Daily Archives: December 2, 2013

How a Community Pays Off… So You Can Buy a Robot

Building an online community can be incredibly frustrating. Getting people on board with your community is a difficult task, especially when there are no other members. However tedious the process of acquiring members may be, it is well worth it in the end. As Dino Dogan points out in his article, “How To Build a Community of Fanatics,” community members will actually start doing your job for you… for free!


You’re Not a Robot

One huge thing to remember when dealing with the online world: you’re not a robot, and neither are the other members.

“No one wants to interact with a brand, a logo, a picture of your dog, a cartoon, or worse,” Dogan said.

People are starting to talk behind your back, saying that they think you're a robot... Show your face. Use your name. It makes a difference. Photo uploaded by Dan Coulter. All rights reserved.

People are starting to talk behind your back, saying that they think you’re a robot… Show your face. Use your name. It makes a difference.
Photo uploaded by Dan Coulter. All rights reserved.

People want to interact with other people. By doing two basic things, you can convince that you do not have robotic arms:

  1. Use a picture of yourself (a close-up of your face)
  2. Use your real name.

By adhering to these two simple rules, it will have a subconscious effect on others. It shows that you stand behind your words and actions; you’re not hiding behind a screen name and a puppy dog. You’re Zachary Prutzman, and you have something to say.


… Seriously, Though. You’re Not a Robot.

I don’t think I’ve stressed the whole not-a-robot thing enough. So I’m going to talk about it some more.

When starting a community, you need to reach members on a personal level.

David Spinks proposes a fool-proof community building strategy in his blog post, titled “How to Build a Community From Scratch.”

Step 1: Pick up the phone and call a community member. Ask them about themselves and their experience with the company.

Step 2: Invite them to a private Facebook group for your customers.

Step 3: Introduce them to the group and help them get involved in the discussion.

This sounds difficult, I know. But building a community will pay off in the future (keep reading – you’ll understand soon enough). You don’t have to call all your community’s members. Start with one, then the next, then the next. Making a personal connection shows that you value their opinions.


It’s Pay Day 

Finally, you’ve escaped the talk of robotics. It’s a relief. But not nearly as big a relief as building a successful community… cause now you can sit back and relax. Have a beer (I recommend having multiple beers, but to each his own).

***Quick side note: The rest of this article is only true if you have built a community of “fanatics.” Members must be active and willing to participate. If you have not reached this point, you need to read some more things on “How to Not Be a Robot.” Sorry.***

So, how will these “fanatics” make your job easier? Well, Dogan points out a variety of reasons:

  • Engaged members are the ones that will market for you while you sleep (… robots don’t need sleep. Maybe I should be a robot.).
  • They will field technical questions from other members.
  • They will fulfill your help-desk tickets.
  • They will recruit others to do the same.
  • They will do it all for free!

One thing that Dogan stresses is that members must be enthusiastic about your community… and this enthusiasm cannot be bought with money.

… but you could buy a robot. Just saying.

CMGRClass Panel: If the Hat Fits, Wear It!

One of the biggest themes throughout the semester has been the idea that a Community Manager must wear many different hats. In the past few years, the CM position has become more and more relevant and, because of that, it is still evolving. In previous posts, I’ve discussed how all Community Managers are unique, and responsibilities for each may vary. We’ve learned about how to make a community strong and how to get members engaged, but it’s important to dig deeper into what makes a strong Community Manager. Because the position is so demanding, it requires a very qualified individual.

Taken from Klout.com.

Taken from Klout.com.

This week, #CMGRclass was lucky enough to have panel of experts from four social and community-based companies: Lea Marino from Cycle for Survival, Topher Ziobro from Google Local NY, Jennifer Sable Lopez from Moz, and Sahana Ullagaddi from Klout. Many of our panelists (namely Topher and Sahana) agree with the “different hats” idea. What does this mean? How can a CM prepare himself/herself for such a responsibility?

A Strong and Diverse Background

A Community Manager has a wide variety of responsibilities, and most Community Managers need the diverse background to match. After watching each of the three panels, I noticed a trend among the panelists. Many panelists had previous jobs unrelated to the field of community or social management, but their past experiences have allowed them to be successful. The experts from this week’s panel were no exception.

Taken from https://plus.google.com/+GoogleLocalNewYork/posts.

Taken from https://plus.google.com/+GoogleLocalNewYork/posts.

Jen Lopez studied Journalism in college with a PR focus. After that, she worked in web development, technical consulting, SEO, and crisis management. This work allows her to answer customer service questions from a technical perspective as well as have a grasp on key community topics such as SEO, content, and crisis.

Lea Marino studied Public Relations in college. Post-graduation, she worked for a digital agency, app start ups, and social media agencies. This made her a powerful communicator.

Nothing’s Perfect Right Away

This goes hand in hand with having a strong background. These panels always help remind me that you won’t find the perfect fit right away. As Topher mentioned “mistakes are great to make,” and you won’t get it right on the first try.

Topher worked in sports marketing for his college’s athletic department and then at the Admissions office of a graduate art school.

Taken from twitter.com/Cycle4Survival.

Taken from twitter.com/Cycle4Survival.

Sahana studied economics in college and specialized in international development. After working as a “boring” management consultant, she realized her passion for people. It was this passion that led her to a career in Community Management!

Lea mentioned a conversation she had with her parents post-graduation regarding her internship experience. As a PR graduate who disliked any

internship she had, she worried that she wouldn’t find a job she would enjoy. She worked at a digital agency spent time with small start up companies, but she found her niche in social media. She used her PR skills and utilized social media as the perfect outlet to become a gatekeeper.

The Right Type of Person

Another trend amongst panelists (past and present) became clear–all seemed to posses an impressive amount of skills that allow them to be successful. They each mentioned what skills and traits are the most important for a successful Community Manager.

Jen: “you have to have the ability to make decisions quickly. If you don’t know the answer, you have to figure it out.”

Lea: you need to understand how to communicate digitally, and you must be empathetic. You have to understand “what’s being said behind the

Taken from Moz.com

Taken from Moz.com


Sahana: you need to have the “ability to receive feedback well, take it, and do something with it”.

Topher: “energy is hugely important” and you need to show that you can take challenges to know how to balance certain situations.

A successful CM is the perfect combination of skills, personality, and a strong, diverse background. It may not be for everyone, but if the hat fits, wear it!