Community Management is Not Digital Cold Calling

This is an excerpt from my guest post for The Community Manager. The Community Manager is a hot new resource for CMs founded by Jenn Pedde, Brett Petersel and David Spinks. They’re aiming to provide helpful tips for CMs via their blog, connect CMs to each other through local meetups and help companies find the right community talent through their job board. When I started as a community manager, this is the type of stuff that helped me scale up my knowledge quickly, and I’m happy there’s this all-in-one resources now to consolidate it. Check them out!

Contributing to marketing, PR and customer service fronts of their organizations, community managers often where multiple hats as they are on the front-lines of communicating with both current and potential customers online. Based on some questionable tactics I’ve seen on the Twitters recently, it’s the communication with potential customers that I feel could be improved.

Under the guise of “community manager” or “evangelist” by job title in their Twitter bios, people follow hashtags related to their product or their competitors. Then, they see people Tweeting on that hashtag or Tweeting about that topic, and they @reply them from something like a @john_company Twitter account, offering a sales pitch: “You should use my company instead!”

Well, no duh you would say that…You’re wearing the proverbial digital t-shirt!

Without building a relationship with a potential customer on Twitter first by having some other interaction other than a one-off sales pitch, this outbound approach doesn’t feel genuine to me. Also, I don’t think it is the most effective use of a community manager’s talents for the benefits of an organization.

Companies who approach community management and social media this way are actually off to a great start. They’re on social media, and they’re monitoring terms about their industry. They’re clearly listening, which is huge. I just think the way they are choosing to do outbound outreach to approach their potential community members is awkward. I’d rather see people draw the community to them with valuable content, thought leadership and helpful advice.

DJ Waldow, Blue Sky Factory’s awesome Director of Community offers helpful tips about email marketing along with the rest of the BSF team on the Blue Sky Factory blog. On Twitter, DJ will actually personally answer people’s individual questions about email marketing. It’s not about the product, it’s about thought leadership and being helpful.

See the rest of the post over at The Community Manager.

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