Who’s In Charge Here?

This question has been coming up for me lately: who’s in charge of my communities?

Some days, I think it is me. I write content. I engage fans. I help them when they ask. And sometimes when they don’t. I listen. I learn. I’m the head honcho here, people.

But then there are other days. Days when I get sent a post idea from one of my colleagues that isn’t bad, but I know think won’t resonate well with my fans. Or – even worse – when someone sends me an email asking me to do something that violates the terms of use of a social media channel. Or is straight up illegal. (host a giveaway on my Facebook wall, anyone?)

Who’s in charge then?

In my current organization, all social media properties are “owned” by our PR team. Almost everything I post to a social media channel is seen and approved by my PR manager. So, technically, he or she is in charge. If I have something I am questioning, I can easily go to them, plead my case my case and argue for my community.

But there I go again. Calling it my community. The fact of it is that if my PR manager says I have to post something then I have to post it. They own the channel. I report to them. And they get final say. No matter how much I argue, if they want me to post something – or don’t – I have to listen.

There have been many times when I have had to take the hit. Post something I didn’t want to or not respond to a fan when I did want to. On those days I land on the decision: I am definitely not in charge here.

The plight of a community manager is this: we spend our entire day in the weeds, work on weekends, and deal with crazy cat ladies, but we aren’t really in charge of anything.

There are those beautiful times, though, when not being in charge is about as good as it gets. That post that the VP of Marketing saw on his daughter’s Twitter and didn’t like? Wasn’t me! PR approved it. I happen to be one of those lucky community managers who works with a PR team who will take the heat. And man oh man do I love them for that.

I have built trust with my PR managers through increased engagement and overall performance on social media. They believe I will do the right thing and don’t breathe down my neck.

But I can’t stop one thing from nagging me, though: if I was in charge, would my communities be better? Or (even more nagging) would they be worse?

Tell me: who is in charge of your communities? Does it work for you?


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