Yvette Pistorio

Five Ways Introverts Make Great Community Managers

By: Yvette Pistorio | May 8, 2013 | 
69

Five Ways Introverts Make Great Community ManagersI’m going to fill you in on a little secret…I’m an introvert.

*Gasp* I know, weird right?

Like my friend Mack Collier, I’m an extrovert online and in introvert offline.

If you met me in a large crowd, (prior to chatting with me online), I’d be the awkward girl in the corner with her face in her (name random electronic device here) to avoid actually speaking to people.

Sometimes I wear headphones when I’m not listening to music so I don’t have to talk to people. If you see me at a conference, or on the streets of Chicago, you’ve been warned!

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy interacting with people, but I only talk when I have something to say.

If you’ve met me in person, you may have a hard time believing I’m an introvert because when I feel comfortable enough around people, I do enjoy talking and carrying on like an extrovert. But being an introvert doesn’t mean I’m shy, it just means I feel uncomfortable in real life situations where I don’t know anyone.

I read an old article on Forbes by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler about why introverts make the best leaders. The qualities she mentions can be translated to community managers. Whether you are an introvert or not, there are some characteristics we have that make us great social media and community managers.

We are great at listening.  Well, most of us are. Introverts are happy to sit back and listen to the conversation before they jump in. It’s the same for social media – community managers are attentive to their fans and followers. We listen to what they say, look for what they like, and at what conversations they participate in. Then we jump in to create or share content that will appeal to them, hopefully starting a conversation around the topic at hand.

We think first and talk later. “Even in casual conversations, they consider others’ comments carefully, and they stop and reflect before responding,” Kahnweiler says. In social media it’s important to respond quickly to things, however it still gives you time to think through how something sounds before you hit send. It’s really useful when you are dealing with a crisis or customer complaint.

We let our fingers do the talking. We tend to prefer the written word, and social media allows us to do just that. It helps us better articulate our positions and, to my previous point, it lets us think about what we want to say, and revise anything before we send it out.

We exude calm. In times of crisis, we project a reassuring, calm confidence which is great for social media. If there is a crisis, the last thing you want to do is let your emotions get the better of you.

We tend to dislike small talk and embrace solitude. I do, at least. We’re drawn more to meaningful conversations instead of “superficial chitchat,” as Kahnweiler calls it.  We know how to ask great questions and really listen to the answers. This is important in social media, because it’s not about talking at your community, it’s about talking with them: Listening to them, and asking questions to figure out what they want. Community managers want meaningful relationships, not one million likes. Don’t get me wrong – a million likes would be fantastic, but if we aren’t building relationships with those people, and they aren’t coming back to our community, then what’s the point?

In my opinion, social media was made for introverts. Whenever clients ask our fearless leader, Gini Dietrich, who she recommends putting in charge of social media, she says to start with the introverts inside the company. Why? Because social media allows us to make friends and break the ice behind the comfort of our computer screens.

I know it gives me a place where I can communicate with confidence.

About Yvette Pistorio


Yvette Pistorio is the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich. She is a lover of pop culture, cupcakes, and HGTV, and enjoys a good laugh. There are a gazillion ways you can find her online.

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69 Comments on "Five Ways Introverts Make Great Community Managers"

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PattiRoseKnight1
PattiRoseKnight1
3 years 2 months ago

A company that is smart enough to employ both introverts and extroverts and utilize each of their specific skills is a company on a successful road.

katskrieger
3 years 2 months ago

Twinsies. 🙂

jasonkonopinski
3 years 2 months ago

People are always gob-smacked when I say I’m an introvert.

maxchristianhansen
3 years 2 months ago

Wow, Yvette. That’s counterintuitive and also spot-on.

maxchristianhansen
3 years 2 months ago

…and my tweet of this article got two retweets within 12 minutes.

CrackMarketing
CrackMarketing
3 years 2 months ago

maxchristianhansen I think there are lots of extroverts online indeed! That would be the perfect reason, I guess.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

CrackMarketing maxchristianhansen Yes, there are definitely plenty of extroverts that are great CMs, I don’t want to take that away from anyone. I just fell in love with it because I can communicate with confidence. If we were all in a large room, I wouldn’t be able to do that.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

CrackMarketing maxchristianhansen In fact, LauraPetrolino is one of them. She rocks!

LauraPetrolino
3 years 2 months ago

yvettepistorio CrackMarketing maxchristianhansen Ahhhh…..thank you so much for that. My day=Officially Made 🙂 🙂

jafoulds
jafoulds
3 years 2 months ago

william_ruz Very similar, indeed. You certainly should be credited.

ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago
jafoulds william_ruz I responded to you on Twitter, but see you commented here, too. I run Arment Dietrich and Spin Sucks. I appreciate you’re not buying Yvette’s comment, but let’s be real…this is the blogosphere. I wrote a post about introverts much before you did. Should I require you credit me? Unfortunately, there aren’t many original thoughts and I’ve been recommending business leaders put introverts into social media positions long before you wrote your blog post. We have extremely high standards here. If someone were to plagiarize, it is a fireable offense. We take it very seriously.  There is nothing in your post that… Read more »
william_ruz
william_ruz
3 years 2 months ago
ginidietrich Like yourself, I work in the blogosphere so I am under no illusion to the fact that there are thousands of articles out there about introverts and it’s not an original topic.  I also think it’s great that you wrote about introverts too. But in your words, “lets get real”, it’s not about who wrote it first. It’s about the fact that this post is a clear copy of mine and just from reading the two posts you can clearly see that and   several people have verified this too. I think it’s commendable that you stand behind your employees but the… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 2 months ago
william_ruz I 100% disagree with you. I printed out both copies of the blog posts and there is nothing that looks the same. I not only read the two posts; I compared them. Your post is about why social media won’t work. You talk about customer service sucking, being a control freak as a business leader, and being resistant to change. I can point to many blog posts that talk about those very same things, but this isn’t one of them. She talks about why introverts make better community managers than their extroverted colleagues. In fact, I don’t see anywhere in… Read more »
william_ruz
william_ruz
3 years 2 months ago
ginidietrich  Looks like I gave you the wrong link. Apologies for that. Just to clarify, the post I wrote that I am refferring to is this one: http://88creative.ca/introverts-make-the-best-social-media-managers/ I wrote about why introverts make the best social media managers and I gave 3 reasons why and explained each point. In Yvette’s post, she not only used the same reasons and explantions I did, but her wording and sentence structure is very close to mine. After reading both posts and reading each paragraph, can you see the similarities? I am just pointing out what is obvious to me based on the evidence.… Read more »
yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago
william_ruz ginidietrichThis is the link I put in this post. I agree it’s a great post. I don’t see the similarities of the sentence structure. This is my writing style. We do have some of the same points, but those are attributes of introverts. I initially got the idea from @ginidietrich because I’ve read her previous posts about being an introvert.  When I wrote this post I did some research, looking for qualities of introverts, and came across an older Forbes article on the subject. I have since credited that article in the piece, though I did not copy the author’s… Read more »
yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

william_ruz Hey William! It’s a common topic so I can see the  similarities and I certainly did not copy yours, but I’m going to link to it b/c after you raised the issue, I did read your post and think it’s a really great.

william_ruz
william_ruz
3 years 2 months ago
yvettepistorio  @http://www.livefyre.com/profile/6264/ Thanks for the response but I’m not buying it. Just from reading both of the posts you can clearly see that not only are the main ideas similar, but the sentence structure and the words used are similar too. You’ve just changed things around here and there. Please don’t take me for a fool. More than anything, I’m disappointed that as someone who works in social media, you dont seem to understand one of the basic rules of social media etiquette; give credit where credit is due. Going forward, I hope you keep this incident in mind before you attempt… Read more »
allenmireles
3 years 2 months ago

william_ruz Hey William, I can appreciate your concern that you be credited for your work, when that is appropriate. We have very high standards at Arment Dietrich and I can assure you that none of us would ever plagiarize another author’s work. That there are similarities between the two posts may well be due to the fact that many people are addressing this topic online. I found another post, with similarities, that Yvette also did not plagiarize: http://www.people-results.com/introverted-networking-tips-building-quality-relationships/#.UYrJtytAS34. I agree with Yvette, after having read your post, that it’s a good one and well worth sharing.

ty_frank
ty_frank
3 years 2 months ago

I agree!  It gets a little frustrating reading job listings for cmgr’s that want all type A outgoing personalities.  Thank you for sharing what I have been thinking for years.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

ty_frank My pleasure 🙂 I’m definitely more outgoing online than offline and that’s why I was so drawn to community management.

Word Ninja
3 years 2 months ago

Really interesting post and the reason I’m a social media manager makes so much more sense now. Maybe we’ll meet sometime. I’m the gal in the OTHER corner of the room.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

Word Ninja Hahaha!! Well now that we’ve talked online, I may not be so awkward. When you’re in Chicago, make sure you let me know 🙂

Word Ninja
3 years 2 months ago

yvettepistorio Word Ninja I live in the suburbs and need to get to one of those cool conferences everyone talks about.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

Word Ninja You should…really really should 🙂

belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

Introvert! **hand raised**

MackCollier
MackCollier
3 years 2 months ago

belllindsay Introverts unite!  Glad I am in good company with you and yvettepistorio!

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

MackCollier belllindsay yvettepistorio We should start a group on LinkedIn called Introverts Unite.

belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

yvettepistorio MackCollier We already have one. I mean….never mind…. 😉

LisaDJenkins
3 years 2 months ago

Like reading myself in a mirror.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

LisaDJenkins Twinsies!!!

LisaDJenkins
3 years 2 months ago
yvettepistorio LisaDJenkins I swear, for years I though there was something really wrong with me. When online communications started I had a hard time reconciling my ability to function well there with my inability to come out of the corner in real world situations. Then I found Lisa Petrilli and everything began to make sense. Since then I’ve found that what I used to view as limitations are actually the assets (that you touched on) that make me great at my job. I think the value in posts like this is that they help brands to understand that while they are attracted… Read more »
susansilver
3 years 2 months ago

Totally an introvert here as well. I also agree that I was drawn to community management for the same reasons you cite above.  I  have actually become more extroverted because of it. I have more self-confidence now going into any situation, but I still need my time alone to re-charge.

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

susansilver Yeah, I”m definitely getting more and more self confidence. ginidietrich belllindsay and Allen Mireles all tell me to trust my gut whenever I doubt myself so slowly but surely, I’m starting to do that. But like you said, I need my time alone too.

LauraPetrolino
3 years 2 months ago
First of all Yvette, I’d like to say how FANTASTIC I think it is that even in responding to the comments in this very article about being a great community manager, your skills and extraordinary talents at this role are clearly on display…. Second, as the President of the Extroverts club, I’d like to stand up for my race and say…”hey, we are kinda ok too!” Now that I got that out of the way, this post really did make me think about what social media skills I have that I’ve developed to fit the medium, despite my natural tendencies,… Read more »
yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

LauraPetrolino Thanks Laura! I think extroverts can make great community managers too, don’t get me wrong. I just found what drew me to social media was that I felt so comfortable talking to people online. When I go to conference, I tend to just go by the people I know. I’m getting better, but terrible at starting a conversation in person. It can be really awkward sometimes!!

belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

yvettepistorio LauraPetrolino I’m so in love with Laura right now. 😉

LauraPetrolino
3 years 2 months ago

belllindsay yvettepistorio 🙂 Right back at both of you lovely ladies!

biggreenpen
3 years 2 months ago

Hello fellow introvert!! These are great (and true) points. It has always struck me how much we introverts are thinking on the inside that just doesn’t make it to the outside …. I think social media has changed *some* of that for me — I can click “like’ on a sarcastic post and support a line of thought that is similar to mine even if I am not shouting it from the rooftops. Here’s a post I wrote about introverts: http://biggreenpen.com/2012/01/12/truly-thankful-a-mama-kat-writing-prompt/

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

biggreenpen OMG, I wish I had this post when I wrote mine!!! I totally would’ve shared your post too! Introverts unite!

RebeccaTodd
3 years 2 months ago
Great post Yvette! I am all about Dan Pink’s new term (or new to me!) Ambivert. I am an introvert too, in that I like to have some down time to reflect and renew my energy. I am sure that would surprise a lot of my “online” friends, and maybe some in person ones, too, but in my off hours I chill at home with my pups and my book. Really not a “party” person! Why I need to team up with my awesome counter part LauraPetrolino to work the virtual room more effectively. As an aside, when I get awkward and… Read more »
LauraPetrolino
3 years 2 months ago

RebeccaTodd It would be my honor to be your wing woman!

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

LauraPetrolino RebeccaTodd Haha! I like that term too. I do like interacting with people and sometimes (ginidietrich knows this too) I get so overwhelmed and just need to socialize, but I prefer to do that with my husband or sisters. I too would rather chill at home with my pup and a book or movie than go party. My husband always calls me lame, but that’s my idea of fun.

belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

RebeccaTodd LauraPetrolino Rebecca, you are the ultimate kook of kooks. 🙂 And that’s why I love you so.

TaraGeissinger
3 years 2 months ago

This describes me perfectly! I am nothing but an awkward ball of nerves in a social setting. I will actually avoid phone calls in favor of emailing — especially when dealing with new people. 🙂 My biz partner and I laugh about how perfectly we are suited for each other. She is a social butterfly, but hardly ever jumps on social media. Same with my husband now that I think about it. If it weren’t for him, I would rarely venture outside my close circle of friends!

belllindsay
3 years 2 months ago

TaraGeissinger OH MY GOD ME TOO!! I hate phone calls. 🙂

Kato42
3 years 2 months ago

belllindsay TaraGeissinger Me three! I despise the telephone. Also, I have recently been introduced to the concept of a “tweet up” (I know, get with the times, Kate) which sounds tailor-made for people like us. It’s a networking event with a built-in excuse to stare at your phone when you’re uncomfortable. Awesome.

biggreenpen
3 years 2 months ago

Kato42 belllindsay TaraGeissinger LOL I’ll put in a word for us introverts participating in Tweetups without actually spending the whole time with our faces in our phones! You have the added advantage (usually) of having an established Twitter relationship with the people — and the ones I have been to have involved more actual chatting and not so much focus on our devices — they’re a good bridge activity for us introverts IMO. 🙂

TaraGeissinger
3 years 2 months ago
biggreenpenKato42belllindsayTaraGeissingerI would actually be open to a Tweetup for that very reason. I do MUCH better when I have some sort of history with someone. If they already know that I’m a sarcastic frazzled triplet mom who’s six feet tall it helps save me from all of the nonsense small talk too. (No, I did NOT play basketball. This height is wasted due to an innate fear of balls being thrown at me at a high velocity. Thank God there is no cell phone video footage of me playing volleyball. I am pretty sure I my playing skills were modeled… Read more »
yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

TaraGeissinger biggreenpen Kato42 belllindsay You have triplets?! OMG, I did not know that!!! 
It’s funny to realize how many of us are in fact introverts. Love it!

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

TaraGeissinger 😀 I avoid calls too!!! Twinsies!!

Karen_C_Wilson
3 years 2 months ago

TaraGeissinger Is phone call avoidance an introvert thing? Because that totally explains why I hate phone calls!

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3 years 2 months ago

[…] Five Ways Introverts Make Great Community Managers, Spin Sucks […]

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[…] Five Ways Introverts Make Great Community Managers, Spin Sucks […]

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[…] all PR Girls are bubbly extroverts. For the introverts among us, community management might be just the thing. (via […]

dwaynealicie
3 years 2 months ago
Love!  I’m a self-professed shy introvert, so I have spent a lot of time thinking (brooding? lol) over that part of this topic as well. More and more, I am realizing that the introvert can add immense value in ways that may never even occur to the extrovert. The Susan Cain book really revolutionized my thinking on this — but I think that was after being inspired by the success stories of the many introverts in this community right here. I think the key is for an organization to cultivate acceptance, understanding and opportunities for introverts, so that your product… Read more »
yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

dwaynealicie I agree (obviously!) It’s really helped me break out of my shell so to speak. I’ll never forget that first tweet though…I was TERRIFIED!! But since then, it’s been nothing but fun 🙂

dbvickery
3 years 2 months ago

I’m definitely an introvert who gets mistaken as an extrovert all the time. I enjoyed all of the points above, and I appreciate finding my “quiet and happy place” that usually involves a book or some sports activity.
One exception for me…I rarely exude calm. I’ve gotten better with age, but my wife used to say the pressure of an entire room would go up just by me walking into it. I’m a “tad intense”.

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[…] Yvette Pistorio – who is one of the very brightest colleagues I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with – had her turn here on the blog. Her topic?  Why introverts make great community managers. […]

carinabirt
3 years 2 months ago

This is a great blog post and has got me thinking about the role introverts can play as community managers.  I am a self-confessed extrovert but often advising clients on social media communications and how to make them work for them.  Much inspired by your insight here Yvette.

Be A Top Producer
Be A Top Producer
3 years 2 months ago

Love this! I am an introvert and very much behave the way you described in your article.  Thanks for sharing the info!

Howie Goldfarb
3 years 2 months ago
Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs test yvettepistorio? I only ask because some people like me are both intro and extroverted. I love parties and crowds. No problems meeting new people or speaking my mind. But I also love alone time. Being in the woods by myself or reading a book or staying in at night. http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html It is worth learning about. Has helped me understand other people immensely. I always wondered why so many people were slow to get my humor or understand things I talk about. But then found that 75% of people communicate differently than me who… Read more »
LauraPetrolino
3 years 2 months ago

Howie Goldfarb yvettepistorio ENTJ FTW!!!! 
But enough about me…I totally agree! Myers-Briggs and other similar personality testing has not only taught be alot about myself and how I best operate, but also about others and how to better understand and communicate with them.
One of my favorite classes in grad school was “The Personalities of Leadership” and we examined all of the great leaders of our time (in multiple industries and sectors) and dissected their personalities and how they used/misused them (for success or failure)

Howie Goldfarb
3 years 2 months ago

yvettepistoriosorry this link wasn’t working before! http://www.myersbriggs.org/

yvettepistorio
3 years 2 months ago

Howie Goldfarb Suuure Howie 😉 I haven’t taken that one, but have taken similar tests and I’m not sure what the other letters are but I do get introvert. But I’ve always wanted to take the Myers-Briggs test…maybe it should be on my bucket list!

photo chris
photo chris
3 years 2 months ago
Howie Goldfarb yvettepistorio Hello my fellow ambivert! I just learned this term and am in love with it; it explains so much. depending on my mood I always fall a little one way or the other to the introvert/extrovert line- usually the opposite of whatever I am AT THAT MOMENT…. The true definition is supposed to be found in where you draw your best energy.  So if I take that test after several hours or even days of speaking with people, every fiber of my being is screaming at me to curl into a fetal position in silence. But, if I’ve been… Read more »
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