In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day, here’s a huge shout out to all the amazing Community Managers out there. You rock!!
Community management is a tough job. Community managers are the critical last line of defense for your brand against all external forces. They are on the front-lines every day answering questions, helping customers, providing tips, engaging users, and much more.
There is a dark side to community management that doesn’t get much attention. We can all agree that most users are mostly good and even normal. But spend some time with any seasoned community manager and you’ll cringe at the horror stories of users gone bad or plain cuckoo. Here are some real-life incidents that you might recognize and may relate to:
A community manager for a well-known tech company was stalked online by an irate user who felt his questions weren’t being answered. Pictures of this employee along with address were posted all over social networks along with derogatory remarks about the employee.
Another instance was when an user posted profanity and complaints multiple times a day on the company’s Facebook page. When he was blocked from that page, he started posting on the company’s other social media pages, creating a nightmare not only for that community manager but for others across the company.
And there was that time when a user threatened the community manager with a lawsuit and death threats because he wasn’t happy with the help he received.
And the list goes on.
Given the potential for risk to your employee’s sanity, well-being not to mention lawsuits waiting to happen, every company needs a clearly documented crisis/escalation plan to handle these types of issues but it’s shocking very few companies actually have any type of plan in place.
These plans don’t need to be onerous or laborious but at the very least, should outline the rules of engagement for your community (social media or other) along with a game plan to follow in case of a crisis. Here is some basic guidance to include in your plan; this is especially helpful when on-boarding new community managers:
- What constitutes prohibited behavior in your community. Ex: profanity, spammy links
- When to stop engaging with an angry user and escalate/flag. Ex: lawsuit, death threats
- Contact information for key stakeholders in case of an escalation or crisis. Ex: legal
What’s also helpful is a list of users who have a history of bad behavior and examples of past incidents used for training purposes.
This isn’t a comprehensive list but just a starting point for you to build your own escalation/crisis plan.
Do you have a community crisis/escalation plan? What other information would you include in it?
PS: This is my first blog post of the year and dedicated to all the awesome Community Managers out there, including those on my present/past teams