After hearing from a few community management professionals it’s clear that no matter what kind of community you have, it takes a team to maintain it and it revolves around customer engagement. Three great examples of people who know a thing or two about community management are Morgan Johnston from JetBlue, David Yarus from MRY and Nick Cicero from LiveFyre. They all agreed that a community wouldn’t exist without a strategically created team behind it, and that transparency, engagement and treating humans like humans are keys to success. They also all come from different types of companies with different communities, but those core values stay the same throughout.
Johnston said that the first principals of JetBlue were talk and engage with customers. It was a strategy that translated nicely to the social spaces. JetBlue is known for its engagement with customers, but with such a large audience, it takes a solid team to manage the thousands of mentions the social accounts get every day. Johnston said social has become everyones responsibilities. With educational programs teaching more social theory and with social becoming an important part of lives of millennials, everyone has that base knowledge of social media so everyone has to contribute to those responsibilities.
JetBlue’s operation is broken up into three teams: corporate communications, which handles the overall narrative, marketing, which tells brand stories and customer support, which handles the day-to-day engagement JetBlue is known for. There is also a group looking at customer insights. They examine all analytics, which allows the strategists to make adjustments as a brand.
Key point: It’s all about transparency. The customer should know why you make the decisions you make.
Yarus said MRY thrives on brand ambassadors. The communities they manage are small and consist of influencers and thought leaders, which is different than JetBlue’s community. It all come down to knowing the community and what information will work will among them.
Yarus said distribution broken down into paid, owned, earned, experiential and analytics groups with a flat power structure that allows all members of community management to have an equal say. He noted that the community manager is the most vital piece of the puzzle as they are the eyes, ears and voice of the people.
Key point: “We’re all people.” Why does everything have to be so formal? Treat people like people for real results.
Cicero said LiveFyre’s community is made up of community managers, giving yet another interesting perspective on the field. It doesn’t matter if you have a background in digital, social or community building, you still need to understand how to communicate to be successful. Communication may seem basic, but it’s a tool many lack. It goes back to Yarus’ point about treating people like people. If you know how to communicate as a person, your community will respond.
Cicero said the marketing and customer service teams handle the community management. But LiveFyre didn’t hire a strategist until Cicero last December. He noted the importance of a strategist in determining overall voice and crisis management protocol. LiveFyre’s role is interesting because since their customers are community managers, they take on more of a mentorship role. But it all came back to being a team player and knowing how to work with these customers when they need help with their communities.
Never forget you are a manager of community managers. The people you serve spread that to their own social communities. – @davidyarus
— Nick Cicero (@nickcicero) October 16, 2013