It is that time of year for movie blockbusters. My family was not disappointed with the viewing of The Avengers. Now, I hate to ruin any fantasies you may have of Scarlett Johansson, but she did not inherently know how to save herself from the precipice of doom by swinging the chair over her head, whacking her assailants and shooting herself free all the while talking on a cell phone. That Black Widow was trained by Hollywood and the scenes crafted by talented writers and choreographers.
Whether you are wielding the hammer of Thor or your organization’s Twitter presence, you will need to practice your moves. When do you feign to the right or jab with the left? The community does not want to see you stumbling over your own feet or those in other departments. In real life, you may not be able to script the action for every scene, but you should have a pretty good idea of how and why you will participate and engage.
Listen first. What types of conversations are already happening on that channel? How do these mentions relate to conversations occurring across other channels (online and offline)? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Identify how those conversations are being handled inside and outside of the organization. What can you learn and embed into the choreography of social media and community channels?
Just as the action does not belong solely in the head of the writer or choreographer, you need to share and distribute the details of who, what,when and where you will engage. These resources are not meant to be static, but living, breathing documents like playbooks or quick reference guides that give teams a launch pad and easy checklist of workflow items to remember while engaging.
Practicing with Tools
As discussed in the Community Manager Chat last week, there is a tool for everything. Everyone has their favorites or subset of go-to tools for the vast responsibilities of a Community Manager. Before you jump in and begin participating in community discussion, you need to know when and how to wield the tool/s or you risk becoming the tool.
Don’t skip reading the instruction manual or attending any available training. It doesn’t matter how young or technically savvy you may be, you need to learn the tips and tricks of the tools you are using before becoming immersed in engagement. True, there will always be an element of on the job training, but you don’t want to have to learn how to use a tool or platform and waste that valuable time when you should be engaging inside and outside your organization. Learn how the tool or platform works for you-not every other organization. Focus on how the technology hooks into existing systems and roles throughout the organization. Keep the support contact information handy and get to know the people behind the scenes other than your sales representative.
Practicing with Each Other
Establishing workflow is much more than generating a pretty flowchart. Not only do you need to know the nerves of the organization, but how and why they carry messages to other parts of the organization. Simulate reputation and crisis exercises to locate the opportunities for change in the current workflow. How can you streamline communication internal and external of the organization to better serve the communities?
Lights. Camera. Action!
The actors cast as The Avengers spent months practicing the action scenes by themselves, with stunt doubles and each other. They may look beautiful and the action scenes smooth, but on the first day, I can assure you, the scenes were not captured on the first take. Great action scenes do not simply happen. They are the product of well thought out and creative interactions blended with awe of the community and the purchase of a theater ticket.
Go watch a movie. Read a book. Write your own action scenes.