Whether you have a dedicated community manager or someone who wears twelve hats, and handles everything, there are a few things that will erode all of the work your association has put towards growing your online community.They are:
That information’s on our Facebook page
When you direct traffic outwards, away from your online community, you’re competing with pictures of cute puppies snuggled with babies and shrieking friends getting ice water poured over their heads. There’s a good chance with all that amusing content, they won’t be back – at least not immediately. It is better to repeat the information than refer them elsewhere once they’re logged in to your online community.
I’m sick and tired of all the <insert partisan hatred here>
Unless you lead the Association of Warmongers or Society of Bleeding Hearts (these names were both made up and do not reflect any political preference), your personal political thoughts do not belong in the mix, no matter how popular they might be.
That does not mean you need to ban political discussion, it just means if you are the community manager, you don’t need to pick sides in politics – unless you alternate as an instigator of sorts, but that is tricky business and best left up to the professional entertainers.
While being vocal about picking a political side is ill-advised, this does not apply to having an opinion in general. Engaging community managers have tons of personality and know how to tell the difference between subjects that are divisive and subjects that bring about healthy debate.
Say that again and you’re out!
Just as an employee doesn’t want to be “called out” in public, threatening a member of the community in a public post is not necessary. If you enforce the community guidelines reprimanding a member should rarely occur.
If you have an issue with a member’s online conduct that needs to be addressed, do so in private. Explain how she is violating the guidelines and show her the section where she can find and understand the punitive steps you will take.
Using someone as a public example for the online community is not a good idea. However, placing something in the comment thread about the community’s stance on inappropriate language (for instance) and referencing that section of the guidelines makes everyone aware of the infraction without humiliating the member.
An online community of association members is different than every other social network. Each person in your community is a dues-paying member that you will see at events, conferences, and meetings so you don’t have the same freedoms that other community managers have. However you do need to create and nurture a community culture that people want to be a part of so setting expectations is important.
Avoiding these don’ts is a good start. What don’ts would you add to the list?