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Yes, You’re A Community Manager

May 26, 2009

Are you on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Any other social network? Then, you’re a community manager — managing yourself as a brand.

This is the reality of our digital life. We constantly create artifacts that others come to know us by, whether consciously or subconsciously. This is the first in our three-part series on social media monitoring ourselves. Let’s start with defining yourself and your community.

What Have You Got to Lose?
Your reputation. Make one wrong move and you’ve blown your credibility, likability and/or your community’s trust. For example, piss off one follower, and his reaction might cause you to lose many more in the process.

How you portray yourself online is tougher to do than in person. You must always put your best foot forward, because you never know when you’re making a first impression or the hundredth impression. Understandably you can’t always be “on.” But it’s worth taking the time to think twice about what you’re “saying.”

Who Is Your Audience?
Or more importantly, who do you want it to be? Determining who you’re talking to is the first step in building your community. Get inside the minds of your followers.

1. What do they care about?
2. Why should they care? Give them something more interesting, informative, indispensable etc. than their friends can give them. Anyone can talk toothpaste. What can you say about it that either no one else has or no one else would? Be relevant enough to break through their inundated world.
3. How do you reach them? The old adage “fish where the fish are” couldn’t be more fitting here. But it also means making sure your bait is visible and enticing. And by your bait, I mean your name/identity.

How To Captivate Them
Think of your community as a party where you’re the host. In order to be a better host, here are the questions you should be asking yourself often:

1. Who are my biggest supporters? Recognize them both publicly and privately. Find a way to reward them. (That could simply mean giving them exclusive content.)
2. Am I being a good host/hostess? A good host/hostess will be a catalyst for dialogue.
3. Have a given people a reason to come back?

Say you do all this. How do you know if it’s all working? There are tools for that. Check out Part Two of this three part series as we talk about the pros and cons of what’s available to help you analyze your party hosting — or community management — skills.

NOTE: This originally appeared on Threeminds.

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