Community Managers are asking

Community managers are the gardeners of the social web: tilling the soil, seeding content, encouraging new growth and, when necessary, doing a little weeding. These questions look to the practical work of keeping conversations on track, spurring new participation and actively building great, vibrant communities.

How should we handle negative comments and hostile behaviour on our site?

When organizations jump into social media, one of the first questions that comes up is how to handle negative or hostile comments. Open your site up to public contributions and who knows what will appear: torrents of customer complaints, bitter personal rants, pornographic images.

How can we build traffic to our site?

There's actually a pretty simple formula: you create something of real value - or, in the social media world, enable your users to create it - and then you work your hardest to let the world know about it. You'll find plenty of refinements to that formula (putting keywords in your headlines, say, or sacrificing a goat to the search engine gods under a waxing gibbous moon), but that's the gist of it.

How do we bring our online community to life?

Nearly every overnight success in the online world was actually months in the planning... and social media is no different. Turning the empty streets and sidewalks of your web site into a bustling, thriving community takes a lot of planning and effort. But the good news is, that effort is often enjoyable (there's a reason we call it social media) - and the payoff can be tremendously rewarding.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an effective community manager?

Start by thinking of yourself as the host of a really good party - one where you're welcoming the guests and keeping them happy, and moving the evening along from event to event, while giving the conversation plenty of room to breathe. If one guest has had too much to drink and gets belligerent, you step in; if another is hanging back in the potted ferns, you introduce them around.

How can face-to-face events help build community and traffic for our site?

Remember when the Internet was going to make face-to-face communications a thing of the past? It turns out that online networks and face-to-face relationships actually reinforce each other - a lot. Combining the connectedness of the always-on Net with the power of real-world contact strengthens relationships in both spheres.

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