Three C’s of Community Management: Curiosity, Courtesy, Constancy
I love alliteration so I hope you’ll bear with me after reading the title of this blog. And, alliteration aside, these three c’s really do have a lot to do with community management. Of course, strategy, research and content all play a large part in growing a successful community, but the actual practice of managing a community takes some human qualities that involve the art of communication. To be human is to be curious. To be a good human is to be kind to others. To be a friend means you show up all the time. So how is that relationship between a community and the one who manages it reflected in these human qualities of curiosity, courtesy and constancy?
Definition: “marked by a desire to investigate and learn…marked by inquisitive interest in other’s concerns.” (Merriam-Webster)
Do: be inquisitive. Practicing curiosity in community management is a two-fold affair. It combines inquisitiveness and investigation which is manifested in an active interest shown in the lives and concerns of its community members.
Don’t: practice curiosity and interest out of self-motivation or with hidden agendas. That just comes across as disingenuous and don’t think that your community won’t notice. They will.
Definition: “a courteous and respectful act or expression…consideration, cooperation, and generosity in providing something.” (Merriam-Webster)
Do: be courteous, considerate, cooperative, generous… these are all marks of respect and kindness to those in our online community. Does it always happen? No. But community managers can set the tone by modeling the behavior they want to see in the community.
Don’t: only be courteous when it’s all sweetness and light in your community… that’s not realistic. Frustrations, irritation, a sense of unfairness and more will show up in your community, and while they expect you to act human, they expect that humanness to only be courteous and respectful.
Definition: “the quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love or loyalty…uniformity or regularity, as in qualities or conditions; stability.” (The Free Dictionary)
Do: be consistent. Constancy or consistency is also two-fold. It’s showing up regularly in the community as well as providing a sense of stability and purpose in how you show up.
Don’t: leave your community hanging or wondering what’s going on. Inconsistent engagement, response times and anything that gives a sense of multiple personalities from a community manager will leave your community feeling unsure and questioning the stability of the community.
Here’s a simple illustration: what is the difference between a tree and a flower? Trees are adaptable to changing seasons. They provide shelter and food. They command attention and can blend in. Their roots go deep and wide to provide stability.
Flowers are pretty. They look good, they smell good, but they don’t last. They wilt in the hot sun. We admire flowers and enjoy their beauty and sweet scent, but in the end, we toss them in the garbage. Are you a tree or a flower?
A tree embraces you. As a community manager, you embrace your community. You are adaptable to changing situations and moods, you provide stability in the community. You are looked to for guidance and are an active and consistent member of the community as well. And you provide conversation and content specifically suited to your members. Don’t be a flower. Embrace your community and your position!
Author: Teri Kojetin
Teri Kojetin is the Administrative Assistant for a local company called Color Glo and works with the blog and content creation at NISM (National Institute for Social Media). Teri has a background that ranges from teaching in Mexico as a missionary for 15 years, administrative services for 12 years and 4 years of community management in social media agencies before landing at NISM and now, Color Glo, where she combines both her administrative and social media skills.
Teri has been involved in non-profit charitable organizations in both a volunteering capacity and campaign management. Teri believes that providing all-around support to others, along with an attitude of learning and living out your passion, leads to fulfillment and success both for others and for herself. When she isn’t working, Teri enjoys journaling, painting, cooking, camping and spending time with her mini me granddaughter.