Community is the lifeblood of web3. In fact, competition in web3 can be said to be a "war of communities".
"The projects with the most engaging and active community always end up on the winning side. However, managing web3 communities can be quite challenging, considering web3 solutions come with unconventional approaches to building and managing businesses."
Despite this, however, companies still seem to have misconceptions about the importance of community management and the role it plays in web3 projects. In this article, we examine community management by talking to the people who understand it best: the community managers themselves.
Becoming a community manager
DYOSAA, who is part of the Alphabot support team and a moderator for BlockchainSpace on Telegram and Discord, said her web3 journey began last year.
"It started in April 2022, when I started doing NFTs (non-fungible tokens). To be honest, I was really amazed at project managers or moderators. Aside from the fact that they are the ones who give out whitelists, some people told me that they have salaries. So I became interested since you can earn money aside from minting. But when I really understood the true duties and responsibilities of a manager or moderator — to help people in the community, to address their needs, and to make them feel welcome in the community — I started to love doing that job, not only because of the compensation," she told Digital Life Asia.
For his part, Lauderic Labapis, who is the community manager of the blockchain-based metaverse game and virtual city-state Cryptopia, said he first encountered the role when he was working as a virtual assistant.
"I was first exposed to being a community manager when I was working as a virtual assistant for a women's health startup. I was assigned to connect with a very niche community of women. It was a challenging role but it did provide me with the necessary tools to become a successful community manager," he said.
Meanwhile, neo fogol, who handles We Are Boomers! by Pixelado, said Discord was his entry point to becoming a community manager.
"I have been very active in the Discords of projects and decided to pursue community management as a part-time role. I love communicating and connecting with people and at the same time sharing stories on how and why they are in the NFT/web3 space," he said.
Web2 vs web3
Community is different in web2 and web3, and it's a common mistake for companies to treat web3 community members as if they are customers.
"One of the biggest missteps Web2 natives make when they begin a Web3-based project is treating their community — the people who invest in or buy into the project — as customers who’ve paid for a product.
"While there's a customer element involved when someone invests in your project, the culture of Web3 transforms the position of holder into something more than a customer. Holders are vested in what you're building.
"If you don't take your community's emotional and psychological attachment to your project seriously, if you don't communicate with them, if you don't listen to what they're telling you… you risk alienating the very people who believe most in you and can help you achieve what you're trying to build."
This is why community managers play a vital role. They are the ones interacting with the community on a daily basis and building relationships with the people who believe in your project.
In a very real sense, they are the ones building your brand through their actions and reactions.
Most rewarding, most frustrating
What's the most rewarding and most frustrating thing about being a community manager?
"I think seeing the project succeed. That's the most rewarding thing for me. Well, aside from the salary and tips haha! What's frustrating are those hardheaded people and those who are not easy to get along with, but you have no choice but to make your patience as long as the hair of Rapunzel 'coz that's your work," said Pickles, a student who has handled web3 projects such as Tails of the Afterglow, Real Deal Guild, Rising Eggplants, and Tiny Geisha.
For his part, neo fogol said: "The most rewarding is the relationship I have made with some of the members who are passionate and can share your experiences. Frustrating is when people do not appreciate the efforts you are doing to maintain the culture and vibes of the community."
Meanwhile, DYOSAA also cited relationships as the most rewarding thing about being a community manager.
"To be honest, before I thought money was the most rewarding part of being a community manager, but when I started doing it, I got to be close to some people in the communities I worked in and I got to deliver all their needs in the community. I feel so overwhelmed, especially when I read their appreciation messages for me. In fact, I've worked on some projects for free because I love what I'm doing. The most frustrating time is when the project fails because I get to see all the members of my community that I consider family feeling disappointed or sad," she said.
Labapis cited the knowledge that being a community manager makes you an integral part of a project’s success.
"If you think about it, it's scary. I sometimes have goosebumps thinking about it. Your efforts to engage with the community and promote the project can directly contribute to its growth and success. That is why I really give it my all. I want to be a catalyst for Cryptopia's success.
"I don’t find anything frustrating me right now but I do find it challenging sometimes to understand the inner complexities of web3 jargon. As someone who constantly interacts with web3 personalities, I often hear words that are not familiar to me so it takes a bit of time for me to understand what they mean. I am slowly learning, though. I guess it just takes time. I am very new to the space so having this challenge for me is normal," he said.
Kindness and authenticity
What community managers have in common is selfless devotion to the community and a willingness to help others.
"Be kind. Be helpful. It helps when you impart knowledge to newcomers and help them understand the value of what you are doing," said neo folgo.
"Strive hard. Tired? Rest. Don't quit," added Pickles.
For his part, Labapis emphasized authenticity.
"Just be yourself. Authenticity is key to building trust and credibility within a community. Be transparent, honest, and genuine in all your interactions with members. Learn from your community. As a community manager, it is your responsibility to pursue how you can make your community better. Either by engaging with your community on a day-to-day basis or by seeking mentorship from someone you look up to who is in a similar role as you. Encourage the community. Empower them by making them advocates of your project. Provide opportunities for them to shine and be their own community managers within your community. Lastly, be an example to them. A role model for them to look up to," he said.
At the end of the day, the community comes first, according to DYOSAA.
"Your top priority should be people in the community. Don't look at the pay before working, especially when you are just starting in the space. Don't put in your mind that helping others or doing your best depends on your pay. Do your absolute best at all times, and you will undoubtedly be rewarded for your hard work," she said.
How about you? Do you know your community?