An analyst was boasting to a community manager of his clever devices for managing his audience.

“I have a whole bag of tricks,” he said, “which contain hundreds of ways of managing my audience.”

“I have only one,” said the Community Manager. “But I can generally manage with that.”

Just at that moment they heard news their company had just committed a major faux pas, and the community manager immediately wrote an apologetic email to his audience.

“This is my plan,” said the community manager. “What are you going to do?”

The analyst thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was debating the press came nearer and nearer, and at last the analyst in his confusion was cornered by an angry audience and soon killed by journalists.

The CMO, who had been looking on, said, “Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot rely.”

There is nothing wrong with experimenting. In fact, experimentation is one of the best ways to learn about your audience. But when the time comes, all the theories in the world won’t make up for one piece of practical knowledge.

Take a minute to think through how you’v dealt with community issues in the past and how you’ll deal with them in the future, and put those solutions in your back pocket. When the goig gets tough, these solutions will prove invaluable.


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