You probably know by now that in every online community, there will be highly popular, influential members. Sometimes their star rises quickly and they can become a very important part of your strategy. They morph into a high-profile, go-to member who seems quite vested in the community and displays a great deal of ownership. This type of member can be a community manager’s dream.

When this type of member take on too much ownership, there can be trouble.

If you start to depend on them too much or place them on a pedestal believing that their intentions are always pure, there could be even more trouble.
This may or may not happen because there are many factors to consider and so much depends on their specific personality traits. But it might happen, and you need to be ready.

If an influential community member starts creating havoc, they must be dealt with and you cannot be swayed by their status. If they become a dominant, larger-than-life force throwing their weight around at others expense, you have to do something.

This person could be your very first member. They could be the ultimate creator of content and have hundreds or even thousands of friends. People might get upset if they believe he or she is being ousted. And, this person and/or their die-hard followers may even turn against you in a very public manner.

Remember those essential skills for community managers I wrote about a few months back? This is when they come into play. This is when you need to have a thick skin, make a decision and move on.
Sure, you can try to reason with them. And most community managers will give you several ideas on how you should go about doing this.  I agree that you should do what you can to salvage the relationship and keep the member without compromising your integrity.

If it doesn’t work, let them go. You will live to see another day. Trust me. I did.

This is just one of the lessons I’ve learned while doing this job called community management. Many think it’s glamorous and all fun, games and kumbaya. It isn’t.
When you’re in the trenches of this work, you learn quickly that there may not be a right answer and you learn as you go.

That is why I write this blog. It is documentation of the fact that I learn as I go. That is why I appreciate everyone who sends me emails saying how much they appreciate what I share and how my strategies are working for them for them.

I will continue to share my lessons learned and even more so as part of a new project series specifically for community managers. If you want to know more about it, sign up on my book website and you’ll be one of the first to learn about this new endeavor.

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