Community managers are getting lazy. I think it’s because many who actually hold the title, aren’t really doing the job. On some level, it isn’t their fault. The people hiring them don’t know what they’re looking for and many are strictly numbers driven.
Success is measured in “likes” and ‘comments.” Job descriptions mention the growth of a Facebook or Twitter community, when there isn’t one in existence in the first place. Fans and followers do not constitute a community. But despite how I feel about that, which is all based on experience, the jobs are plenty and that is a good thing. But community management is an art and a craft that must be fostered and developed.
Real community managers know this. The others are simply playing community managers on the internet. And here’s how they operate. Here, I give you the five habits of highly ineffective community managers:
1. They are constantly asking users to help them reach specific milestones. You’ve seen it before: “Help us get to 5,000 fans,” “Like this post so we can beat our record of 90 likes on a single post,” Five more comments to reach 100, come on..post!” Does this sound familiar? I know you’ve seen it. This is the absolute laziest way to grow a community. It’s all about numbers to the people who do this. I hate to even refer to them as community managers. They could care less about actual engagement. They’re just looking for bragging rights.
2. They don’t bother to learn about community management as a craft, or how to improve. I am not saying they don’t read or subscribe to blogs about social media. They do that. But they probably don’t read blogs about community management or take time to visit other successful communities to see what makes them great. They’re not reading Rich Millington’s Feverbee, Martin Reed’s Community Spark, Blaise Grimes-Viort, Connie Bensen, Alison Michalk, emoderation, The Community Roundtable, Dawn Foster’s Fast Wonder, or Patrick O’Keefe. When you care about community management, you connect with these thought leaders.
3. They don’t contribute as much as they should. Any community manager worth their weight knows that oftentimes you have to be the biggest contributor. The others fail to realize that they must lead by example and if they would just communicate with members of the community, they’d soon become an influential force with the ability to make things happen.They’d rather ask participants to “share their stories” on some boring topic and deem themselves an expert at engagement once the entries start rolling in.
4. They phone it in, scheduling posts in bulk with no interest in real-time conversations. These community manager-types don’t deal with the present or what’s happening in the real world. Timeliness is unimportant, as long as they reach those numbers. They automate it all, and set cruise control.
5. They spend more time searching for their next social media job than fostering dialogue and discussions. This one needs no explanation. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. I certainly fit the bill. But why not focus on actually growing a successful community so that when you do get that next opportunity, you’re a shoe-in?
I’ve interviewed many people who tell me they know how to engage and they’ve run all sorts of campaigns that tripled a company’s fan base and ran a successful Twitter chat. But when the conversation gets deep and I try to hone in on how they engage and maintain a user base, the answers are pretty thin. It’s clear that they haven’t been in the trenches, or if they were, they didn’t want to be there.
So there you have the five habits of highly ineffective community managers. There are definitely more and I do plan to bring them to light over the next few months. In the meantime, if there are any others you’ve seen, I’d love to hear about them.
(Orignially posted on my blog, on March 19, 2012)