Recently, I was able to absorb some serious community management tips straight from five leaders in the field. From the experience, I have found two themes that emerged from the talk and want to share them with you.
As a student in the iSchool Community Manager course that hosts this blog, I had access to a four-person panel this week. It was held as a Google Hangout and moderated by Kelly Lux and Jenn Pedde, who offered some input over the transformation of the community manager role.
Shout out to Tracy with Foursquare, Alex at Vimeo, Gaven at Lenovo, and Kara with PolicyMic for their time and expert insights!
The two themes include enjoying the ride as a professional who is or is working toward being in a community manager role, as well as building communities that can last.
Here is the scoop:
Enjoy the ride. Most community managers’ previous experience shows a non-linear path to the role. Whether you background is business-to-business marketing, international relations or being an early adopter of chats, many people find themselves doing community management long before they are given the title on a business card. In some cases, they might have a different title anyway.
If you find yourself doing community management but are not necessarily being paid for it, you might still be on the career track to this position.
And, just when you accept an offer for your dream job, remember that it could completely change a year from that moment. One community manager noted that a recent company change completely retooled her daily role.
Build it to last. The best days for community managers are those that have a bustling online conversation without their input. Likened to the feeling of a conversation that starts with teenagers once the parents leave the room, or even a classroom when the professor steps out, this type of authentic conversation is what makes communities thrive.
This might be because a few people started chatting or, more formally, because you have an ambassador program with people who are extensions of your brand keeping the conversation going.
See my blog post, The First Rule of Ambassador Programs, for more about ambassador programs. They are a great way to ensure that you can take a vacation without the sky falling down.
The panel covered a lot more content than I can outline here but the two themes covered give you a taste of these four professionals’ experiences in the role. If you were part of the Google Hangout, please leave your thoughts about the panel below. If not, what do you think about these two themes in community management?
Feel free to add more tips in the comments below.