I recently ran a competitive analysis on a handful of companies competing for the same audience (and dollars) and I was struck by what I found. There was one company (who shall remain anonymous) that was over-engaging on their Facebook page to the point where it was actually impeding the development of their community.
In communities that are more independent and engaged, you will frequently see members reaching out to answer questions posed by other members. This takes some of the responsibility off of the Community Manager, but beyond that, it allows relationships to be built around a brand.
In this particular community, there was no interaction between members and it was because the Community Manager had established themselves as the point person. There was no effort to engage people around common thoughts or experiences, and no opportunity for members to share within the confines of the online community. It reminded me of the uproar over the “Helicopter Parent” and how overly involved parents can stifle the growth and development of their children.
As I combed through their page looking for ways that they could improve their community, I wondered if the social media team (overpowering Community Manager included) was also actively searching for ways to improve, or if they were satisfied with the progress of the page.
Unless their client had expressed dissatisfaction, they more than likely were completely unaware that there was anything wrong with what they were doing. And why would they think that something was wrong? The page was getting engagement and was probably continuing to grow. They didn’t have many complaints and they were clearly very responsive. In fact, they were probably doing EXACTLY what the client asked of them. And isn’t that enough?
I certainly don’t think so. Do you?
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman gets her adrenaline pumping by watching turtle races. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.