Community; love, loss and letting go

Zahira Kharsany Submitted by on the 11th of May 2012

It’s better to have had community love and let go, then to never have had community love at all.

As a community manager, you know you’re doing something right when your community starts to grow organically and regulate itself – Its bliss; the sought after life where community managers only need to create gripping, informative and engaging content.

So what’s the hardest part of being a content and community manager? Letting go! Letting go of a community that you’ve spent an incredible amount of time cultivating and getting to know. A community that will either move to another agency or be taken in-house, as that’s seems to be the route social is going.

But why is it so difficult to let go? Firstly, as a content manager, you are producing content that rocks and creates engagement. The greater the engagement, the more the community will grow, leading to ‘community love’. Community love also comes from the way in which you respond to people on the page; here, tonality and brand voice play a vital role in how the brand is seen online.

It’s difficult to let go once you’ve built the community to the point where engagement and community love exceeds the norm. It should be easy, but it rarely is. The new team taking over the community might not understand how to respond to the fans you have built a relationship with, or they may produce mediocre content.

It’s a community you’ve nurtured and watched grow; it’s your baby! It’s tough watching your child make mistakes and not being able to help them make the necessary corrections.

But I’ve found that the best way to let go is to cut all ties; Unlike the page, stop following the Twitter account, isolate yourself, and hope for the best.

While I’ve done this a few times, I can assure you that it’s never easy. However, what it does show you as a content and community manager is how well or how badly you performed in building that community. It also allows for perspective, introspective and learning. What if what you thought was a well-run and oiled community is actually one that was failing?

Sometimes the best way to evaluate your management is to let go and allow someone else to run it. Advise them as far as you can, cross your fingers and hope for the best.