Posted by: Andrew Hemingway | November 18, 2009

Rescuing one member..worth it?

We have all heard the Biblical account of the “Lost sheep”.  The shepherd was putting his flock away at night, he was counting all of his sheep, and he came up one short. He counted again, and again, with the same results. He secured the flock, and left at night out over the treacherous country side to find that one lamb that was missing. He looked everywhere. high and low, and as a storm was blowing in, the shepherd found the lamb hiding from the night between some rocks, and the shepherd rescued him.

I have spoken with many, many community managers, and it is so disappointing to hear some of them say “if they get mad and leave over little things, who cares!”. Every time I hear this I can tell you that a community is on the rocks. I know that we all do not like to admit it, but most communities are literally one mistake away from destruction, one errant word from ruining  a Brand’s reputation. Most communities are very fragile, and could not take even the slightest upset with out massive repercussions.

How do you strengthen your community? How do you prepare them for the worst all the while working to deliver the best? I think we need to take a lesson from the Bible on this one.

  1. Every member counts– I believe that every member that takes the time to join your community has value, real value, not just because they may buy a product, but what they may bring to your community. As a manager every member is so important that caring for them is job #1. It should seem obvious right, but how many times to software updates, or a new blog post take precedent over taking care of your sheep?
  2. How you treat one is how you treat them all–  (Ok..I will take credit for it, but I’m sure somebody somewhere has said it before. ) You have to treat every member of your community as if they were your last member. Be willing to go the extra mile, be willing to search for them and find them, and bring them back to the fold. I know there are certain members that really push your buttons, but you have to be bigger than that, and realize they have worth. I am not saying never throw someone out. (more in a later post) I am saying that as a community manager you have to put in the extra effort to bring any lost sheep home every night.

So…what are you waiting for, you know there are sheep out there that need your help, go rescue them before your competitors eat them for lunch.


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