If you’re the admin of a buy and sell group, you know it’s not always easy to keep everyone happy! Some days, your group can give you as much pain as it gives you joy.
Lucky for you, we spoke with Amy Day, a well-liked admin of the Savvy Pensacola Community in Florida, and asked her to let us in on her secret to keeping a well-managed group. We were surprised to learn that admin’ing with authority means a lot more than just enforcing the rules. (Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!)
What if we told you that taking control was as simple as making a few adjustments to little ol’ you? If you’re not sure where to start, the 10 tips below should help!
How you communicate—whether verbally or behind the safety of your computer screen—is one of the best ways to show your members you respect them and gain their respect in return.
1. Use inclusive language, like “we.”
The most important thing, Amy explains, is that your members feel that you’re all part of the same team. Try to avoid starting a sentence with “you,” which can come off as an attack. Compare: “You shouldn’t negotiate with sellers all the time” to “We try to respect our members’ sale prices by discouraging negotiations. Can you help us keep things this way?” Suddenly, they’re on Team Admin and they’re more than happy to help.
2. Remember: Tone doesn’t come across in text.
This can be a tricky one, so use a few smileys in your messages—especially when you’re saying something a member doesn’t want to hear. An exclamation mark can be interpreted as both excitement (Yay!) or anger (Stop!), so try to use these pieces of punctuation sparingly. And never EVER write in all caps. If you’re not sure how your message is coming across, have a friend or family member read it to make sure your tone is friendly and empathetic.
3. Keep a paper trail.
No matter how many times a member asks if they can discuss a problem on the phone, Amy just won’t bite. For her, it’s all about the paper trail. In situations where there’s more than one side of the story (admit it, there always is!), having a record of what each member claimed happened can be extremely helpful. When possible, request screenshots as proof.
4. Deal with issues in a timely, diplomatic, respectful manner.
We all have our bad days (admins included!) and it’s important not to let those negative feelings rub off on our communication skills. If you simply need a break from your admin’ing duties, send a quick note to the member to let them know you’re off duty but that you’ll be in touch as soon as you’re back online. If you’re feeling run down by the same old member complaint, take a deep breath, count to 10 and always make sure your responses are as objective as possible. At the end of the day, you want to give your members the same respect you expect them to give everyone else.
If your members don’t understand why you’re running your community, they may not understand why you’re enforcing all these rules. Do what you can to ensure they know you’re not simply on a power trip.
5. Transfer your group’s purpose on to your community.
When you first created your buy and sell group, you had a purpose in mind. Whether it was to create a fabulous ‘women only’ space or a place where members could truly lean on their community, be vocal about it through pinned posts, community events and more! The more your members soak up the spirit of your group, the more they’ll want to do everything they can to maintain it. Suddenly, you’ll feel like you have an army of co-admins upholding the rules with you.
6. Remind members that you all share a common goal.
The members of your buy and sell group are adults—just like you! And they may not necessarily enjoy being told to stick to the rules by someone they consider a peer. Gently remind them that, together, you can make your buy and sell group the best it can be, and that you couldn’t do it without their support. If you let them know that you need (and appreciate) their help, they’ll be way more open to changing their ways!
Now’s your time to shine! Turn on that winning personality and you’ll notice that members suddenly feel like… friends?!
7. Go out of your way to be friendly.
Since you mainly communicate with your members online, it’s important to put your best self forward when you see them around town. Get ready to smile, shake hands and kiss babies—that’s right, just like the mayor! And remember, the better the impression you make in person, the more your members will genuinely like you. Making friends matters if you want your members to follow the rules without complaint.
8. Listen, listen and listen some more.
When your members come to you with a problem, remind yourself that this is a very real issue to them and try your best to take it just as seriously as you would if a friend came to you looking for a shoulder to cry on. While it’s definitely not your job to play therapist, be empathetic and make clear that you’ve really, truly listened in your response. If you ask for information that the member already provided, all you’ll do is aggravate the situation by letting her know that you’re not fully present. The easiest way to show someone you’re on their side is by letting them know you’re listening.
9. Don’t ever gossip about a member’s personal life.
As an admin, you learn a lot of personal details about a lot of people. No matter how shocking the gossip or happy the news, it’s not your job to spread it. Let your members know they can come to you in confidence by providing them with a safe space to share. Of course, if you ever learn that a member is involved in something illegal or life-threatening, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local authorities. Don’t burden yourself with something that is beyond your admin duties.
10. Be a mediator.
It is often easier to diffuse a situation than you might think. For Amy, it’s as simple as having a member send her a screenshot of an “offending” comment. Once she takes a look at it objectively, she gets back to the member explaining why she feels the comment wasn’t meant to be offensive, and that the member may have simply been misreading the tone. This tactic works more often than not, Amy admits.
Communication, purpose and personality. Simple as that!
Ready to start admin’ing with authority… and kindness? Make your way through this list until you’ve gained your members’ respect (and undying loyalty) for good.