Daily Archives: November 2, 2013

There’s No “I” in Team

#CMGRClass - 10/15 Panel

#CMGRClass – 10/15 Panel

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.

Key point:


Creating a Community with Downy

Downy sells fabric softener, dryer sheets and other products that will make your life softer and smell better. But Downy’s online communities haven’t always reflected that. According to 360i strategist Nicole Hering, who now works with the brand, she and her coworkers took over a “crummy situation” when 360i took over this past July.

Nicole took the reigns from Procter & Gamble, one of the largest consumer products companies in the world. According to Hering, years ago the size of the community was the most important metric and P&G still believes that. “When they first launched the community they had a lot of media dollars they could put behind the growth of the community,” Hering said. “What they had actually done is buy the cheapest fans they possibly could and then put a lot of coupons on the page.”

Building the community

P&G was taking pride in the fact that they had built a huge following. But when Hering took over, she tried to help them understand that there’s one metric far more important than reach — engagement. Engagement has been the key word for Hering and her crew, whether it be with creating a content strategy or calculating the ROI. P&G built a superficial community of people Hering referred to as “coupon trolls” but since then, after focusing on the target demographics, the Downy community has turned into an interactive, engaging community that actually advocates on behalf of the brand.

Getting the users invovled

The best way to advocate on behalf of a brand is through user generated content. But does Downy have a community that will embrace UGC? Yes. It’s large, it’s well-established and Hering has the wheels turning on ways to get them more involved. One way has been to ask them which hard parts of their lives need softening as a part of their #softside campaign. Using user-suggestions, Downy has posted visuals of life’s hardest moments being softened, like crossword puzzles. But Hering could be doing more. She’s currently just taking suggestions from users rather than actually using content they create themselves. It says a lot about a community that is willing to go out and create something for a brand.


Study the data

Hering is all about the statistics. P&G has kind of forced her to be, since they rely so much on data to make decisions. “We are trying to have the numbers almost tell a story,” Hering said. And what’s the most important stat to Hering? Shares. She says that in her opinion, shares are currently the most important metric out there because it means so much more than a like or a comment since it’s like wearing “a badge on their social shoulder” and saying “I am an advocate of this brand.”

On the right track

Hering knows she still has a long way to go to convert the community from a coupon hungry, shallow audience, to an engaging consumer base that’s ready to advocate for Downy. But she’s on the right track. Using metrics, demographic targeting and user generated content, she is establishing a community based on engagement rather than size.