I cringe whenever I see a community manager use phrases like:
“Thank you for taking the time to contact us.”
“We would like to wish you a happy thanksgiving”
These phrases, along with many, many, others are terrible for community building.
They’re major impersonality signals. They’re roadblocks to having a sustained conversation with an individual. We associate them with interacting with plastic customer representatives, not people we want to befriend.
Community managers should have a personality. It shouldn’t be a personality they’re faking. They shouldn’t adopt a polite, customer-service, orientated mindset.
Community managers should be hired because their personality suits the audience they’re trying to reach. They should be allowed (and encouraged) to unleash the full-force of their personality upon the community.
If I’m managing a community, I want to get to know them. I ask them questions. I makes jokes and tease members. When Patrick has forgotten his password for the third time, I tease him. I might send him my top ten ways to remember it (and reset it), or make a comical demand e.g. send me a picture of a puppy on a skateboard to get it back.
I’m happy to agree and disagree with members. I’m genuinely interested in their lives beyond the community. I act like a real person. The more members like me, the more likely they are to return to my community.
There is no rulebook here. It wouldn’t work in a community of biophysicists. Luckily, I’m not managing a community of biophysicists.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this. The hardest part of FeverBee’s consulting is realizing a community manager isn’t suited to the community they want to manage.
Two things. First, a brand should make sure they hire a community manager whose personality fits the audience. I worry about agencies that manage multiple communities on behalf of clients. Second, make sure the community manager is trained to unleash their personality, be himself or herself, and build genuine one-to-one relationships with the audience.