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The Community Manager’s Secret Weapon

Neon Dichotomy, by Josh Liba

photo by http://flickr.com/photos/jliba

What is it that makes a community manager amazing?

Being generous goes against everything you might think about protecting your ideas, protecting your business, and protecting yourself but when it comes to community, it’s everything.

When I started using Twitter, I didn’t understand why people took the time to share content and have conversations online with people they had never met.

The answer is deceptively simple – your peeps on Twitter are amazing friends you just haven’t met yet. That doesn’t mean that every interaction is without risk – it means that there is so much more to gain by interacting that you should start doing it. Now.

Keith Ferrazzi, in his book Never Eat Alone, talks about the process of engaging people, concluding:

Frequently, people won’t get back to you when you send them emails. you have to put your ego aside and persist in calling or writing. Setting up meetings take time. It’s up to you to take the initiative.

Twitter (and other social 2.0 services) collapse this process and allows you to find the people who are already raising their hands online and asking you to connect to them. That means that the people you need to talk to are out there – and will respond – if you take the initiative.

There are a few relationships I’ve built on Twitter – almost entirely by chance – that have snowballed into amazing opportunities. I want to take the opportunity to thank a few other connectors that have welcomed me to various communities and have not asked for anything in return. It all starts with a “hello”, and the willingness to learn more about a vertical community (in this case, the real estate technology world.) There are definitely more connectors whom I would love to meet (and some that I already have met) and these three stand out.

  • Dustin Luther shared opportunities for speaking, made connections in his sphere of influence, and generally made me feel at home on Twitter (thanks Dustin!)
  • Jeff Turner became a go-to resource for almost anything iPhone or photography-related, and I met him through a conference that Dustin put on in Portland, Oregon.
  • Linda Aaron offered her expertise and invited me to talk to a number of her classes and share my thoughts on Social media with Real Estate agents at Coldwell Banker Bain in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m continuing to meet people on Twitter by doing a few things every day:

  1. Participating in conversations, either by joining Twitter chats – the Twitter Chat Schedule can help you find one – or by talking to my friends.  (I recommend #Cmgrchat for Community Folk)
  2. Answering questions – inboxq is a brilliant tool for finding questions on a particular keyword, e.g. “marketing”
  3. Being Generous. You never know where it will lead.

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About the author

Greg Meyer is Manager, Customer Wow at Desk.com (http://www.desk.com.) His past experience includes Gist (acquired by Research in Motion), where he founded and ran the Customer Experience Team. Before that, Greg spent time at Expedia, T-Mobile, and startups like Netegrity, eRoom, and Allaire. Find Greg on Twitter at @grmeyer.

4 comments
skynnard
skynnard

Wow Greg, thank you for your kind words and the thoughtful post. I like the company I'm keeping. I too am building some of my most meaningful business relationships (many have turned into friend relationships) through Twitter.

Right back at you @MikeMueller , proud to call you my friend along with @tyr , @respres and you too Greg!

MikeMueller
MikeMueller

Three very excellent people! Great post Greg!

Very true that "your peeps on Twitter are amazing friends you just haven’t met yet" - lucky for me I can call each of them "Friend". CC: @skynnard @tyr @respres