Daily Archives: December 4, 2013

Doing Your Homework: The Key to Becoming a Great Community Manager


CMs need to learn on-the-go. From moriza on flickr.

The easiest way to become a terrible community manager is to focus solely on your own community.

Does that seem contradictory? It shouldn’t. A past panel mentioned that community managers aren’t just managing members – they’re also managing communities within communities. Same goes for the other way: your community is probably one among many other communities just like it. If you’re going to get anywhere with your community, you need to be a full incorporated member of sister communities, too.

So what’s the biggest thing you can do to strengthen your community management skills?

It’s simple: research.

In a presentation on Blogger Outreach, Jenn Pedde (our own #CMGRclass leader!) offers some advice in a presentation one how to stand out from the crowd in the sea of community managers.


This is a logical first step for CMs. Understanding where your blog exists among others is the best way to understand your position and to whom you need to reach out.


Another step to building a community is reaching out. A great way to spread the word is to create an ambassador program: an integrated team of people who love yours community and want to help it grow. When creating this team, Mack Collier insists that research is key to understand who will be the best people.

You can’t just sit back an pick the most active people: you need to watch, listen, and converse with people. Research, after all, isn’t just reading up!


From Britt Michaelian’s blog post, she emphasizes how people are rejecting traditional marketing, and instead they crave connection.

Community managers are driven by this demand to supply connection, and most likely they are the kind of person that’s naturally good at it. What Michealian reminds us is that it’s important to remember how every action by a successful community manager is backed by a strategy. Every exchange is carefully crafted to maximize returns to the community.

Although “strategic” and “crafted” sounds like community managers aren’t genuine, it’s actually a good thing. CMs, after all, want people to find connections in their community. That’s their job. If a community manager can help someone make that connection, they try their hardest to establish it. Wouldn’t you want someone to do that for you?

This means that community managers are consistently watching other communities and community managers and learning from their every move. Where have they made mistakes? What has made them a big success? What are the best tried-and-true methods? When is it a good idea to step outside the box?

Being a community manager is like being in a relationship: they are not easy to maintain, they take a lot of work, and you learn from the past to get better next time. The only way to keep afloat is to constantly learn, make mistakes, reevaluate, and try hard.

What do you think about researching for community managers? If you’re a community manager, do you actively research throughout your day or week? Or is it more passive?

Moderating Is Cool… If You Have Time

Moderating is Anything but Moderate

I quickly discovered that moderating is not easy. The amount of posts that come in every day can quickly get overwhelming, especially if you have other things on your plate. It was difficult to keep up with all the comments that were being left on the page.

By the middle of the week, I realized that I needed to change something about my approach. I set up alerts for the Google+ community on my phone so that I could reply to posts if I was free. If not, I scheduled a time period every day to check back in with the community. One scheduled daily check-in + alerts = success.


Contests Work

Using contests - such as having community members post their Klout score - promotes user-involvement.

Using contests – such as having community members post their Klout score – promotes user-involvement.
Screenshot taken by Zachary J. Prutzman. All rights reserved.

One thing that I discovered while moderating this week is the fact that contests work. Janine McElhone had mentioned on the Google+ community that she used Klout to measure some metrics on her social media pages. I checked out the website myself and found that it was very interesting to see the metrics on your own personal social media sites. It displays the impact that you have on your friends or followers through a variety of graphs and statistics, then sums it all up in a Klout Score.

I thought that visiting this site could be beneficial to everyone in the class, but it is repetitive to keep saying “Hey guys, you should really check out this link.” Since no one had used a contest before, I thought this might be a good way to get people to visit the site and post their score for others to see. By offering a free dinner to the person with the highest Klout Score, I had a plethora of people posting their scores.

But I soon found that the contest turned dry because Janine had posted such a high score. I found a way around this, however; I told the community that I would post an embarrassing photo of myself if 10 people reported their scores. I think that this truly got more people involved in the competition, regardless of their Klout Score. The key wasn’t the score – it was to get people to visit the site and learn something about metrics.


Difficult to Change User Behavior

Changing user behavior is incredibly difficult, no matter who the user is. All rights reserved by homecaregiverstore@gmail.com.

Changing user behavior is incredibly difficult, no matter who the user is.
All rights reserved by homecaregiverstore@gmail.com.

One thing that I noticed throughout the semester thus far is the fact that our class has been using the Google+ community much more than it has been using Twitter. I tried to post some information on Twitter, but it seemed to be going nowhere.

It is very difficult to change user behavior – this is something I have encountered when it comes to application design. Unfortunately, I did not come up with a creative way to get the community to use the Twitter hashtag. I challenge future moderators to achieve this.