Community Managers We Feel Sorry For
Being a community manager requires a thick skin, especially for some of these brands recently.
Crowd pleasers … up-all-nighters … gatekeepers … Jack (or Jill!) of all trades. Call them what you wish, community managers on company social sites have a pretty tough job, and it takes a special person to be one! To be a good community manager, you need to be empathetic, level-headed, highly organized, dedicated — and you definitely need great communication skills.
You also have to be able to handle getting yelled at for something you likely had no involvement with.
We have seen a few social media meltdowns recently that have attracted national attention. While we don’t always agree with how companies handle negative comments online, we do feel empathy for the people behind the scenes scrambling to deal with the fallout. Here are a few companies whose community managers have our sympathy.
- Carnival Cruises: You can’t have a calamity like the Triumph and not experience social media drama. Facebook and Twitter provided natural outlets for people’s frustrations about the cruise line.
- FTD Flowers: Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day, right? Not if you’re trying to explain to your Valentine that you really did order flowers — they just failed to come on time. FTD’s Twitter feed was filled on Feb. 14 with angry, angry people. The company seems to know how to deal with all the “where are my flowers” rage. Its Twitter page actually includes the hours the community manager keeps (hope you don’t have flower problems on a weekend!) and the number for customer service. And whoever was on duty on Valentine’s Day had the correct, practiced response to posts.
- Applebee’s: The poor community managers of Applebee’s haven’t had the greatest month. The infamous firing of a waitress who posted a photo of a receipt sparked this social media monstrosity. The problem wasn’t the firing itself — it was the restaurant’s reaction to outrage about the firing. Whoever was managing the account didn’t listen to customers and started to sound like a (defensive) broken record, repeating the same statement over and over and tagging several people in each post. Then Applebee’s started deleting negative comments, which only ignited more negative comments.
After they tried to (somewhat) smooth things over, they still received backlash on almost every post. And they continue to attract negative comments.
- Burger King: The hacking of Burger King’s Twitter page this week started a social media uproar. Someone claiming to be McDonald’s took over @BurgerKing and posted that the fast-food chain had been sold to McDonald’s. Within minutes, people were commenting and tweeting about it, and the hackers retweeted. The hacked handle reached about 100,000 followers before the site was taken down temporarily. The tweets about hacking were everywhere, like this one from the real McDonald’s:
And Wendy’s got dragged in, too.
So, community managers, if your Twitter gets hacked or your fans rail against you, know that we at least feel your pain. Hang in there and keep plugging away — social media moves fast and there will soon be someone else that everyone is talking about, for better or worse. Feel like it’s just too much trouble to monitor social media sites seven days a week, come up with the perfect response to criticism and still produce original content? That’s what we’re here for. We have a team to make sure you always stay on top of things. Let us know how we can help you.
Brittany Shaw is a writer for BallywhoSocial. You can find her on Twitter @brittanyshaw_ or follow our BallywhoSocial account for social media tips, news and more @BallywhoSocial.