Daily Archives: November 25, 2013

Community Management: The Intersection of People and Tech

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 3.16.19 PMPut a bunch of community managers in a room together and you’ll most likely hear conversation about a few different topics. But two things that come up more than most other subjects are technology and people. This is essentially what happened when #CMGRClass brought together four successful community management professionals in a Google Hangout on Tuesday. Through the different backgrounds of each person, I found one similarity, both have had interest in tech and people since their college days, which is what can get you into the field.

Community managers from Moz, Cycle for Survival, Klout and Google joined the class to talk about how they got to where they are today. For a student like me, this information is a great way for me to apply myself in hopes of one day becoming a community manager.


Moz started as an SEO consulting company and produces software and dabbles in analytics. Jen, a community manager on staff, works to educate its community about SEO, regardless of whether or not they pay for Moz services. Jen studied journalism in college and focused on public relations early on. She started in the technology field out of college as a web developer but she still had a passion for writing and talking to people. She came about Moz and started out as a technical consultant but found herself leading a lot of the training sessions, talking to clients and writing. What made Jen unique and perfect for the job of community manager was that she knew her community well. In fact, she was just like the people who were in her community. That was her most interesting point. Community managers are most successful when they themselves would like to be a part of their own community because they’re serving people just like themselves.


Cycle for Survival 

Cycle for survival is an indoor team cycling event that raises money for research of “rare cancer” diagnosis. 100% of every dollar raised goes to research. It’s a peer to peer fundraising model and Lea says her job as community manager is to just give the community what it needs to run a successful event. Lea graduated from Syracuse University with a public relations degree but really wasn’t happy with the work she was doing with her internships. She was working at a digital marketing company when she recommended that their business should get on Twitter. That’s when social media really became her focus. She was great with the people element as a PR major and was combining it with her love for tech to deliver the information people needed.


Klout is a digital influence tool that we’ve talked about a lot in the class so far. It measures how influential a user is using an algorithm that brings in statistics from social networks of the users choice, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others. Sahana, the community manager, focuses on content marketing, social media management, public relations, product marketing, email marketing day-to-day during her job. But she also has been helping community members become more influential through education. She studied economics in college, and joined a management consulting firm but didn’t like it. She was really drawn to tech and is very passionate about people. She wanted to interact with them in an authentic way everyday. She started with social media at a startup and went from there.


I don’t really have to explain what Google is. Topher, a community manager in New York for Google Local NYC, uses online interactions and in-person events to encourage people to explore and share. He started in sports marketing but wanted to pursue art. He moved to the city and organized meet ups with others interested, the offline form of a community. He worked at an art college in the admissions office and established social media accounts to draw in more people. He increased international applications though his use of tech and his interactions with people.

See any similarities? All four love tech and are great with people and are well on their ways to successful community management careers.

Tips from various Community Managers

This week’s panel for CMGRclass was one word: great. It is amazing to see people that technically have the same title, but are different in some ways. It’s also great to see all the different backgrounds that they come from!

Jen, the director of community at Moz, Lea, the community manager for Cycle for Survival, Sahana, who focuses on the community and marketing aspect at Klout, and Topher, part of the community team for Google all brought different aspects to the table that were very beneficial.

I spent most of my time during the hangout jotting down notes that I thought were relevant and good points. Come to find out, it seemed like I typed almost everything they said, because that’s how important I felt it was. How many pages did I type in Word regarding this panel? 5 single spaced pages. May be a bit much, but this is something I know I can always refer to.

My two takeaways

While clearly there are a million things I could write about, there were two takeaways in particular from the panel that I thought were great. First, the different traits that are most helpful to them that should be focused on and second, their mentors.


It was really neat to see the traits that each community manager felt was important. A quick recap of each panel member’s thoughts were as follows:

Jen-Being able to figure out what to do next is huge. Having the ability to take something and make a decision on what happens next is very important as well as having the ability to make decisions quickly.

Jenn speaking with #CMGRclass

Jenn speaking with #CMGRclass

Lea- Empathy is very important such as having the ability to empathize what is actually being said behind the words. Also, curiosity is crucial. Constantly looking to be better and being curious to learn is a great trait to have.

Sahana- Her five traits she believes are important are: the hunger to learn, being able to take something and actually doing something with it, being able to speak up and share your opinions and feedback, being perceptive, and being able to prioritize and knowing what’s most important and what’s not.

Topher- Energy is very important. How you display your energy and show your interests are crucial traits. Having the energy to tackle any task at any time is a trait that is valued for a community manager.


Topher speaking with #CMGRclass

Topher speaking with #CMGRclass

It was very interesting to see the different mentors these four community managers have had along the way. A recap of the four panelists responses are as follows:

Topher – He has had a combination of mentors, ranging from a girl named Julia who is the editor for the creative’s project, to all the great community managers at different meet-ups.

Sahana- An assortment of individuals have helped her along the way. She owes everything to her mentors because they taught her so much. She has a couple people she has kept in touch with via e-mail as well as different chats, such as #CMGRchat.

Lea- The people who send e-mails of emotional love are her mentors. Getting out and hearing from people at meet-ups have been a sense of mentoring for her. Receiving the e-mails that inspire you have been a guidance for her.

Jen- It’s extremely hard for her to pinpoint one or two people. She has found that just by being in her community, she has gained many mentors. Not one person knows everything, so different people mentor you in different ways. She has mentors when she reaches out to her community and gets answers.

Lea speaking with #CMGRclass

Lea speaking with #CMGRclass


Ultimately, this was a very unique panel with many different backgrounds experience and educational wise. There were many great things that were taken away from this panel and many tips that we can all use in the future were given. I think my favorite part of the panel was the different traits, because it seemed everyone had different answers but they were all great. I truly think being curious and willing to learn is the top one for me. Things are always changing and you have to go with the flow. You have to expect the unexpected and be ready to act upon things quickly when they arise. Without the sense of curiosity, you might not be ready to make those decisions. I think if I could take away one thing from this panel (even though there are endless), I would have to say it is crucial to manage your time well and be open to learning new things plus giving yourself an emotional break every once in a while!

Sahana speaking with #CMGRclass

Sahana speaking with #CMGRclass



What were your favorite thoughts on the panel?

Did one trait seem more important that others?

Do you have a particular mentor?


Community Manager Panel

Our latest panel featured many great professional Community Managers. The panel featured Community Managers from Cycle to Survive,  Google Local NYC, Moz, and Klout.

Each Community Manager stated that they wear many different hats. This is something that has been talked about throughout the course. Most of the Community Managers deal with social media, clients, PR and educating. The panelists talked a lot about their experiences and how they got to where they are today. The panelists had many different paths and at first networked to get where they are today.

This panel had a focus on how to become a community manager and how they handle a busy work life. Time management is a skill that all Community Managers should possess. Each panelist stated that they wear multiple hats so they need to schedule tasks so that they are able to give their all on tasks.With time management you need to prepare for the future in case something were to happen, as your 

employees need to know how to help with your tasks in an emergency. Schedule out resources and projects as you can’t work 24/7.

Each of the panelists were asked about the skills that a community manager should possess. This was a great topic for discussion as most of these skills are what makes people unique. Some of the most talked about skills were empathy, decision making, recieving

feedback, and having a willingness to learn. An individual should be empathetic by understanding the feelings of your audience.

 A Community Manager must be good at decision making and be quick on their feet. While having many job duties is a good thing, an individual should not question a decision as it slows down process. One of the panelists mentioned that you need to take risks but be smart about it. By taking risks he was able to better his community. A Community Manager should have a willingness to learn. You will never know everything; and nothing is ever the same. Learning on the job and making mistakes is extremely common.

This panel was really beneficial because I got to hear first hand about the characteristics of a good Community Manager. This is something that I would read about online, but actually hearing people in the industry speak about their experiences was what is inspiring me to develop the skills necessary to hopefully one day become a successful Community Manager.