lessons on community management vs. social media management and content curation.
What I learned: Just sharing any piece of content with your community is not worth much if it doesn’t relate to the topic of conversation at hand. Learn to find information that really matters, share it, and wait for the feedback.
One of the golden rules when moderating and interacting with a company is to ask questions that will build on the current discussion and allow it to really prosper. While I did think that having the information from each article under my belt gave me a good starting point of discussion, I would have liked to have had more information in order to ask better questions. I was lucky enough to have community members who introduced everyone, including myself, who introduced new ideas and were able to keep the conversation going.
What I learned: You will never have enough questions going until the end of time and this is where your community’s engagement can work in your favor. In the end, it’s not about the quantity of questions, but the quality of each question.
Domination vs. Conversation
I am naturally a very talkative person. While I do consider myself to be an extroverted introvert, I can talk for hours about anything; especially if it’s something that I’m truly interested. One of the areas that I had a struggle with in the beginning was the difference between domination and conversation. Because I am so used to overtaking a conversation, I had to learn quickly that this type of verbal takeover is not conducive to fostering a good community. The members of the class didn’t sign up to hear me voice all of my opinions. They joined to really discuss different ideas and learn from one another. Rather than posting a piece of content and adding my comments, I would try to pose a question and like people’s comments as a way of continuing my engagement and not overtaking the entire experience.
What I’ve learned: When you dominate a conversation, it’s like you’re having it with yourself. Give your community the opportunity to really speak up engage with them without overwhelming them.
This experience taught me so many interesting things about the life of a community manager. In order to truly be successful, you must remember that it’s not always give and take. This type of black and white interaction can turn your community into one of the most boring situations in the world. However, if you pose a few questions and give the community time to actually engage using social media, you will see the transformation immediately. All in all, the overall experience was great and while I was nervous the entire time, I enjoyed taking that role within a community. Hopefully that won’t be the last time I’m in that role.