There are many myths surrounding community management that often create false expectations and complicate the work of community managers. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a closed community like an in-house workforce or an open community of passionate consumers. The requirements are similar. In this article, we want to uncover and discuss some of these myths.
Myth 1: Community management is easy
Truth: Managing a community, no matter how large, requires patience, empathy and tenacity. It’s a challenging task to find the right balance between moderation and fostering exchange to build and sustain a healthy and engaged community.
Myth 2: Community managers are only there for customer support
Truth: Community managers contribute to many different aspects of the business. They are responsible for building relationships, engaging members, and promoting their own image. Customer support is only part of their job.
Myth 3: Anyone can be a community manager
Truth: Community management requires specific skills, such as communication, organization, and problem solving. A successful community manager needs soft skills like empathy, patience and adaptability. Not everyone brings these skills to the table, especially since this covers a broad, demanding spectrum compared to many other fields. You have to have the “technology” or the functional tools of the community just as much under control as the emotions of the people involved. This is anything but easy.
Myth 4: It is impossible to measure the success of a community.
Truth: There are several metrics and indicators that can be used to evaluate the success of a community manager or community. These include growth rates, engagement, employee or customer retention, and employee or customer satisfaction. Defining the metrics is important as a guideline for managing one’s community.
Myth 5: Community management is only relevant for large companies
Truth: Companies of all sizes can benefit from building and maintaining a community – internally or externally. An engaged community can help increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and strengthen existing customer relationships. An internal employee platform can lead to employees being happier and staying with the company longer.
Myth 6: Online communities are for social networks only
Truth: Online communities can exist on a variety of platforms, including forums, blogs, websites, chats and more. It’s important to choose the right platform for the needs of your audience and your business. It’s important to note that in the age of large social networks, expectations and requirements are naturally large.
Myth 7: Communities are just a short-term trend
Truth: Communities have evolved over the years in the wake of the technological and especially the mobile revolution and are more important today than ever. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of engaged and loyal employees and external communities and are investing in professional platforms. Today, customers and employees expect professional communication channels that offer what they are used to in their private lives.
Myth 8: Community and social media management are the same thing.
Truth: Although they have some overlap, community and social media management are two different fields. Community management focuses on building and maintaining relationships within a community, while social media management mainly aims to improve a brand’s presence on social networks and create content.
Myth 9: A community builds itself
Truth: A successful community doesn’t just build itself. It requires ongoing efforts to attract new members, activate them, and keep existing members engaged. A good community manager plays a critical role in managing and supporting this process.
Myth 10: Negative comments are always bad
Truth: Negative comments provide an opportunity to get constructive feedback and address issues. A good community manager will use this opportunity to improve the situation and gain the trust of individuals. It is important to listen to criticism and be open to improvement in order to build a healthy and sustainable community.
In summary, community management is a complex and challenging task that requires both expertise and people skills. By uncovering and understanding these myths, organisations can have more realistic expectations of their community managers and provide them with the support they need to build successful and engaged communities.
For those who want to delve deeper into the topic of community building, we recommend this article from our colleagues at Hubspot, among others.