5 things I had to unlearn as a community manager

When I tell someone who is 40-55 years old that I am working in social media, they say “Wow! That sounds so interesting and engaging.” When I tell someone who graduated in 2009 (like me) or earlier, they say “How on earth did you make Facebookyour job?”Well, first off, Facebook isn’t my entire job. Social media is. But that isn’t the point. The point is that members of my college class and generation view social media very differently than those who are older. Especially those in brand marketing. To us, Facebook has always been a place where we post embarrassing pictures, try to find the latest hookups and see just where exactly Saturday’s Pimps and Hos party will be.

But to generations above me, Facebook is a business tool. A business tool employing new technologies and growing like crazy that needs to be tapped into. Like, right now. Hell, like 3 years ago.

Understanding this point of view leads me to the topic of this post: the 5 ways I had to unlearn about Facebook to be an effective community manager:

1. A ‘status’ update shouldn’t be your status at all. Status updates are the best way to access your fans because they aggregate and appear on users news feeds. So they need to be engaging, relevant and damn interesting to gain their attention. Not what you had to lunch or what super awesome rave you’re heading to tonight.

2. Not all Facebook users are like me. Not even a small minority are like me. In terms of age alone, 50% of Facebook users are 36+ years old, while I’m 24. And most users don’t list their interests as celebrity gossip, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (don’t ask) and black coffee. I have to work to better understand who they are and what they want.

3. Fans ain’t nothing but a number, baby. Having the page with the most fans, photos and posts does not make you an influencer. Finding the balance of what you can give and what your fans can take is key. Don’t focus solely on numbers.

4. It isn’t about ME. I may think everyone in my brand’s community should love to hear how a famous celebrity uses our product every day. But they don’t. And won’t. No matter how hard I try to push it. Content is dictated by your users, not you. So stop talking about Britney Spears and Oprah all the time (This could be just me).

5.  I don’t know it all. I’m not a guru, expert, evangelist, swami or ninja. I’m learning how to best utilize this technology just like everybody else. You have to roll with the punches, learn from your mistakes, take it with a grain of salt…all that stuff. If Jane Doe from 555 County Road X in Nowhere, USA is unhappy with a post I made (that I happen to think was awesome) then I have to listen her gripes and learn from it moving forward. My community will appreciate in the long run.

This list grows longer every day. But I think these are the most important factors when transitioning your use of Facebook from stalking to marketing.

3 thoughts on “5 things I had to unlearn as a community manager

  1. Pingback: How to: Humanize your customer service on social media | Andrea Aileen

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