It was hard to sit down to write this post. I’ve had it on my radar for almost three weeks. The first week I waited for inspiration to strike, then desperately posted on Instagram soliciting advice from my friends and family on how to get through the writer’s block. The second week, I solidly ignored all the advice I had previously received and avoided writing completely. The third week, I set a date to make myself sit down and do it. I sat on four different couches. I listened to three nineties throwback playlists. I had chardonnay and Oreos for dinner. And still, the words came tentatively.
Brains on Fire ignites movements. We love the build, the hunt, the initial connections, the design of a content strategy. We excel at it. We realize, however, that it isn’t sustainable for a brand or Organization to have us manage their Community until the end of time. Once it’s up and running smoothly, there inevitably comes a time for us to pass the baton and transfer internally. And that’s what we’ve just done.
There are so many things I could say when I reflect on my time with this specific community, but I’m going to sum it up in three. Three years and three takeaways gained from my time managing, strategizing and transitioning a community I care a lot about.
If you want a community to succeed, you have to hire a CM who gives a shit.
I would have NEVER invested as much personal time and effort as I did in the beginning stages of this community if I hated the subject and hated social media. Luckily, I don’t and I don’t. Instead, I am part of the community. If I wasn’t, I would have had a real hard time being authentically engaged with others who love it, too. Lesson learned? If you’re looking for a community or social manager, take the time to talk to your hire. Don’t move based on skill alone. Look into personality, ask hard questions, and make sure you’re selecting someone who is truly committed to your cause or organization. Passion – real passion — can’t be faked. You’ll know it when you see it.
Adapt or die.
Three years ago, Snapchat had just been born. Visual marketing and influencer Marketing were relatively “new” concepts. Instagram didn’t have ads, let alone its own version of Snapchat. Twitter was still relevant, and hell, Facebook hadn’t even adjusted their algorithm so brand posts were still being seen without having to pay to play. If there’s anything I see when I reflect back on these last three years, it’s that the social media industry is always changing. So. Damn. Fast. As an agency, if we have any hope of keeping up, we need to stay creative, stay bright, stay experimental, and stay open. And we need to invest in video. Because THAT shit is the next frontier.
If you look hard enough there’s – really – so much joy in letting go.
When I first heard the news of the transition, it stung. I blocked the feels, and most of the time that I spent procrastinating on the composition of this blog post I spent thinking about all the things I COULDN’T say. All the people I couldn’t upset, all the opinions I feared, all the politics. But you know what? I should have focused on the positive. Despite the cliché, there IS beauty in Letting go. The community is going to benefit profusely by having a CM “in the know” of the organization. The new CM will be even CLOSER to the pulse of the organization and will be able to more fully and knowledgeably serve visitors and residents alike. The community will be more informed. And me? Now, I can participate, rather than manage and be a part of something I had a hand in creating. And hey, maybe I’ll finally get featured on the dang Instagram account once in a while. 😉 My creativity and initiative will be reborn in a new account. It’s a new chapter for both parties. There’s so much beauty in that.
Most importantly, I can say I’ve had the experience of falling in love with a client, of growing together, of triumphing, of transitioning, of moving on. We’ve lived to tell the tale, and we’re both bigger and better for it. It’s been a boat load of fun. And THAT, my friends…THAT is what matters most.
Moe Rice is a Social Strategist at Brains on Fire. She leads in the design and implementation of Community for BOF clients, and manages a dream team of four super freaking talented Community Managers, working with people she likes for causes she believes in.
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