Why passion is vital to be a successful Community Manager

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A Community Manager cannot be successful without passion, as the role requires a drive to be able to push through difficulties and setbacks inherent with managing interactions between humans (it’s a bit like herding cats).

When your life is being taken over by people who need you all hours of the day and night due to the elasticity of the boundaries of your public and private life, you need to have a very deep well of enthusiasm for your job to keep going.

There are all sorts of adjectives to define what passion is: Workaholic, enthusiastic, fanatic, insane, devoted, obsessed, charismatic, magnetic. Some of these have positive connotations, others bad. But they all suggest the deepest kind of interest one can have in the topic at hand.

So what’s so special about passion anyway?

Passion is important because besides making you more informed in what you do, by definition it generally makes you better at what you do too. It then sets off a chain reaction where your confidence grows, which in turn pulls people towards you. You are then exposed to more opinions, can inform yourself better and the cycle continues.Throughout this process, being passionate results in a fun feeling, rather than one of humdrum routine.

Humdrum routine will slowly grind you down until you cannot provide your community the attention it requires. Passion will help you grow your community to the point where it becomes fun and something you want to be part of all the time.

Being willing to walk the extra mile for your members.

Being capable of being a team player when one of them wants to organise an event or initiative.

Being capable of remaining organised at all times.

Approaching your community with honesty.

Being thought of as dependable and trust-worthy.

Resourcefulness.

These are all baseline characteristics for the passion you need to have.

It’s all about people

As a Community Manager, you need to have a basic passion for people, and helping them interact with each other and the positive experience your brand is promoting to them. Investigating all the shades of grey in human communication must be something you are naturally pulled towards.

If you don’t take pleasure from stepping back after an introduction or having initiated a conversation and enjoying the resulting connections between members of your community, you will struggle to manage it effectively. Being a Community Manager isn’t about being the star performer, but rather helping people connect and grow. You will only achieve this by listening rather than hogging the limelight. Light the fuse and step back to hopefully admire the fireworks.

There is another type of passion which may be necessary, depending on your community; that of the topic of your community. If you are managing people interested in fishing, it is easier to give your all if you are interested in fishing. However, if you are an agency Community Manager for example or your company asks you to launch a new community, you may have to work within topics for which you may have little passion to start with.

There’s more? Seriously?

This raises the question: “Must a Community Manager be passionate about the topic of their community to be successful, or will passion for people see them through?”

I asked a number of community managers what they thought; their thoughts both answer this question and confirm the need for passion in general:

DrPiD: I think a passion for the subject matter and the people can make a huge difference. Apathy shows from a mile off.

theroseinbloom: Yes, I think it can, combined with a genuine desire to learn.

Lily_IS75Radio: It seems to me passion for topic is a “big plus” & helps to be enthusiastic for a long time :) But a passion for people is also important.

mcquinny: A passion for people is good, but a passion for the topic will make you truly understand your audience and go the extra mile for them.

alsibley: You have to want to read about the topic at home at night and again first thing in the morning. If you don’t you’ll slowly go mad.

BFaverial: I’d go for passion for people. Passion on a subject makes you a fan, not a Community Manager :) (But it can still help!)

Reeb1981:  I live by the passion for my members, not the topics.

Being passionate about your work will always help you perform at your best. You will always strive for perfection, and get close to it through sheer enthusiasm and drive. This will reflect onto your community members, ensuring they want to follow your lead and help build a great online space to be part of.

What do you think? Must a Community Manager be passionate about the topic of their community to be successful, or will passion for people see them through? How do you develop passion for your work?

Read about how to develop passion for your community topic if you would like to learn more.

[photo by It’s Holly]

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Blaise Grimes-Viort
Blaise Grimes-Viort
Blaise is an experienced Online Communities Manager and Social Media Strategist, and has worked with global brands, startups and charities, in fields such as Videogaming, Social Networking, Pharmaceutical, Broadcasting, Publishing and ISPs.

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