At the #cmgrchat yesterday, I got into this debate with other community managers. Some people believed that a community manager doesn’t have to pretend to like and engage with some members of their community.
Really? So you’re telling me if you didn’t have your community manager job over there at your company, you’d still sincerely enjoy interacting with ALL of these members of your community?!
Even the creepy ones? Even the assholes? Even the trolls?
Now I’m not saying it’s impossible to develop real relationships with people in your community. If you’re not making any real relationships in the end, then you’re probably in the wrong line of work.
To say that you sincerely care about, and enjoy interacting with, EVERYONE in your community sounds like a load of crap. There are always going to be people who you usually wouldn’t care for, that you have to engage with because it’s your job.
I’m not talking about the will to help people. It’s possible to love helping people…although I still find it hard to believe that you enjoy helping every troll and asshole that talks trash about you and your company.
I’m talking about the concept of “engaging” or “building relationships”. Dare I say… a lot of the people that we engage with in our “personal” professional community aren’t people we’d usually interact with. We do it, because it can help our careers in the future.
A good community manager isn’t really building relationships for themselves, they’re building that connection to the brand and the rest of the community.
As a community manager, you are a representative of your company. All of your job related interactions should respect that fact. You’re not engaging with people for yourself, you’re engaging with people for your company.
So in the end, you have ask yourself… would my company want me to engage with this person?