A Panel Discussion with Community Managers

On April 7, 2014, our class had the opportunity to conduct a Google Hangout with four individuals who are established Community Managers in their respective organizations. The Google Hangout consisted of Alexandra Dao from Vimeo, Tracey Churray from Foursquare, Gavin O’Hara from Lenovo, and Caira Conner from PolicyMic. Each person shared their personal story as to how they started as community managers and shared advice on how to establish and build a community.

lenovo-logo-1432All About Connection
Gavin started off as the second person of Lenovo’s social media team four years ago. He currently manages social media content and focuses on moderating the company’s global Facebook page. One thing that Gavin pointed out was that sometimes, Community Managers Spend more time reacting to social media issues rather than being proactive and conducting more check points with users. He stated that “small gesture go a long ways” and that community managers should connect more with users. Gavin also discussed how he often connected with users by sending messages or participating in conversations within the community.

Weekend CelebrationsVimeo logo
Alex focuses on User and Community engagement as well as support at Vimeo. She discussed how she would like to interact more with users and find creative ways to encourage users to be more involved within the communities. For example, Alex’s team hosts “Weekend Challenges” with different themes that encourage users to interact and celebrate various things.

PolicyMic LogoSmart and Sharp
At Policy Mic, Caira currently focuses on building a community of rising journalists. Recently, PolicyMic shifted their areas of focus and is now trying to reach a larger community where the company’s content is “Smart and Sharp” and can be shared amongst various demographics. As the company has changed, Caira is promoting loyalty within the community by building on strategic partnerships and networks.

Super Usersfoursquare_logo
Tracey manages the entire community of users at Foursquare and ensures that content is properly managed.  Recently Foursquare launched a forum for “Super Users” that focuses on product direction and feedback within the community. The “Super Users” assist the company by providing ideas and different perspectives related to various topics. Tracey explained her support for Brand Ambassadors and how it is important to incorporate users and have users test and explore new ideas first.

At the end of the panel, it was clear to see that each Community Manager played a different role in their company although the positions were similar. One thing stands true- interacting with users within the community will always be essential for the community to succeed. Positive and personal interactions will always help strengthen a community.

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