Community Managers & Mental Health: Nurturing Connection

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

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As community managers (CMs) on the Khoros Strategic Services team, our job is to help brands create meaningful connections and trusted communities for their customers. From engaging with customers who are sharing love for our brand, to providing safe environments for people to connect, we are engrossed in fostering connections and building communities for brands every day. While there are many rewarding aspects to building flourishing communities for brands, it can, at times, leave us feeling stressed and isolated in our new work-from-home worlds. Suffice to say, when we invest so much in creating connections for others, it can be difficult to invest in our own relationships with our personal communities. 

According to Mental Health America, 9 in 10 employees report that their workplace stress affects their mental health. Other studies have shown that an active social network can play a significant role in reducing feelings of isolation and provide a sense of belonging, in addition to increases in self-esteem and happiness from rewarding interactions. While Mental Health Awareness Month has come to a close, we feel it’s important to keep discussing how we can better care for mental health as CMs. In this blog, we wanted to share one way that we, at Khoros, are promoting self-care and helping each other invest in personal relationships and community building: simple acts of service. Below we’ve provided a few avenues to help bring your communities back to life through simple acts of service.

We Are Stronger Together. 

  1. Re-invest in community. Right now, it’s important to re-invest in the very communities that once grounded us. Businesses and corporate entities are offering more opportunities than ever for their employees to safely service areas of need in their local community or even for friends and family. 
  2. No act is too small. Some especially at-risk individuals or co-workers with young children may need help gathering groceries. However big or small these actions are, they’re rooted in selflessness and care for one’s community. Opportunities such as these are ever-present and can represent chances to stimulate social networks by teaming up with co-workers, while servicing a common interest, and fostering a stronger community. 

Connect and Encourage Through Notes. 

  1. Words have power. It is easy to forget the true weight words carry. A few well-placed words of appreciation can easily bring someone to tears of joy and provide motivation for the coming days. While IMs and emails have become the norm for sending praise at work, in an all-consuming digital world, these may no longer be outlets, sufficient enough to fulfill the needs of each member of a community. 
  2. Time to go old-school? For some, sending personal cards or even delivering handwritten notes serve as a form of greater emotional release that ultimately aids in cultivating appreciation and boosting one's own self-esteem. Sometimes a handwritten note can even bridge the gap between two physically distant individuals, by bringing about the feeling of being in one another's actual presence.

Meet, Greet, and Repeat. 

  1. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Sometimes the simple acts that go into “fostering meaningful connections” and staying active within one’s social networks can be drastically overanalyzed. If someone has invested time in developing a genuine relationship with a co-worker or friends, taking another step forward can be as simple as setting recurring meet-ups over a cup of coffee or alternating weekly treat deliveries. Setting events like these not only helps with keeping social networks active, but they deepen relationships by adding a level of dependence and expectation. While building comradery is never easy and takes time, time well-invested will inevitably result in beneficial returns. 

For an entire year, we, our communities, and much of the world were forced to take a step back. This time of reflection and learning shed a light on the frailty of one’s mental health, as well as the litany of dangers many CMs face. As it is said, with awareness comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes power. Well, now it’s time to use that power and begin to take steps forward in defense of CMs everywhere. After all, a solution can be found right in the title of our job description, “Community” Managers. In spending our days protecting and educating our brand’s community, we can begin to neglect our very own. It’s time to prioritize managing personal communities like CMs do for employer’s every day, and work toward maintaining happy and healthier minds through fostering connections