During the week of February 24 through March 2, I acted as the moderator for the #CMGRClass’ Google+ Community, as well as the class twitter account. Throughout this time, I learned many valuable lesson, but also had a lot of fun! The main theme of the week was SEO & inbound Marketing, and although I didn’t really have much experience in this topic, or moderating nonetheless, I jumped right in!
Before beginning my week as the CMGRclass moderator, I decided to research the roles and responsibilities of a community manager. I looked to one of our class books Buzzing Communities, written by Richard Millington, and found that it is important to always encourage participation by directly or indirectly stimulating and sustaining activity within the community.
I also looked to the experts to see how they manage communities much larger than the one I would be working with. The Huffington Post handles 70+ million comments a year without collapsing, so I made the executive decision to look to them as an expert in the field. One of the main points this established company made was to create “a safe, enjoyable space, and help people find content that is relevant to them.” I tried to apply this motto to my week as a moderator for the CMGRclass community.
One of my top priorities for the week was to contribute appropriate and meaningful content. I tried to post a timely, relevant, or just fun news article every day in order to spur conversation. After seeing some of my fellow classmates do their parts as moderators for previous weeks, I thought I had an idea of what kind of content to post. I started off by jumping off the topic of SEO, and shared with the class the article 20 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools You Should be Using. Many students shared what tools they use currently for managing different social accounts, as well as what they hope to try out in the future.
As well, early in the week I posted an article that focused on the similarities between design and community. I was shocked to get such a thought out response to this article by an alumnae of the class, Steve Rhinehart. Although many other classmates did not respond to this post, I think the thoughtfulness of Steve’s response made me feel like this post was successful.
One of my favorite moments from the week was the conversation around the change in tagline from “Got Milk” to “Milk Life.” Although this did not directly relate to the topic of the week, we are always discussing brands, and I thought this was a big change for an iconic brand. I liked that my classmates shared their opinions and then even offered a solution for the brand to evolve without alienating their current market. I think this exemplified how a community can work together to solve problems.
During the week, I also started tweeting from the #CMGRclass twitter handle. During this time I tried to share our internal conversation with the online world by using hashtags to attract those with similar interests. During this time the account gained new followers, and one classmate interacted by retweeting and responding to tweets.
At the end of the week, I handed the moderation position over to Elaina Powless, and am excited to see how she leads the discussion within the #CMGRClass community.
My Community Participants
I was so appreciative of all the contributors I had throughout my week as moderator. Many people put in the time and effort to create thoughtful responses to my posts, as well as contribute their own posts to really enhance the community discussion throughout the week.
During this process I learned significant lessons about being a community manager, as well as talking to a community of people in general.
- Community Managers do not get enough credit. I felt myself constantly thinking about what my next post should be, and if people will find it interesting enough to start a conversation about. This makes community management much more than a typical 9-5 job.
- Relevant content is key. As a writer for InfoSpace, we operate off the basis write what your friends are talking about, as this is what is popular among many groups of friends, as well as what is being searched on the web. I learned that the same principle applied to my time as a community manager, but with a much fast turnover. The posts that seemed to entice many participants were events that were getting a lot of buzz offline as well.
- Patience is a virtue. Moderating takes patience; patience to find the best content to post, patience for others to see it, and patience for others to respond and even post their own content branching off the topic. I learned to have patience in the process, and that was a hard lesson to learn.
- “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Not everything I posted to the community stirred up an intense conversation, but that’s okay. If a post didn’t seem to be appealing I would switch to an opposing topic because forcing responses does not create a successful community. I wanted to get to a place where people wanted to respond and thus their responses would be more personal.
What’s Left to Say?
After the whole week, I am still left with a question. I know all communities are not the same, so how do you interact with your community? What are some of the most popular posts? Who are the most active contributors? Let me know in the comments below!