Lessons to be Learned from Mom about Community Management

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Mom’s (almost) always right. Lessons learned during my childhood apply well to community management and especially when it comes to meeting people or growing a network or business. Even if community management isn’t in your title, many of us are trying to grow a community surrounding a product, business, interests or even a book. Even nowadays she, the Great One, reminds me of these lessons when I need it!
Mom

photo credit: daveparker

#1 Nothing’s Handed to You on a Silver Platter
Sitting pretty with a slick avatar and website won’t bring you community members or potential customers. Patience, research, listening, curiosity and an understanding of your audience are essential characteristics of community managers. After a company’s purpose is clear, it’s their responsibility to act as the eyes and ears – but more importantly – the soul of the organization that emits the business’s brand mission. Growth and sentiment in communities can take from three to six months to make a strong ripple.

#2 Get Out There! (Be Proactive)
Community managers or an active voice of the organization can’t afford to be shy or intimidated. The degree of influence people hold doesn’t remove them from the pool of….people. Mom helped me elevate this in an every day headset. Especially being Deaf, I had moments where I wondered if people would have lacked enthusiasm about overcoming a minor communication barrier. Sometimes she still nudges me (especially when it comes to dating, oh boy!) and because of that, I have a good attitude in work. I actively seek out like minded people that might take interest engaging or helping out the community I help manage.
No harm, no gain. Remember lesson #1.

#3 Don’t Feel Sorry for Yourself
Mom hammered this in my head. She always believed despite whatever the circumstances, you just shouldn’t feel sorry for yourself. It wouldn’t do good and a negative, pitiful vibe would just ooze from the person even if they didn’t realize it. If a certain post or campaign didn’t get as much engagement as you hoped, look at it as an opportunity to analyze and learn what went wrong. We are fortunate in that America has a culture that supports failure and speedy recovery if we’re willing to learn from it. Community managers have a responsibility to deliver quality content and attention to the customer/communities. If we fail for some reason, we cannot always seek comfort from others but we can revel in the opportunity to change the situation. If you feel like you lack expertise in an area, start studying or ask relevant experts in your network to meet for coffee (your treat).
Of course, I’m not saying you can’t have a good cry or bang your head against the wall, but keep it to yourself, then put on your rockstar hat and get back to work!)

Be Nice (Duh, I know)
My mom works in customer service & customers shower her with gifts during the holidays and I score some cookies every now and then. But she’s not digging for perks. She’s just genuinely a friendly, inquisitive human being and it’s enthralling. I know “be nice” is so simple, and maybe boring but it makes the experience memorable.

and….a SURPRISE
Before I leave you with these lessons, I have another, totally, unrelated thing for you to learn. Gini Dietrich wrote about a wild new tool called the Content Idea Generator and it was my source of inspiration for this post. Now, I didn’t copy the title suggested verbatim (nor do I recommend you do either, especially if more and more bloggers start using it and come with the same titles) but I am glad to have bestowed my mother’s lessons on us all!

What are some lessons your mother could teach us about community management?

 

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Anne Reuss
Addicted to adrenaline, adventures and social media, Anne Reuss needs her fuel and gets it from coffee, fitness and the occassional slurpee. Being Deaf has only taught her to love challenge and listen abnormally well. She is a beer-loving homebrewer and community manager for 360Connext, a customer experience consulting firm, and a freelance marketing consultant.
Anne Reuss

@AnneReuss

Customer experience cmgr. Mad for fitness, accessibility, #TechSexy, ncca fball, adventures & slurpees. Deaf beerhunter & brewer, blogger addicted to adrenaline
"Artist Stitches Her Hands To Challenge Notion That ‘Women’s Work Is Easy’" I wonder what's it like taking them out http://t.co/fz4f1pMuqN - 3 hours ago
Anne Reuss
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  1. Anne,

    This is great advice! It rings true as a parent, and as someone who got a lot of the same advice from my parents.

    But, as you say, mom is ALMOST always right. I wouldn’t take my mom’s advice on Facebook (sorry mom), but these core concepts are all so important, not just for community managers.

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