1st Rule of Community Management: Listen and Learn

What is Community Management? If you haven’t heard, it is the rising start in the web world. Even if it is under the guise of "Social Media Guru" it still breaks down to working with a community around something, and these days… that "something" can be just about anything.

No matter what your community is about, your role will include communicating to them and gathering information from them. The first rule of good communication is to "shut the hell up and listen". In order to do that you will need to make yourself available. These means being active within the community via blogs, forums, social websites, instant messaging or even plain old email.

Enter your community and start watching the flow of conversations. See what they like, don’t like and how they react to positive and negative information from their fellows. This will give you a better understanding of how to communicate to them in a way that they will respond to and promote an environment of collaboration. Additionally you should become very knowledgeable about the focus of your community, assuming you are not already a pro. The community will expect you to know as much as possible about this focal point. Sometimes the sheer amount of information can seem overwhelming and at the very least you should be willing to say "I don’t know, but I will find out", just be sure you do find out. You can also learn a great deal from the community itself. They are the best knowledge base for you and they will often have fine details on things that even your company might not. It is this knowledge base that will turn into a mother lode of useful information for you.

Once you feel comfortable, introduce yourself and join the conversation. I will cover that in my next post with my 2nd Rule of Community Management: Be the Middle Man



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