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You might be the forum moderator or the social media guru of your company. You might be the business owner or marketing director who manages social media along with everything else that's going on in your life and office. You might even be a social media expert managing the reputations of multiple clients at once.
Here are a few words of wisdom just for you, to help keep your bearings in this online world. Whether you manage a forum or a Facebook fan page, for one company or for multiple clients, we know you can do it! Go back to the basics with these few words of wisdom.
It will be stressful. Dealing with customers always is. Don't let yourself respond to people the same way they treat you sometimes – take a deep breath and play nice.
It will blow over. No matter how big of a deal it might seem like this issue is right now, at the end of the day, there are more important things.
Yes, be outspoken – about your users. Promote work that they do for you, or help that they give. Advertise and welcome newcomers, and find ways to reward the quiet ones as well as the power users. Let everyone be (and feel) heard and welcomed.
Then, and only then, promote your company and products. Be genuine. Know what your users are looking for, and help them see how your company can be the solution to their problems. Tell them, and then back off – they know where to find you to ask questions!
Say Thank You. A lot. To everyone. Say it happily and quickly. Recognize partners, or sponsors, or outspoken users, or lurkers. Acknowledge your own shortcomings, and thank people for putting up with you and your company.
Make sure you're saying the same things no matter where you are. Not the exact same updates, necessarily – know the culture of the media you're in: you can update a lot on Twitter and less on Facebook. But make sure that you are being consistent.
When you can, close the loop between your networks. Share pictures from TwitPic on your Facebook page or your blog. Have a cross-media contest where users are entered once for retweeting a tweet, another time for liking a Facebook comment, and a third time by commenting on your blog or forum.
Make sure people know who you are – as YOU. Use an avatar with your photo, share likes and dislikes, say things that are “off topic.” Be human.
At events, be there physically. Use your smartphone and get out in the crowd. Keep people engaged, whether they're there offline or online.
Know what people are saying. See where your other moderators are, and where people might be feeling ignored.
However, don't be in too much of a hurry to jump in. There's a difference between one squeaky wheel and a major PR problem. Instead of trying to fix everything, make sure you're paying attention so that you can fix the big things.
You see which users are good at moderating or welcoming or recognizing. Let them do what they're good at, and help them help you!
Don't let yourself be stuck online 100% of the time. People understand that you need to have some space, too.
Consider delegating some tasks to automation, too. If you know you want to start a conversation or share interesting news tonight, schedule it now!
Are you a community manager? Do you have any specific tips about problems you have experienced “in the field”? Share them below!