The community manager should be a frequent
participant in community discussions.
You don’t need to be the leader, but you do
need to be an influential regular.
If you want to build influence. Consider one
of these three, well-trodden, paths:
- Be an expert: Participate less, but add
expertise in every discussion. Find a unique viewpoint, unique information, or
summarize the debate. Go far beyond the contributions of every other
- Be likable. Participate very frequently
and in a very friendly way. Always be an optimist, never pessimist. Reach out
to members individually and get to know them. Refer to a member’s previous
contributions in your own response. Do interesting things and be someone others
want to reply to. Look up the classic How To Make Friends and Influence People.
- Reciprocate. Do a lot of things for many
other members. Reach out to dozens of members individually and find out what
they’re doing and ways to help them. If a member mentions a problem they’re
having in the community, look for a way to solve it.
Most people go for likability, this is the
most difficult to sustain over the long term. Expertise is easier. Reciprocity
is most rewarding.
All three of these are designed to give you
a high level of influence within the community. The key is to pick a path and
consistently push it to the edge.