So You Wanna Be a Crypto Community Manager…
When I decided to get back into writing at the end of last year, I wanted to challenge myself by picking a topic I knew little about at the time, rather than diving into the topics I plan on covering here on Medium. I eventually settled on cryptocurrency and Web3, styling myself as a ‘crypto-curious’ blogger. Since I was in a learning phase, I didn’t want to invest any fiat into crypto at the start. Instead, I researched the various ways folks could earn crypto by playing games, completing rewarded tasks, and participating in various marketing ploys such as airdrops and ‘learn & earn’ courses.
During the last few months, the marketing manager in me has been cringing a bit at the failures I’ve witnessed from various projects’ social media and community moderation. So this is going to be a bit of a crossover post combining my event and social media management experience with my user experiences participating in various crypto projects. Whether you’re utilizing traditional social media platforms or creating a SocialFi site of your own — I’ve put together a list of skill sets based on my past experience in social media and event management, and why you’ll need them to be a successful community manager in the crypto realm.
By far the biggest faux pas I’ve witnessed in the last few months is a lack of communication from various platforms and projects. It’s hard to communicate everything your intended users need to know in a simple tweet; but even if you’re rocking out some pretty sweet Medium articles about your project, there are still going to be questions no matter how well thought-out your post is. Having a Community Manager who is not only expecting that there will be additional need for clarification and making sure that manager is empowered to answer questions is crucial to keeping your users happy and retaining their trust. Here are some specific problems I’ve witnessed in recent weeks:
1. Language Inconsistencies
The crypto realm is a fascinating ecosystem in that it is one of the true global communities of our day. A lot of Community Managers and Social Media Specialists have experiences in various businesses and industries where their audiences share certain attributes (like language) that we take for granted. For the crypto community, we’re talking about a topic that will draw users from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds, so some of the assumptions we might have made in the past regarding language and cultural expectations no longer apply to such a global movement. It’s important to make your crypto projects as accessible to as wide a range of potential users as possible.
It makes sense that various projects and platforms seem to go in one of two directions regarding language — either picking a widely-used language and insisting that all users communicate in said language, or creating a plethora of channels for as many languages as that project/platform wishes to support. Regardless of the route you choose to go, you need to make sure that as a Community Manager, you’re able to communicate effectively in the language(s) chosen. You don’t need to be the next Leo Tolstoy in your Telegram posts, but you do need to be able to write clearly and concisely (with proper grammar and punctuation) to make it as easy as possible for your users to understand you. It’s one thing to be sloppy on your own personal Twitter account, but it’s quite another when you’re representing a brand for hundreds or thousands to see.
Translation tools can also be very useful when interacting with your user base, but translation programs can only do so much if, as a Community Manager, you’re unable to communicate your answers directly and effectively. Add to that, many translation apps are still struggling with both industry-specific terminology and cultural slang, so relying on translation tools exclusively can lead to a lot of confusion when both admins and users are using them to communicate. Consider both the benefits and the drawbacks of translation tools and whether they’ll be able to help (and not hinder) your customer service abilities.
2. No Communication Whatsoever
From my experience currently, it seems that Twitter, Telegram and Discord seem to be the traditional social media channels of choice for the crypto community. These platforms are designed to give users easy access to the project — especially users hoping for a quick answer.
If you’re going to create a profile on one or more social media platforms, nothing raises a red flag faster than a profile that doesn’t allow replies or posts from the users. In regards to Twitter specifically, I backed away from a project immediately when I saw that the project’s account had replies turned off on all posts. My immediate assumption was that the project must have had so many complaints in the past that they didn’t want to ruin their reputation further by allowing those replies to continue. Of course, my assumption could be dead wrong — but from my experience, that’s the main reason a company will turn off replies. So if you’re keeping replies turned off and it’s NOT because of complaints, you’re really doing yourself a disservice in regards to your reputation.
Only slightly better than not allowing replies at all is allowing them but ignoring them. Users may frequently have questions about the specific Tweet posted, or they may be having an issue with your project and want a reply from customer service. Either way, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build trust with your users with either the lack of additional clarification, or by indicating that their issues with your platform aren’t important enough for a response.
1. Lack of Active Support
I also mentioned in my introduction that as a Community Manager, you need to be empowered to answer questions. I’m on one Telegram channel for a platform that has many active admins — but they seem to only be able to reply with prewritten responses such as “We’re unable to help you with that, please contact support [insert link here],” or, “The rewards will be distributed within two weeks.” In these specific examples, much of the time the users who are looking for help have (in the first case) already contacted support but have had no reply, or (in the second case) have patiently waited for two weeks and are wondering why they still haven’t gotten their airdrops. These kinds of canned responses are still not much better than no response at all — it still shows that there’s not a lot of interest in assisting users who have questions or issues with your product, and that’s not going to get you the kind of loyalty or positive word-of-mouth that you want for your project.
When it comes to empowering a Community Manager, one key piece of advice I like to give is that it’s ok to say “I don’t know, we’re looking into it.” Admitting to your users that something unexpected has taken place on your platform isn’t the hit against your brand that you think it is. Shit happens. Users get that. By being transparent that either an error has occurred, or that you simply don’t have the answer immediately will help keep your users’ trust. Caveat: you do have to follow up, however. Leaving your users hanging with “we’re looking into it,” and “more details coming soon” aren’t good answers for long. If possible, try to give your users a realistic timeline of when you hope you’ll have an answer — and if you can’t make that deadline, for God’s sake, give them an update stating so!
2. Inaccurate Advertising
When it comes to the interwebz, I don’t think anyone could be unfamiliar with the practice of clickbait. Writing catchy headlines can be as innocent as a blogger trying to get clicks on her Medium article (hi, thanks for reading!) or as insidious as a scammer trying to rob you of your hard-earned crypto. The crypto realm is particularly prone to scams and false advertisements due to its financial nature, so naturally crypto enthusiasts are already on their guard for any inaccuracies or questionable statements.
For instance, a large CEX made a big announcement recently regarding the launch of new product, and to celebrate was offering an NFT with “free minting fees” on Twitter. Users quickly learned that while the NFT was indeed “free” itself, there was still a small minting fee, followed by some rather steep gas fees to get it into their wallets! So while technically the tweet was referring to an NFT that was itself free, users were pretty harsh in their responses to the misleading wording of the tweet.
My advice: there’s nothing wrong with a catchy and inviting hook…so long as you don’t leave your users hanging. Get creative with your advertising, but don’t leave your audience wondering why you’re not delivering on what you fully promised in that alluring headline or snarky Tweet.
Speaking of the crypto world’s propensity to attract scammers — social media platforms are some of their favorite ways to find their victims. The best brands that I interact with right now have a Community Manager or assistant who is specifically tasked with eliminating accounts on their social media channels that are bots, scammers, spammers, and (in the case of SocialFi platforms that offer a small crypto reward for interactions) leechers.
Nothing loses an audience faster than having a social media feed filled with fake airdrops, one word replies, and “real girls near you!” Keeping your content moderated and organic will help foster an actual community around your project — and that community is one of your best marketing tools as your happy users will bring in their friends and colleagues to your product.
Working as a Community Manager or Social Media Specialist for any industry will have its own unique set of challenges during specific events or periods of growth. For the crypto realm, this can include events like airdrops, giveaways, and other big announcements from your project. As mentioned earlier, you may have already written an absolutely outstanding blog post going over every detail you can think of regarding your airdrop, but there are a few things that are always going to be true:
1. Folks are Lazy
The curious problem with writing a really detailed list of instructions or an all-inclusive FAQ is that some people just won’t read it, or at least won’t read it carefully. Annoying, I know — but there it is. So when you’re running a large event, you need to expect to get a flood of simple questions that not only did you answer in part three of your glorious FAQ, but that you also just copypasta’d to 43 other users since you clocked in this morning.
2. You Didn’t Answer Everything
By the time you and your team have written your press releases, you have a very good understanding of your project — as such, there are probably going to be some aspects of your product that you think are intuitively understood, but may not be so for users just getting started. Or there may be a specific use case or nuance in regards to your product that you didn’t anticipate, or isn’t working quite the way it was planned. Either way, you should expect questions that are focused on minute details that may not affect the majority of your user base.
3. Don’t Be Rude
Whether or not it’s a situation of laziness or hyper-focused inquiries, the last thing you want to do as a Community Manager is lose your cool. I get that it’s frustrating to repeat the same information over and over again on launch day but, my dude — that’s your job. Nothing makes me want to not spend money, effort, or time on a project than when I hop on a project’s Discord channel to see the admins replying with things like “Are you stupid?” or “Can’t you read?” (And yes, those are real examples from an airdrop I participated in recently.) Being a Community Manager is still first and foremost a customer service position, and by replying with less-than-civil responses, you’re not only alienating that particular user, but also giving a very bad impression to all of the other users lurking on your channel evaluating your project.
Even if you’re not specifically into crypto, I hope my experiences can be modified to help you approach your position as a Community Manager in any industry with both skill and grace. If you’re able to interact with your audience with clear communication and transparency about your project, and can put in the work to keep your social media channels moderated and supported, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful and happy community.
(This post was originally published on my new Medium account, focusing on my wide variety of experiences in event technology and marketing. Give me a follow there for similar posts!)
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Valdyr is a "crypto-curious" blogger living in Texas with her husband and their ancient dachshund, Henry. When she's not working as an audio/visual technician or stagehand, you'll frequently find her traveling, hiking or enjoying a good craft beer. For more reading, check out www.laurahofford.com/blog/