I just saw a community manager on a community management Facebook group post their community managerial problem. Well, problem, pronounced with emphatic air quotes.
She is a CM for a local business, and customers and fans had set up their own adoring Facebook group about her company. She expressed that she thought the two pages were incompatible and that she felt threatened. After all, what use is there in having a CM if your customers are serving that role?
This might just be my marketing experience talking (you’ll know if it is, because it will probably use a marketing word), but customers inspired to do volunteer cheerleading for a brand (Dammit!) is not only a great sign, but also a priority-one place to engage. If they’re not coming to you, go to them.
Elliot Volkman has written about external online communities, and one takeaway is that it isn’t a bad thing…
[W]hy on earth would you want to constrain conversations to one specific location unless you wanted full control of what was being said?
…but it should be treated differently.
Unfortunately just because you build something, does not mean people will flock to it. You must go to them, and by them I am referring to your intended audience.
Find where your potential members are currently discussing related things to entering the work force, open some dialogues, and build credibility. From there people may come to respect your opinion, and that is where you can either pull them back to your community or simply begin tracking engagement externally.
Conclusion LolConclusion: That said, if you find that your fans, customers, or whatever target audience (Dammit!) are out there interacting with one another solely because of your company, please let your first reaction be