Self-serve customer support communities can be an essential support tool for any brand. But managing a community that grows around a social media page is challenging for many reasons. One of them is that successful B2C community forum management requires a delicate balance between the professional and personal.
There are many nuances to this problem. But it begins with the community forum manager herself. Striking the proper balance between the corporate professionalism customers expect and the personal intimacy they demand is not easy. It’s certainly not evident where that line is. It becomes clear that a social media community manager must decide pretty quickly whether to use her personal account or a dedicated corporate account to interact with a brand’s community.
Unfortunately, this is often an agonizing decision for a community manager. They’re dedicated individuals who take customer satisfaction personally. But they must balance that against the need to respect both their personal space and work-life balance. On the other hand, their goal must be to use the most suitable option for their customers, even if that connection requires more distance than they would like.
There is no single answer to this question. Every B2C business is unique. But there are considerations that should go into the decision, every time.
3 Reasons to Manage a Social Media Community with your Personal Profile
Social media customer support is a powerful tool because of the very fact that it is personal. Community managers who use their personal profiles on social media accounts maximize this potential. They appear first and foremost as a flesh and blood human who can empathize — not a cold, corporate spin doctor. Taking the personal route creates a direct connection with customers that they will appreciate.
It’s also very convenient for the community manager. When forum management comes from a personal page, everything is in one place. Along these same lines, it offers the best chance for fast response times. With this approach the customer service manager offers maximum speed while ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.
It Builds the Community Manager’s Personal Brand
Solving people’s problems is a great way to network. A community manager that uses her personal page lets every customer know exactly who is helping them. It leaves a paper trail of work for future opportunities while simultaneously growing a personal network of contacts that can be leveraged in the future.
3 Reasons to Manage a Social Media Community with a Separate Profile
Irate customers pose a unique threat for community managers. A disgruntled customer who knows the personal details of a CS representative can act in unpredictable ways. Knowing the representative’s personal details gives them the opportunity to seek out other channels for their corporate dispute. This can lead to harassment and even retribution- oriented activities that can cause severe disruption to the community manager’s personal life. Be careful out there, folks.
The Danger of Sharing Personal Content
Personal content should remain personal and has no place on a corporate page. Community managers that use their personal profiles find this difficult. That said, interacting with so many individuals makes it likely that some will seek this content out.
In addition, it’s very easy to slip up and accidentally post or send something personal to a business contact. It’s impossible to guarantee complete separation when the same platform is used to answer friends, family and customers.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Community forum managers are extreme people-pleasers and very customer-centric. When they see a customer with a problem, they feel compelled to do something about it.
There’s nothing wrong with this. But everyone needs to have a personal life where they can breathe a little, and that space means separation from work. It’s well known that a failure to keep distance between personal and professional spheres ends in burnout. And that’s not helpful to the community manager or her customers.
A Case-By-Case Decision
At the end of the day, there’s really no magic bullet. Every B2C community manager must consider the pros and cons of their unique personal and corporate situation in order to make a decision. Balancing the equities between corporate professionalism and a personal touch — both at an organizational and employee level — gives companies and community managers alike the best chance of making the right choice for themselves.