Daily Archives: May 13, 2013

How to Manage Your Community in a Crisis

There’s nothing like a top-of-mind topic to engage a community in conversation.



That is the main lesson I took from the #CMGRChat session of April 17, which seemed like an especially lively and fast-moving conversation.  

I don’t mean that to be misleading. It’s my understanding that a lively and fast-moving conversation is the #CMGRChat norm. The weekly Twitter chat, co-hosted by community managers Jenn Pedde(2U) and Kelly Lux (SU iSchool) is popular and much-populated. Started two years ago, and now well-established, the weekly Wednesday afternoon conversation for those in, and interested in, the community manager profession typically draws 100 to 150 participants, according to Jenn Pedde. (I’ve been able to join a handful of times.)

But the session this week was been preceded by two incredible, highly dramatic public events that were followed online as they were happening live, then conversed about digitally by millions (including community managers watching tweetchat trends).

In an amazing, digital-space phenomenon, Twitter was first out with the news of bombings at the Boston Marathon, and for the next 24 hours, devices and screens everywhere  carried out a full-court display of the events, as they happened. That included the shoot-out death of one suspect and the the live-action police chase and apprehension of the second.

All of it happened in front of our eyes, on computers, ipads and phones, and concurrently on live TV.



There also was a second incident of tragedy that week – the explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.) #CmgrChat aspires to be on trend and timely. Within that backdrop, the weekly #CMGRChat topic of “Managing Your Community During a Crisis” was highly engaging.

Six questions were addressed, two more than the typical four. They were useful and instructive in relation to the events of the week

– What constitutes a ‘tragedy’ that will require a shift in your regular practice?

– What are the first steps you take online after determining a tragedy that requires a shift in priorities?

– Do you have a system of checks / balances when it comes to continuing with content?

– OK, you made a mistake. How do you correct that mistake and apologize to your community?

– What are some ways that a community can do to help after a tragedy?

– What are some good and bad examples of post-tragedy use of social media after this week’s events?

Here is a look at the tweetchat as illustrated by its activity metrics: 

115 users     772 total tweets     363  tweets     281 replies    94  retweets    

Breakdown of activity by question response tweet number#:    

A1:  25 tweets, 21 users       A2: 45 tweets, 20 users      A3: 28 tweets 20 users     

A4:  39 tweets, 26 users   A5:  34 tweets, 22 users    A6: 12 tweets, 7 users  

Most active users (and tweets): TheJournalizer 34

Potential impact:  2.317.536 impressions     Potential reach:    442.059 users

My Assessment: this was an example of best practices for a community conversation. You can obtain much more information about the content of the chat, and the tempo and orientation of the conversation among community managers contemplating this issue, by pulling up a metrics report that shows all of the tweet responses, question by question and tweet by tweet.

  • Questions were well thought out (and given the rawness of the ongoing situation, not offensively worded
  • Questions were very pertinent to the situations each community manager might face in a real-life situation
  • Questions were thought-provoking and engaging (without being exaggerated or insensitive)
  • Answers weren’t automatic; they came quickly but required thought and reflection.
  • Questions prompted a highly-engaged conversations and due to the number of questions, a fast-paced conversation.

A record of the one-hour chat is available. The detailed report of metrics and content is available on Scribd at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136561869/CMGR-Chat

If you’re a community manager, or someone interested in the topic of community management, you can tune in. #CMGRChat is hosted on Twitter on Wednesdays from 2 to 3 p.m. EST.

To learn more about the co-hosts, you can find and follow them online.  

On Twitter, Jenn is @JPedde (her company is @2UInc), Jenn blogs at: jennpedde.com. She also manages a blog for community managers and those interested in the topic (you can read about, and maybe even write content there) at: The Community Manager.com.She blogs for her company at 2UInc. Jenn is on LinkedIn at: ww.linkedin.com/in/jennpedde.

Kelly is on Twitter: @KellyLux . Her School account is (@iSchoolSU). Kelly’s blog is Social Lux.  You can find Kelly there at: www.linkedin.com/in/kellylux.


Community Manager – A Job Description

community womanagerThis new(ish) and exciting career has many people asking the question – “What exactly is a Community Manager and what do they do?”  Most of my friends have no clue what my position entails, so I will direct them to this post for the answers. Most people know it has something to with social media but that is the extent of it. This is my attempt to explain what it is that community managers do.

Community management is an art not a science! First of all and most importantly, Community Managers connect people with other people around a common interest or brand. This is done both internally in a business and externally with consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B). It is the role of the Community Manager to connect people and help them to develop relationships based on common interests and then facilitate initial conversations with the goal of allowing relationships to be built. This is done both online and offline, in person. This relationship building is the core of the Community Managers responsibility, after all if there is no community there is no need for a community manager.

After the community, there are many other responsibilities that are delegated to the Community Manager such as:

face of brand

  • BE the FACE of the brand – because the primary function of the community manager is to connect and build relationships they are the face that people associate with the brand. When the community has a real, live person that they communicate with, they see that person as the brand. The community manager is the living, breathing, talking version of a brand.
  • Content creation – based on knowledge of the community’s interests the community manager will write blog posts, make videos, write newsletters or other wise engage on social media platforms based on the brand’s direction and the interest of the community members.
  • Analytics – use of  measuring devices is the the best way to monitor the effects of your campaigns. By setting goals and monitoring the data it will be easy to see where adjustments need to be made in your marketing plan. What should be measured will vary from brand to brand.
  • Social media marketing – use online tools to do effective outreach, i.e. Twitter, Facebook (what is the value of a like?), YouTube, Instagram or other relevant products. The community manager is much like the conductor of an orchestra bringing all of the individual components together to “make beautiful music”. Community-Manager
  • Event planner – because communities thrive when they have a deeper connection, it is the responsibility to plan ways for them to meet live and in person. By planning events to promote the brand and connect people, the community manager looks for relevant ways to get the party started.

The role of community manager goes well beyond these basics. Great communication skills are a must! The community manager must work with internal departments of brand to be the voice of the community and to coordinate effective marketing strategies. For this reason, they have outgoing, friendly personalities, good writing and speaking skills and posses a passion for the product or brand they represent.  They must also posses excellent time management skills, the ability to multitask and be someone who can remain calm under pressure. After all, we are talking about a group of people expressing opinions. There will be times when tempers may flare or inappropriate comments may be made and you will be the one responsible for calming the waters.

To wrap this all up, a community manager is a brand advocate, engagement expert, data center, builder of relationships internally and externally,builds community with online tools and offline events,  represents community members’ interests, works on marketing with the help of all departments, and uses analytics to measure success or make adjustments. The primary function is to engage users to create community! What are the results? Happy customers!!

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a community manager? Want more contact with other community managers? Check in on Twitter.