What mistakes do you see most often in Community Management?


(Nick Emmett) #1

I was thinking a little bit about this yesterday, how in many articles we read across the internet, we’re often shown what to do in order to make your Community successful. What we don’t often see are articles suggesting what NOT to do! For all you guys that are consulting out there, what mistakes do you see your clients making that others should try to avoid? And for other Community Managers out there, what mistakes have you made and learned from, or have seen in places you’ve worked?

Lets try and get a list of things to avoid.


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Excellent topic.

I can definitely speak to mistakes that I’ve made in the past.

  • Not testing/tracking data to see what works and as a result, wasting time on things that don’t necessarily return
  • In my early days I would always ask the community for feedback without making it clear that the place was not a democracy, so while their opinions would be considered, the final decision was mine to make.
  • We all know that honesty and transparency are important, but I think a lot of people forget that they also apply to personality. Experience has taught me that the more open I am personally, the easier people find it to connect with the community, which results in engagement.
  • Not sharing mistakes! People tend to talk about successes, but sharing the bits that go wrong is much more useful for others who are learning.

One of the biggest mistakes that I think any CM could make is not to take chances for fear of getting it wrong. While there is a lot of science to this game, every community is nuanced, so trying new things has to be part of your game plan.


(Steve Bridger) #3

Yup. Good one. I’m always mindful of this in wording calls for feedback, functionality wishlists, etc.


(Jessica Malnik) #4

I can also speak to a mistake that I’ve made in the past. That’s keeping processes in my day to day manual for too long because it’s easy or convenient for me to do it, as opposed to turning these manual processes into SOPs that can be delegated (to a more junior person on the team, an intern, a VA, etc) or fully automated (a best case scenario!). Hint, within a 20 minute conversation with any community manager, I bet I could find at least three things that could be delegated or automated that you are currently doing manually. (I know because I’ve probably done all of those things manually before.) The reality is you can delegate or automate anything that doesn’t have to do with managing face to face relationships or nets less than 20% of overall results.

If you are a type A classic overachiever- like myself - it can sometimes feel like delegation and automation are dirty little shortcuts. Like you are cutting corners on the wrong things or maybe sacrificing “great” for “just good enough.” The reality is that you may be sacrificing 100% for 80% on some tasks, but those are likely the tasks that are more basic or tied to the small wins. It’s 100% necessary if you are want to free up valuable time to focus on strategies that net big community wins. For example, split-testing and analyzing what tweet worked better is a very small win. If you are not an entry level social media manager or coordinator, you should be delegating this to a team member, or an intern or a VA.

Big community wins (such as optimizing the onboarding process) are the things that can help you scale your community team, give you a bigger budget and potentially lead to a raise or promotion. Small wins lead to coasting in your role, not growing as much as you could be and essentially doing the same thing day in and day out.


(Colleen Young) #5

My biggest mistakes:

  1. Not benchmarking - I’m remedying that right now with the new project I’m starting. Thanks for the Growth Club info.
  2. Not regularly feeding back the benefit, milestones, successes of the community to the decision-makers in a manner that was meaningful for them.

There are plenty more, but these are the things I’m working on improving right now.


(Nick Emmett) #6

These are great things to bear in mind. I think part of the reason I asked the question is because sometimes you don’t know that you’re making mistakes until you see/read/hear something that suggests you might be. You might be ticking over doing your thing, thinking that you’re doing the right thing, and then realise someone’s not doing that, and why. I love penny dropping moments. I’ve been a full time Community Manager for six months, having done it as a secondary role previously, and I’m just starting to see things that I’m thinking of as mistakes thanks to the awesome information I see and read about in my networks and communities. Things such as my onboarding process and welcome email being incredibly clunky. And also that my time could likely be spent better elsewhere than on some of that stuff. I learn new benchmarking and metrics to track and analyse almost weekly in here. A mistake that I’ve read about is tracking that information and not giving yourself the time to actually take action.

Thanks for making these mistakes guys :smile: