During our weekly Saturday ritual event called Journey of A Brand Community Builder, where we highlight stories of brand community builders from India, we had a conversation with Ankita Mishra on 5th June. She has been working as the India Community Manager at Progate for almost three years now and told us how has her community-building journey been so far.
In this exclusive conversation with Ankita, we got to know:
- How was Ankita’s life before she became a community manager?
- What does she think of community managers being perceived as extroverts?
- How does she deal with burnout?
- And how she keeps up with the expectations of the senior leadership?
And not just this, she also gives a special piece of advice for all you upcoming community managers out there.
So, let’s get reading!
What Was Ankita’s Early Life Like, And How Did She Become A Community Manager?
Ankita is from Lucknow, and she started her community-building journey with Progate. She pursued engineering in computer science. But she did not want to sit in front of a computer all the time. During her college time, she managed a few technical clubs and helped people around.
Besides that, she was also a part of an NGO that was a student initiative. They used to go and help rural people and researched what they did in the previous year? How it can be improved? And how they can make more impact? This is how Ankita realized that she wanted to do something that has an impact on the community.
This was driving her, but she did not know that community management existed back then.
Yashraj Nayak, former India Community Manager at Progate and Community Growth Manager (APAC) at OutSystems, helped her a lot and made her understand everything at Progate because she was new and did not have much information about community building.
And then Yash took her to one of Community Folks Meet-ups. And there she met Paras Pundir, Founder at Community Folks, and she enjoyed talking about community building.
Since it was her first meet-up, she was a little hesitant. But Paras made her feel that it was not about new people. One should talk to people and make them understand what they want to work towards. So it was an amazing experience for her, and she continued joining these meet-ups.
Her journey of building healthy communities program till now has been great. She has seen a lot of stages of community management since when she first started, and she would sum it up as – So far so good.
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What Are Ankita’s Thoughts On Community Managers Being Projected As Extroverts?
Ankita was one such person who was a bit hesitant and unable to open up to people in the beginning. Because she was from a very remote college, they never used to travel to different cities for events.
So, she agrees that people think that it’s easy to approach a community manager because they are helping people around. But what she feels is that at the same time, those people who are just starting in, should not think that community managers are easily approachable all the time.
Many of her juniors reach out to her about what community management is and what community managers do. She feels like these people should at least research a bit about community management. And then they should come to her. She wants to help people but, she also wants them to take the first baby steps by themselves.
What Is Ankita’s Take On Online Community Building Burnout And How She Deals With It?
Ankita thinks that it happens with all of us, and in almost every job people get this feeling. She has not faced a complete burnout as of now but, there have been some instances.
And she believes that when you are working as a Community Manager, it is not just the company expectations, but also the expectations you have from yourself and the communities that you are helping to grow. So that gives you burnout at times.
When she felt this burnout, she used to talk to her manager because she was very supportive.
In her words, “It is always good to have a nice manager. But if that’s not the case, one can always talk to their colleagues, friends or family members, basically anyone. Just don’t think that everything is going to rush. Take a deep breath, take some rest, and don’t set the expectations too high. Go as the flow is going, because sometimes what is not working for you today will work tomorrow.”
And she also shared that she writes the negative feelings down whenever she is feeling tired or heavy-minded. It helps the negativity get out of her mind. A positive outlook towards everything can help one come out of community building burnout soon.
How Ankita Manages Senior Leadership And Team Expectations On Community Building?
As a Community Manager, Ankita knows that she is putting a lot of effort into community building and managing a community-building platform.
Many people started from scratch as she did at Progate. And so she knows that she is giving a lot of value, and every single impact matters. For her, as a Community Manager, when it comes to brand community building, she feels that they trust you as a community-building professional. They trust in the community and the efforts she is making towards township community building.
But it is also about ‘the numbers’. Numbers matter a lot, especially when one is working with a brand. And for her, OKRs and KPIs have been nothing short of a lifesaver.
They can be about anything, like retention or acquisition, social media engagement or reach, etc. As per her, when the OKRs came in, she managed the community capacity-building toolkit, and audience engagement better because she got the matrix out of it.
For example, in 2018, she had a few people, and the OKR system, so she knew exactly what they had to work upon and achieve. At the end of the year, she knew how much they had accomplished.
And that is where the leadership team in any company trusts a Community Manager – when you show them through numbers that you have made this much impact because as a Community Manager, you are doing different roles, and it’s endless.
In a community-building platform, one thing she thinks that matters a lot, is the number of active users for a company that is working for education. Based on that, one gets to see the quantifiable impact on the community-building jobs, and they can also see the boundaries they have set for themselves that will motivate them.
And the leadership team will also see that they have gone some extra miles to achieve the impact that has been created.
What Is Ankita’s Advice On Kick-Starting Career As A Community Manager?
Ankita started small so, she always suggests everyone start small. Even if one is building their brand, they can start small because numbers don’t matter here, but, Every Single Impact Does. However one is building healthy communities program, she thinks it is a good idea to evaluate one’s performance and overcome the obstacles.
One of the most fulfilling upsides in the community building platform for Ankita has been the opportunity to make friends with whom she can chill and also talk about community management.
According to her, community managers are the coolest people on earth. One last piece of advice from her is to never stop upskilling oneself, keep learning new things, keep reading about community building, and one shall never get bored.
To this date, she keeps learning something new every day, and that is why she enjoys everything she does for community building.
She says, “There are different stages of how to build a community and community management when one starts. As you grow professionally, the township community buildings are different than what you have seen before. So make sure that you have that zeal to help others around, and you can easily work towards building healthy communities.”
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