Where does awesome Community Management come from?

rollercoster-coverI overheard my sister talking to our friend Jules about a Facebook post she’d just read.  She began reading it aloud, pausing at certain points and then completing the post, then following it with a ‘wow, isn’t that cool?’

I called from the kitchen of my apartment over to them in the next room.

‘Kate,’ I said, ‘do you know who wrote that?’

She didn’t answer.  I continued.

‘I mean, who wrote that, seriously.  Do you think I wrote it?’

She replied, slightly confused and taken aback.

‘I wrote that.  I manage that community on Facebook.’ Is all I said.

A Community Manager hopes for many things (likes, shares, comments, followers, retweets etc.) but none of that is as coveted after as creating a real story offline.  None of those other things are REAL.

Someone actually talking about something they read online, sharing the story verbally with a friend or relative, and feeling intrigued by the content enough to discuss it in real life is something all community managers strive for.

How odd that it was my own sister who brought it up out of nowhere.  Even more, how odd that she didn’t put two and two together that I’ve been managing this community for one year and she didn’t know it was me.  I’m glad she didn’t, or else the authenticity would have been lost.

I started thinking about good community management and where it begins as a skill.  It doesn’t always start with a strategy deck or an ad agency boardroom.  It starts well before that.

Years ago I used to play a computer game called Roller Coaster Tycoon.  The game fascinated me.  I could have control over my own world, attract visitors, encourage them to participate in activities and go on rides, provide sustenance and relief for them in the form of burger shacks and restrooms, and, on the whole, run their community.  Sure there were other expectations that you had to build your park’s ROI within a certain number of years, but the attraction was the attendees and their experiences.

I realized I had been managing a community well before it was considered to be so.  Anyone who plays the Simms or Zoo Tycoon would get it.

I’ve come a long way, but channeling the old mentality I had of being the after-school computer geek might be partially responsible for the success I’ve had today on social.

Build your community, make it fun and interesting, give something for everyone, and then hover over it like a creator, Lisa Simpson style.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. ademoiselle says:

    Reblogged this on ademoiselle and commented:

    I wrote this over a year ago but still find it relevant to Community Managers everywhere!

  2. Nick Mudry says:

    Great story. I really enjoyed that.

    Also, completely agree. As a community manager, you need to make your community more than a marketing message from the company you’re working for. You have to make it fun and engaging for everyone participating in that community.

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