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The Dark Side of Community Management

Perspectives on the personal challenges of community management from TheCR Network members: Assembled by TheCR and Maria Ogneva

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The Dark Side of Community Management

  1. The dark side of community management!and why community managers need their own networkPerspectives of TheCR Network membersAssembled by TheCR and Maria Ogneva
  2. About this eBook“How do you keep yourself from caring too much, taking your work home all the time andthe danger of your identity becoming one with your community identity?”“Part of the issue of burnout is defending what you do each and every day. If we are theonly people who are having advanced conversations or know that we are more than just anavatar, this is a problem.”“I think managers don’t understand what community management is or how it’s stressful,nor do they give a thought to the cost when a community manager leaves.”Sound familiar?The Community Roundtable’s 2013 State of Community Management research foundthat the most common challenges community managers face are:1.  Lack of or limited resources2.  Lack of executive support3.  Resistance to social technology in an organizationThis eBook is a result of a discussion among members of TheCR Network and includesdirect quotes from community managers across different industries. It aims to helpcommunity managers and their colleagues identify symptoms of burnout and developstrategies to avoid or combat it.
  3. We let our passion control us. Don’t.
  4. “As community managers, we are passionate,which is a great trait to have. However, when I got to the point when I wasdreaming of writing content calendars andconversations with fans that never happened, Iknew I was involved a little too much.”
  5. Passion is what drivesyou and gives your lifemeaning. Obsessionhappens when you arefixated on something,forsaking all the rest.Understand thedifference betweenpassion and obsessionto change yourthoughts and actions.Find balance bycultivating otherinterests offline.
  6. We internalize.Don’t.
  7. “A community manager cannot really vent outto anyone, at least not publicly. I mean, my face and name and employer is onmy social profiles, Im known internally forsupporting the social initiatives and basicallythe "role" I have is to be in the pioneer role.”
  8. In the inevitable times ofconflict, the job of acommunity manager is tocalm others down whilethey fall apart. Not only isthe conflict taxing, buteven more so is the needto be a counselor toothers.Instead of internalizingconflict, look for supportfrom across theorganization in helpingyou shoulder some ofthe burden. (e.g. If youknow a certain featurewillbe contentious, makesure your product peopleare on standby.)
  9. We are problemsolvers.Give people space.
  10. “If we are the only people who are havingadvanced conversations or know that we aremore than just an avatar, this is a problem.”
  11. Everyone looks to youfor answers, and oftenyou’re the onlycommunity manager atyour company.Avoid being theauthority figure, and letothers take thespotlight. (e.g. Point acustomer to answeranother customer’squestion.)
  12. We keep trying to scale ourselves.Stop trying to scale people, andscale systems.
  13. “We have to find ways to pull others in andshare the load.”
  14. Just because yourcommunity is globaldoes not mean that youalways need to beonline and never sleep.Build human systemsthat scale infinitely.Recruit and groom yourcommunity’sambassadors.Empower employeesand customers.
  15. We are changeagents.Drop the saviorcomplex.
  16. “Its all about selling and communicating newmethods of working to a sometimes veryskeptical audience. Sometimes rewarding, always interesting andsometimes very frustrating.”
  17. Being involved ineverything makes iteasy to see what’s rightand wrong. The wrongis jarring and unsettling,and our instinct is to fixit.Be realistic about whatyou can change andinfluence – and howlong it will take.  
  18. We celebrate others.Toot your own horn.
  19. “When people don’t appreciate what you doand don’t see the value of what you do, thatgoes from unpleasant to devastating.”
  20. Many companies don’tknow what theircommunity managersdo. Good communitymanagers celebrateothers, and peopleassume the communityworks by itself.Step out of theshadows and drumyour own drum! Takecredit for your work.
  21. We can be alone.Develop a support system.
  22. “I feel like very, very few people in my officeappreciate my work.I get little to no support from other employeesin the community with posting and engaging.Maybe five out of a company of over 200 willpost. And only when I ask them to jump in.”
  23. When people haveproblems they go to acommunity manager.But where does acommunity managergo?Build a supportivenetwork of communitymanagers and ask foradvice when you needit.  
  24. Moving forwardCommunity managers carry the responsibility and opportunity to report the success oftheir programs, and the 2013 State of Community Management survey data reassuresus that community management is recognized and valued.Despite the ongoing challenges, more than 80 percent of survey respondents reporteda positive sentiment about the community program at their organizations, and morethan 50 percent even described it as having evolved from initial skepticism or resistance.The future is looking up!In addition, almost 40 percent of surveyed organizations have figured out how toquantify the value of this role. These measures match community traffic, activity andsentiment analysis to increased revenue and satisfaction of the core audiences.Community managers are not alone. Together, their work is moving the business ofcommunity forward. At TheCR, we believe investing in a support system of like-mindedpeople can not only be professionally fulfilling but serves as that lifeline in times of conflictor distress and a place to share victories, big and small.
  25. Contributing membersTeresa Basich Marie Connelly James LaCorteLisa Lukowski Maggie McGary Maria Ogenva Christian RubioMarko Suomi Lauren Vargas Maggie Vining
  26. Share your story:@TheCR #CMDarkSideThe Community Roundtable Group TheCR Network [$995/year]
  27. About The Community RoundtableMission: Advance the Business ofCommunity1.  Champion: Advocate for the needs of communitybusiness owners and teams2.  Educate: Provide training solutions to community andsocial business leaders3.  Curate: Aggregate, document and share communitymanagement best practicesMember Organizations & ClientsServices•  TheCR Network•  TheCR Focus•  TheCR Advisory•  TheCR Research•  Community ManagementTrainingRachel HappePrincipal and Co-Founder@rhappeJim StorerPrincipal and Co-Founder@jimstorerLeadership