graffiti message says you got this

Appreciation matters

You never forget the important milestones in life like graduating from University, getting married, or being called a despot for removing a racist joke.

You nostalgically nod when recalling the first time someone told you “I wish I got paid for sitting on the internet all day.”* Or that time the charity CEO said “What’s the point of Facebook.”**

breathe image

Not a lot of people know this, but today is Community Manager Appreciation Day. If you manage an online space where people come together, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed at times, and misunderstood by many.

If you work for a charity, you’ll be absorbed in the real-life experiences of your supporters and on the receiving end of anger, complaints or disrespect. You’ll know the importance of ‘smiling from the wrists down’ when responding!

You’ll never forget the first person whose distress brought tears to your eyes, the first threat to leave your community due to a misunderstanding, or the first time a much-loved member passes away. You’ll know how important it is to find someone to offload with.

toy monkey chain showing support

You’ll also remember the first time someone told you why the community matters to them and what they’ve learned as a result. You’ll know the great feeling of reading through positive feedback, or being able to direct someone to the support they need.

If you’re new to community management, some of those things may be new to you. In time, you’ll find your own highs and lows, and your own tips and tricks to manage through tough times, learn from mistakes and share the great moments.

If you’re a lone community manager, you may not know who to connect with or how to go about this. The best way to do this is to find people in similar roles at similar organisations.

If you’re a community manager and you’re struggling, please know that you’re not alone. That there are others who understand.

Keep on learning, keep on sharing, keep on doing. You’ve got this.

graffiti message says you got this

Happy Community Manager’s Appreciation Day! More about CMAD:

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/category/cmad

*Yes that happened to me.

**That too. In three months they knew they were wrong. In 3 years, I built the brand community from 0 to 14,000 people across multiple platforms.

Starting with why

It sounds obvious. Why start another blog about community? There are plenty of blogs on this subject from content gurus, marketing ninjas and people who describe themselves in much less cringe-worthy ways.

Because most blogs seem to be written for community managers who are in it for the money. Sounds controversial. However, the vast majority of community management blogs, websites and events are tailored for people who are in the business of selling things and making profit. In it for the money. What if you work for a charity?

Your ‘why’ will be fundamentally different. Your purpose will be a cause or a challenge, and a belief that if people join you in that purpose, the world could be fundamentally different.

What if your primary aim is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? What if your primary users have a health condition? What if you’re in the business of giving (as well as asking)? What if your main driver is to bring social change, to tackle isolation, or encourage people to volunteer?

To meet your aims, you’ll need engagement and resources like any other organisation. To meet your aims well, you’ll need to connect people around your cause. You’ll need to empower people, to support people, to learn from people.

You’ll need to bring people together because if they buy into why you exist, they’ll want to join you in making your vision a reality. That goes far beyond a website visit, a donation, a newsletter subscription and into the business of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships aimed at making things better.

Community Management – the profession that brings people together – is vital to the success of a charity. Community has been steadily gaining traction in the charity sector and I’ve been excited to be part of this work over the past 10 years.

There’s much more that can be shared, discussed and learned, and more that can be done – so charities can connect people and make things better. This blog is my way of helping to share experience with others and I hope it will be helpful.

Community has always been primarily about people. John Coate, one of the world’s first online community managers said: “We realised pretty early on that we weren’t in the computer business, we were in the relationship business.”

Let’s bring people together – for good.

I’ll finish by sharing one of my favourite TED Talks, and the inspiration for this blog post. Before you do anything, it’s worth starting with why.

Simon Sinek – Start with Why. Full talk.

If you’ve only got five minutes, the edited version is below:

Simon Sinek – Start with Why. 5 minute edited version.