Daily Archives: May 23, 2013

Interview with Community Manager Deb Ng

Deb Ng is an exceptional community organizer and genuinely kind person.   After speaking with her for only moments, I realized that she is an exceptionally warm, friendly, interesting, caring individual and a “people person”.

She identifies as a social media enthusiast, oversharer, and author of Online Community Management for Dummies. She laughs hard at her own jokes (and others) and currently blogs at kommein.com. You can follow her on twitter @debng or find her on Google+. Deb  has always loved writing and started as a freelance writer.  In 2005, she started an online community for freelance writers in the form of a blog that grew into the number one community for freelance writers and became a network of eight blogs which she later sold. In 2008, she was offered her first actual job as a community manager with Blog Talk Radio. That was it; she was hooked!

Deb Ng embodies everything we have learned about being a community manager that wears many hats: leader, content developer, moderator, community advocate, mediator and analyst. I asked Deb to talk her strategy as she goes about starting a new community. This is what she shared:

  • Determine who is your community? Pinpoint the types of people you want to reach. Create a profile of what a member looks like. Determine your demographics.
  • Ask “why are you building this community?” “What do you want to achieve?” The answers will help with goal setting.
  • Determine your goals to create the campaign and talking points.
  • Find out where these people hang out. Why would they want to join my community? What is special about you?
  • Give them a compelling reason to follow you. If you are just like everyone else they won’t follow or engage.
  • Once you have them engaged, you can get them to talk to each other. This will lead to hangouts and meetups. Now you have something to work with! You can engage people off line as well as online.
  • Then you can start recruiting, online and offline. Create an atmosphere of brand advocates that will share your message and help new members to feel welcome.
  • Look for bloggers to interact with. They will be a great asset but don’t forget to send them some “love” and reciprocation.
  • Move the community to a conference setting. Create an experience for them so they want to share this community with others.
  • Brands that get the most buzz are the ones that are the most creative. Good examples – Chobani, Oreo.

As I listened to Deb Ng, I recognized that she was the embodiment of the things we had read and learned in our class. The books we used, the articles we read and the information we gained from our Google+ hangouts were all brought to life in this lively conversation with an active community manager. Let me leave you with these best practices from Deb Ng’s book,Online Community Management for Dummies:

online cm book*Stay impartial

*Have a regular presence in your community and others

*Respond in a timely manner

*Keep a positive tone

*Be supportive of the brand and the community

*Forge relationships

*Promote the community

*Be passionate about the community

*Stay on top of trends

*Continue Your Education

 

Use the guidelines provided here, keep Deb’s words of wisdom and experience in mind and have fun! All of this will lead you to great success as a community manager.

 

 

Meshing with Mashable

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Mashable is the go-to brand for all things social-media related and has established itself as a well-respected news blog. For the #cmgrclass final paper, I had the opportunity to interview Meghan Peters, Community Manager for Mashable. Meghan oversees social media strategy and reader engagement projects for Mashable, which has distinguished itself as the largest independent website dedicated to providing the latest news on social media for the “connected generation.”

Mashable’s Approach to Community

One thing that resonated with me was Meghan’s approach to managing and responding to her audience’s feedback both negative and positive. One thing she made sure to stress was killing them with kindness. Community managers always have to be mindful of their outward expressions. Anything they say or do has the potential to negatively impact the community. Even if you do not agree with what one of your users has suggested or said about your brand, this is not fair ground to retaliate. Without active members and users, there is no community. Meghan recognizes this. She always understands, which we’ve discussed in class, the importance of acknowledging relevant content posted by members of the community. Not every post warrants a response, some members are intentionally provoking brand officials. This type of commentary should be ignored, which Meghan mentioned as one of her tactics. I find this to be important as I take interest in how companies and brands alike go about caring for their communities and if they’re actually delivering what they promise.

Ambassadors?

I asked Meghan if Mashable had a formal brand ambassador program. Unfortunately, they do not. I do feel that if I were granted the opportunity to be an asset for a well-known brand such as Mashable, I’d vouch for a brand ambassador program. During my moderation week for the #cmgrclass, I did a lot of research on brand ambassador programs and how they are deemed beneficial for companies. Since Mashable has such a strong connection with its users, I certainly see value in launching a brand ambassador program to enhance the brand’s image and evoke brand loyalty and awareness amongst future and current members of the community. Mashable already knows who their most loyal users are, according to Meghan, the brand should utilize the outside help of people who are eager to spread the word and spark word-of-mouth marketing. Additionally, Meghan mentioned events, in which Mashable personally interacts with its members. As Jenn Pedde said during one of our Google+ hangout sessions, “have something for your brand ambassadors to do.” Since Mashable solely exists online, I think humanizing the brand would be a great strategy to attract more attention and drive traffic to the site’s homepage. The ambassadors could host social media learning labs and skills building workshops on behalf of the brand. Since the site seems to be a popular choice among professors within the iSchool and communications-related fields, articles published to the site can be reference during the sessions conducted by the ambassadors.

To learn more about my interview with Meghan Peters, send your thoughts to the #cmgrclass!

Community Manager Interview with Allison Berger, TicketLeap

For my #CMGRclass Community Manager interview, I chatted with Allison Berger who is the community manager at TicketLeap.

TicketLeap

TicketLeap is an online ticket sales and event marketing company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They specialize in seamless ticketing that is adaptable for events of all sizes. TicketLeap differentiates themselves from larger ticket companies by being fully customizable, offering a mobile box office and reserved seating, being built for social, and having extensive analytics.

Allison’s Role as a Community Manager

Allison’s main responsibilities as a Community Manager at TicketLeap include:

  • creating content for social media platforms
  • composing e-blasts and developing other marketing efforts
  • supporting the TicketLeap community through social outlets such as Facebook and Twitter
Allison’s Day to Day as a Community Manager

For Allison, each day as a community manager at TicketLeap is different which keeps her excited and engaged. Unlike many professionals, one of Allison’s first tasks in the morning is to go on Facebook. She also opens TweetDeck, works on her editorial calendar, creates content, does research, and spends a lot of time reading about community management. CMGR_interview_blogimageReading up on what is going on with community management, the new trends, and the latest tools is a very important part of her job since it is changing so often.

How Allison Connects with the TicketLeap Community

TicketLeap has many social networks they use to connect with their community, such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+. But Allison says Facebook and Twitter are the networks she uses the most. TicketLeap really focuses on social integration as part of their ticketing strategy and Facebook and Twitter are the main networks their community members use. Allison connects with her audience in other ways too. She tries out new tactics and launches new projects to see how her community will react.

The Difference Between a Community Manager and a Social Media Manager

Allison has given a lot of thought about this topic. She is a community manager, but she also has many of the responsibilities someone with a social media manager title would have. The big difference for her, is that a social media manager does strictly content, and a community manager is more out in the world and wears many hats. She thinks that a community manager is a very broad title, whereas a social media manager title is more specific.

Why Allison Wanted to Be a Community Manager

The community manager job position appealed to Allison because she likes to make conversation, help others, and she really loves the internet. Talking, sharing, and writing are part of Allison’s nature, and that is why she thinks she is so drawn to the role of a community manager. Allison says that from an early age she learned the language of how to talk to people on the internet. She has been blogging and Facebooking since grade school, which she says has helped her become a successful community manager. She said communicating over the internet is not something that is complicated. The key factors are:

  • being friendly
  • being easy to talk to
  • making sure you talk/write so that people can relate to you
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Tips for Aspiring Community Managers

Allison says the most important thing for aspiring community managers to do is to make connections. She says to get a twitter account and start talking.

Like other successful community managers, Allison has her own blog and a large personal social network that has helped her in her professional career. She wants to make sure that someone who wants to be a community manager is not overwhelmed by the words “make connects” or “network”. It can be simple and easy. She says, “just reach out to people by replying to tweets– you never know where it can take you!”