Author Archive for Hannah Nast

An Open Letter to Aspiring Community Managers

So you’ve decided you want to become a Community Manager. Congratulations! In this letter I’m going to talk about two things: you and your community.

Image Courtesy of Pablo Casuriaga.

Let’s start with you, ‘cause, hey, you’re pretty darn awesome. If you want an idea of what a Community Manager’s job is going to be like, read through Erin Bury’s blog post, “Community Manager Job Description, A Definitive Guide.” Bury goes into a lot of detail about what you can expect (content creation, social media marketing, event planning, PR, customer relations, marketing, analytics and business development) and what people who need a CM are looking for. It sounds like a lot, it is, but it’s worth it.

Since we’re starting with you, let’s use Vadim Lavrusik’s blog post, “10 Tips for Aspiring Community Managers” as a jumping off point. I won’t be covering everything he talks about so I highly suggest you check out his full post (there’s also a great bonus section at the end too).

1. Be an Expert, Love your Company and be the Community’s Advocate: Before you start as a Community Manager for a company you should be well-versed in everything they do and you should like the company and product. “Good community managers are ones that are genuine advocates and evangelists for their products and their users.” This also means you should understand where the user is coming from. If it’s hard to connect with them imagine it’s you and you’re giving advice to yourself or to friends or family. Be respectful and give as much information as possible.

2. Be Authentic, Listen and Brush Up on your Communication Skills: The key to being authentic is being you: don’t try to be someone you’re not. For example, I am an enthusiastic person by nature and when I write to people I tend to use exclamation marks a lot and smiley faces. Listening is a very important skill to have, especially when it comes to others. Like being authentic, people will be able to feel comfortable around you and won’t be nervous about sharing feedback. It will help you build relationships is others know you’re willing to hear what they have to say. Effective dialogue is important. The role of a community manager is to connect with others. This also extends to writing, being a good writer will help you when it comes to responding to your community members.

Image Courtesy of Elkokoparrilla.

Let’s skip ahead now. Congratulations, you’ve created a fabulous community and it’s growing! But now you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’re finding yourself checking every email, making sure no one’s fighting and making sure everyone’s okay when you realize: you’ve turned into a parent. You’re running around taking care of everyone but yourself. It’s good to check in with your children and make sure everything’s okay but make sure to let them shine!

So what can you do? You have a fabulous community but you need help. So where do you turn? To your oldest, most outgoing and motivated members, of course! They are the ones who care about this community just as much as you do and who will help you prioritize.

“But wait,” I hear you say, “Hannah, it’s my baby, I don’t want to hand over my responsibilities to others!” Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s okay to delegate responsibilities! No one can run a community all by themselves. It’s okay to ask for help. If you’re unsure where to start, Richard Millington founder of FeverBee has eleven suggestions on how to lighten your load that serve as, “both technical, administrative and personnel-oriented.” I’ve shortened and combined them below (for the full list, click here):

1. Volunteers: Get a hold of some of your best and make them ambassadors for you. (Unsure why you should have some? Click here.) This is will also help you when it comes time to recruiting new volunteers. One activity volunteers can do is greet the newest members.

2. Guidelines: Are people continuing to break guidelines? Maybe it’s time to change them. This is an exercise that works well outside the of Internet too – most of my classes spend the first day talking about class guidelines to make sure we respect each other. This also extends to administrative guidelines, like how to resolve disputes with your company’s best interest (be fair but make sure you don’t promise something you can’t deliver on).

3. Content: Let some of your most trusted community members be in charge of content. If they’re writing for you make sure their name is featured prominently, they’ll feel good about themselves and you’ll have less work to do. Make sure part of that responsibility is going through comments and approving or denying bad posts.

4. Administrative: Create a community email address that your ambassadors have access too that can allow multiple people to access. This way the email load is divided. If you chose to do this make sure there is a system to document which member responded to what issue. Responding to the same person twice or three times is nice, you care, but if it’s five times the member with the issue might get irritated.

5. Acknowledgement: We’ve covered it a little above but here’s something else you can do: if one of your ambassadors excels in an area your company covers, let them try running a program (a forum, Q&As etc.)

Image Courtesy of Enrique Martinez Bermejo.

Yay! You are now one step closer to becoming a community manager! All that remains is for you to go out and try it! It’s a lot of fun and I promise you’ll find it to be rewarding. It’s hard at times but don’t forget to take deep breaths, ask for help when you need it and remember: have fun.

Lots of love,
Hannah

For Community Managers: in the comments below share advice you wish someone had given you and if you’re interested in becoming a community manager tell me know why: were you inspired by something? Have you done something like this before?

5 Important Things to Know About Brand Ambassadors

Image Courtesy of Beth Kanter

As an undergraduate at Syracuse University I served as a Student Ambassador, Peer Advisor, Tour Guide and blogger for my home college (Visual and Performing Arts) and as a Global Ambassador for the SU Abroad Office. I was also approached to be a campus representative for a study abroad blogging site called Students Gone Global. I knew that through all these activities I was serving as an ambassador but that had never occurred to me, before the readings we had this week, was that I could also have been called a brand ambassador.

A brand ambassador is a marketing term referring to someone who promotes services or products for a company or organization. These ambassadors are meant to “be” the company: they are supposed to dress, talk and share the same values and ethics as the people they are representing.

Below is a combination of things I learned while serving as an ambassador and representative and insights from Britt Michaelian’s post, “How to Build a Fierce Loyalty for Your Brand” and Mack Collier’s post, “10 Things to Remember When Creating a Brand Ambassador Program”:

  1. Loyalty: If you treat your community well, people will want to become ambassadors for you. If you treat your ambassadors well they will do anything for you. Example: once I was given the title “Student Ambassador” I stopped complaining about showing up at events at 7AM and leaving after 5PM.
  2. Loyalty and Social Media: Michaelian brought up a really good point: “it is a beautiful thing that we can connect with people from all over the world in an instant on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc., but to meet face to face and connect in person brings the relationship another level. A level of loyalty that simply cannot exist when only online. Example: at the beginning when SGG asked if I wanted to be a campus representative I said “of course!” without really thinking about it because who would know if I wasn’t living up to those duties?
  3. Research: Collier mentions the importance of knowing who the advocates are within your company: researching who’s always commenting, liking, sharing, interacting and asking questions will probably give you a clue as to who you should grab as an ambassador. Another trick would be to mention applications, if the people you’ve been keeping track of take the time and initiative to fill them out, chances are they’re really invested in your company. Example: I wouldn’t say no to any task I was given. No matter how much homework I had or when I had to be at work, if there was a prospective student interested in a tour, I’d volunteer.
  4. Exclusivity: This is very important. Everyone wants to feel like they are important and valued by the people he or she works or volunteers for; but not only that, not everyone in your community would be a good ambassador. Collier sums this up perfectly, you want to weed out the customers that aren’t committed to the brand, or the program. The true advocates for your brand will already be doing much if not all of what you would require of them as members of the program.” This fits perfectly with another point Collier made, that it’s better to have, “10 truly passionate brand advocates than 10,000 members that are merely ‘meh’ toward the brand.”
  5. Acknowledgement: As Collier says, “we all love money, but for a true brand advocate they usually want other things.” Example: During the first year I volunteered for VPA I joked with family that what would perfect is if they started to pay me. Over time I came to realize that going to events was one of the best networking things I could do and it’s because of this that I was asked to be a Student Marshal for graduation.

These are just a handful of things that came to mind while reading about brand ambassadors. What are some other things people should know about ambassadors? Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever been an ambassador for a company and what were some of the pros and cons.

 

Advice about Community Management from Community Managers

#CMGRclass is slowly coming to a close and what better way to spend the third and final panel than to speak with community managers? This week we heard from Cycle for Survival’s Lea Marino, Google Local New York City’s Topher Ziobro, Moz’s Jennifer Lopez and Klout’s Sahana Ullagaddi.

A quick background on the companies and communities discussed:

  • Cycle for Survival is a company that has indoor cycling bikes where you can raise money for cancer projects that need funding, like raising funds for cures for rare cancer types, through peer-to-peer fundraising. (I never learned how to ride a bike so I’ve never been able to raise money that way, but this sounds perfect for me and I’m hoping they come to Upstate New York.)
  • Google Local NY is a Google+ community that encourages people to explore places around the city.
  • Klout is a company that helps you understand and measure your online influence. (I highly recommend using it, it is a lot of fun.)
  • Moz is an SEO marketing company with analytics software to manage all your inbound efforts.

 

Courtesy of David Armano.

Courtesy of David Armano.

 

So how did our panelists get where they are today?

Marino is a 2008 Public Relations graduate from NewHouse (go ‘Cuse!). She moved to NYC right before the hiring freezes and the economy collapsed but she has since discovered a career path that she is happy with. She wears many hats and works with email marketing, and social media. She also shared a good piece of advice when it comes to internships: you might not always like the internship you’re doing but doing it will help you figure out what you do and do not like so you’re better prepared to search for jobs.

Ziobro started out as a member of the Google+ community he now manages and so he has unique insight into what community memebers want and what a community manager should do. As he says, he gets to “do community in the trusest sense of the word.”

Ullagaddi studied Economics, with a specialisation in International Development, with an original career track to be a Management Consultant. She found herself drawn to careers that would allow her to work and interact with people, “I’m passionate about people, I love people and I wanted a way to interact with people,” so she moved from NYC to San Francisco in order to intern at her mentor’s start-up company.

Lopez has a degree in Journalism and focused on Public Relations. She loves doing web related work, developing and writing code and she also loves speaking in front of people. She came across the world of SEO and became a consultant for Moz. She says that her background in Public Relations has been incredibly helpful, especially when it came to crisis management. She describes Moz as, “everything I love combined into one place.”

Below is a list I put together from a question Kelly Lux, one of our professors and moderators, asked of our panel. Lux wanted to know what traits or skills our panelists thought were the most helpful for a community manager to posses or what they would look for if they were to hire someone:

  • Someone who was able to figure out what to do next, someone who can make stuff happen and someone who can think on their feet. (Lopez)
  • Empathy. It’s not something you can be taught but when it comes to social media or emailing someone you want someone who can has the ability to connect with people; to make sure what you’re saying can be easily read and interpretted. “You read emails how you percieve them to be written, rather than how they were meant to be sent.” (Marino)
  • A hunger to learn. You won’t know anything when you first start out and being excited to learn something new and the ability to recieve feedback, ability to speak up and share your opinions will go far. (Ullagaddi)
  • Be perceptive. Empathy is really important in order to have people open up to you, you need to make them feel comfortable. (Ullagaddi)
  • Energy. How you display it and how you manage it. It shows how interested in something you are and there will be times when you’re going to have to put in a long night. Build reserves so you can tackle a task at anytime of day. (Ziobro)
  • Time management. It’s important to plan things out so you don’t drain yourself. (Ziobro)

 ***

If you are a community manager reading this list, what would you add? Or, do is there something you would take off? Why?

Also: if you’re a student interested in being a community manager but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, consider taking #CMGRclass in the spring 2014 semester.

3 Ways to Avoid Annoying, Offending or Alienating Your Online Community

This week’s topic for class was “Listening and Planning” and it got me thinking; we’ve talked about ways to grow your community and ways to interact with them but what are some basic do nots when it comes to maintaining an online community?

1) To delete or not to delete, that is the question.

Image Courtesy of Search Engine People Blog.

Deleting tweets is something politicians and celebrities have gotten in the habit of doing recently. While I completely understand wanting to delete an ill-advised or offensive tweet, others would highly suggest you didn’t.

Over the summer Andy Beal, author of “When should you delete that tweet?” put together three handy lists one can use to see if the deletion of a tweet is a good idea:

Probably Not:

  • Typos show your human, it’s okay to leave them
  • If different team members tweet the same thing, it shows you care

Probably Should:

  • Duplicate tweets, don’t clog up the newsfeed
  • Tweeted something to the wrong account, tweeted something on work that should have gone to personal (this one is a constant fear of mine because I have my phone set up so I can shift between the two easily)

Absolutely Should:

  • Account was hacked, explain and move on
  • An employee tweeted something without permission, delete and if it gained a lot of attention address it and move on

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen however comes from Thompson Reuters as part of their Twitter Guidelines for their journalists, “If a tweet is wrong don’t delete but correct it with a new tweet that begins CORRECTED:

2) Favoring your community over others.

Patrick’s article, “Do Your Community’s User Guidelines Only Protect People You Like?” does a good job of explaining what that entails by asking the question, “do they [your community guidelines] apply to people your community doesn’t like, just like they apply to your members?”

Patrick explains that most communities have guidelines that deal with respect, no personal attacks or disrespectful comments, but sometimes those guidelines start and end with the community members. He gives the example, “I can’t call a member of your community stupid. But, I can call a celebrity or politician stupid.”

Patrick stresses that as a community manager when you say that no disrespectful comments will be tolerated you follow up on that. He follows this statement up by acknowledging that this,

“Puts me in the position of protecting people who I don’t like or even who I regard as terrible, awful human beings…But my belief is that we should be able to discuss any topic (that is appropriate for our community) in a productive, reasonable way. You can dislike what someone does, you can criticize their actions, you can disagree with them – without calling them names, without inflammatory language, without personal attacks. That is the level of discourse I aim for.”

3) Like us, Like us, Like us!

This is what you sound like.

Deb Neg, author of “How to Annoy Your Community and Ruin Your Brand’s Reputation in the Process,” prefers to go the “least annoying, least invasive, [and] most respectful” route possible when spreading knowledge about a company. For example, she refuses to direct message someone via Facebook or Twitter. (“Here’s when it’s ok to auto spam all the people who follow you on Twitter to ask them to Like your Facebook page: NEVER.”)

She points to an article from Assist Social Media by Elizabeth Maness, “One Cool Trick to Get Facebook Likes that We Love,” as a collection of things NOT to do to earn likes. One example being DM (direct messaging) a person on Twitter and sharing your brand’s Facebook URL and asking the person to like it for you by offering to like the person’s page back.

Instead, Ng suggests alternative ways to “earn” Facebook likes:

  • Share content people are interested in. Make your page interesting, informative and entertaining. Have them coming back for more.
  • It’s fine to publically ask them to find you on Facebook if they’re interested in getting more updates.
  • Show your community members where they can find you (“follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more updates!”)

These are just some of the no-no’s I’ve come across when it comes to managing an online community. Can you think of any others? In the comments below either share a story of something you came across in dealing with a company or a trend you’ve noticed happening.

Building a Community: A Fandom’s Fanatic Fans

Phew. Try saying that three times fast!

There are few things in life I love more than my TV shows. But nowadays what I love more than fangirling over the latest episode are those rare but beautiful moments when my shows interact with each other.

The writers from "Elementary" take on "Sleepy Hollow."

The writers from “Elementary” take on “Sleepy Hollow.”

I’ve mentioned it a few times in another blog post but the use of social media, specifically Tumblr and Twitter, is a great way for TV shows to interact with their fans. (Hint: watch the tags on Tumblr. They’re hilarious.)

The "Hannibal" SMM having too much fun.

The “Hannibal” SMM having too much fun.

I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking, “but Hannah, what does this have to do with building a community?” Excellent question, dear reader! Let me back up a minute and explain.

According to Dino Dogan, author of “How to Build a Community of Fanatics” there are six steps for how one should build a community:

  1. Intention: “You can’t spark a community by wanting to spark a community no more than you could start a fire by wanting to start a fire.” Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your community. Take your time.
  2. Know Your Audience: “I’m a blogger solving my own problem.” Do what you would like done (solving problems, making connections, etc.)
  3. Be a Human: “No one wants to interact with a brand, a logo, a picture of your dog, a cartoon, or worse. Communities are people.” Treat your community as people and they will become loyal.
  4. Customer Service: “People don’t want to be lectured at…They don’t want to be treated like a task on your list.” See #3.
  5. Have Fun: “Your community should have fun participating in that community.” What do you wish your favorite community would do? Do it for the community you manage.
  6. Positioning: “Positioning is shorthand. It’s an easy and quick way for me to figure out what you are or are not.” Make it clear what you are what you’re not.

(Each section has good parts that I left out, so I highly encourage you read through Dogan’s post.)

"Dracula" versus "Hannibal" - the Smirk Off.

“Dracula” versus “Hannibal” – the Smirk Off.

So now you must be thinking, “but Hannah, what does Dogan’s post have to do with your favorite TV shows?” You ask really good questions, dear reader. Let me explain using Dogan’s six steps:

  1. Intention: This one is a little difficult. Yes, the CM and SM teams set out to create a community but they might not have envisioned what it is today. One popular post and it snowballs from there.
  2. Know Your Audience: The writers of Supernatural are probably the first group to do this perfectly. They took a joke between fans, affectionately calling Jared Padalecki a moose, and wrote it into the show. Not only that, every time Padalecki sees something with a moose on it, he takes a picture with it. Exhibit A, B and C.
  3. Be a Human: Having the people behind your favorite TV show interact with another TV show, even one you may or may not like, is not only funny and adorable – it’s good for everyone involved. The watchers of the two shows see it and laugh about how cool their groups are, people who only know one of the shows are more likely to investigate why their TV show is interacting with the other and the people behind the interactions get to have fun and show their human side. It also will get fans to feel safe with you and you’re more likely to get UGC from them if they feel they will be appreciated (speaking of which, Elementary has it’s own tab for fanart).
  4. Customer Service: When it comes to TV shows, there probably aren’t a lot of customer service options that will come up. If anything it’ll be the SM teams answering basic questions: when will the new episode air, where can I catch a re-run etc.
  5. Have fun: This ties in with knowing your audience and being a human. Everyone wants to have fun. People love seeing their favorite things interacting with another of their favorite things. Help make it happen and I can guarantee you that it will win you loyalty and fans.
  6. Positioning: Like Intention, this one is a little more difficult. I guess one could argue that it’s kind of like the disclaimers at the beginning of a DVD that reads, “the views expressed in the following interviews are those of x and have nothing to do with y.” Let your community know what you are and what you’re not.

I hope this helps you think of fun things to do with a community and possibly ways you can make your community better. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite TV show is and if you’ve seen them do anything fun through social media.

I took screenshots of the images above but if you’re interested in following the writers from Elementary, Sleepy Hollow, Hannibal and/or Dracula on Twitter click on their names. To follow them on Tumblr click here, here, here and/or here. To see more photos from the Elementary v Sleepy Hollow writer “feud” click here. To view the Smirk-Off exchange, click here (in the time it took me to write this blog post, another of my favorite TV shows, The Blacklist, joined the Smirk Off).

Vanessa DiMauro: Where a CEO and Role Model Combine

Vanessa DiMauro. *queue Ghostbusters theme music*

Vanessa DiMauro has over fifteen years experience in managing communities, is a researcher, speaker and author with her work published in the New York Times, the Wallstreet Journal and CIO Magazine AND is the CEO of Leader Networks. While she no longer runs communities herself, if you are a large or small business and are interested in creating an online community where your suppliers, partners and employees can interact, you call Vanessa.

Still not convinced? In 2006 Vanessa founded her own company, Leader Networks, which is the “leading authority on B2B social business strategy and B2B online communities.” As both a research and consulting group, Leader Networks focuses on helping organizations “build deeper B2B relationships with key stakeholders.” They help companies with the strategic use and deployment of online social tools and techniques, including developing innovative ways to listen to, learn about, interact with and build trust across a wide range of constituencies, including prospective or current customers, supporters, partners and employees through B2B online communities and social business initiatives.

What’s B2B you ask? Excellent question! B2B, also known as Business to Business, is a marketing term meaning a transaction between a companies. For example: manufacture to wholesaler or a wholesaler to a retailer. Contrasting terms are B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2G (Business to Government).

Through talking to Vanessa I learned that there will always be more B2Bs than B2Cs. This is because there will be more transactions involving sub-components or raw materials from business to business and only one transaction from business to consumer for the finished product. For example creating a car: there will be B2B for the tires, windows, rubber hoses etc. versus the one B2C when the dealership sells the car to a consumer.

I was first introduced to Vanessa through class when her article, “Social Media Manager vs. Online Community Manager: Same or Different,” was one of the articles we read for our unit on differentiating between Community Managers and Social Media Managers. It was very much a fangirl moment for me when I got a chance to Skype with her, not only because I had enjoyed her article but because she is a successful business woman in a typically male dominated industry and she is good at her job. If you ever find yourself in the position of needing a B2B online community created, give Vanessa a call or connect with her on Twitter.

Thank you Tumblr and Universal Pictures for accurately depicting what was going on in my head.

Fun fact about the interview: I panicked for an hour before I Skyped her. I’m not in the habit of speaking to CEOs and I was nervous I would forget everything we had learned so far in the semester but within the first two minutes of speaking to Vanessa she had me laughing and by the end of our conversation she had me inspired to go out and create and manage my own community.

If you’re a community manager who’s slowly burning out and in desperate need of inspiration, talk to Vanessa. Ten minutes with her and you feel like you can take over the world.

Crisis Management and Social Media

Last week’s #CMGRclass panel was on Social Media and featured Morgan Johnston from JetBlue, David Yarus from MRY and Nick Cicero from LiveFyre as guests.

This panel was the second of three panels with the first on Online Content. One of the things that I thought worked better this time than the first time was that the guests interacted with each other outside of answering questions and jumping off one each other’s comments. The panel felt like more of a conversation between friends and colleagues than a Q&A; which allowed for a less formal atmosphere and yielded some interesting stories.

My favourite topic of conversation for the evening came towards the end of the night when Jenn asked them about crisis management. Jenn suggested they share an example of an “ultimate crisis” or how they were able to avoid one.

crisis management

Crisis Management courtesy of Kevin Krejci.

Yarus had an interesting perspective on crisis management, he works with “communities of influencers,” and the crises he handles are different than those of Johnston at JetBlue but one of the things I took away from his discussion on crisis management was the way he described the way he likes to handle them:

“We’re all people on this side of the screen and on that side of the screen, and I really try to influence that way within my team.”

The example of a “crisis” Yarus gave was when students began tweeting about a brand and the response was that the client didn’t want them and didn’t approved of them. Yarus then goes into a discussion on how easy it was for him to get in contact with the posters by texting them, explaining the situation and the tweets disappearing:

“We’re all people. I think we need to break down the barrier of ‘you need to send a formal email’ or send a formal letter, like, no, text them. That’s how I would want to be contacted…treat people as they are and I think you’ll get real results.”

Johnston had a much different take on crisis management and how social media is roped into an emergency response plan because it’s usually the “first indicator of an event or accident.” He hared a story of how he spent one Tuesday afternoon when he discovered a tweet from a customer describing how one of the flight attendants cursed out the whole plane and quit on the spot. He described that the crisis was handled by saying, roughly, “look, we know you’re interested, here’s what we can and can not tell you and here’s why we can’t tell you.” Like Yarus’ response to a crisis, I thought this was handled well – this acknowledges a problem, addresses it and shares as much information as possible so it doesn’t keep curious people in the dark.

Cicero had another interesting story to tell of how he was working with a company that had Subway as a client when they announced that Michael Vick had won Sportsman of the Year, shortly after leaving jail. Cicero describes receiving a “flood of negative comments all over the Facebook page, nonstop” and says the comments continued for month or two after the event. Cicero describes that the way the management team handled the crisis was to delete any posts that violated the rules and told his team not to respond to anything, that the PR team would handle everything.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve heard of any crises taking place in a company that you think was handled well or could have been handled better.

Why are Social Media Metrics Important to Community Management?

Image courtesy of Gaurav Mishra.

“Keeping up with new social media and analytics buzzwords, learning what they all mean, and understanding their importance can easily become overwhelming.”
– Adam Schoenfeld

Hands down, the best blog post to read about the importance of social media metrics is Adam Schoenfeld’s, “Beyond the Buzz: 41 Social Media Metrics Defined.” Schoenfeld makes a complicated subject easy to understand by defining and dividing the forty-one social media metrics into nine different categories, explaining the importance of each and then dividing those categories into two and four subcategories where he goes into greater detail.

Below is a condensed version with my thoughts in italics:

  • Audience Metrics: the people who choose to join the social media community and each community has it’s own lingo (Example: Facebook has fans or likes while Twitter has followers)
  • Social Listening & Monitoring: identifying opportunities to engage with your audience and monitoring the perceptions of your brand or company through multiple social media platforms (Example: the people behind the “Hannibal” Tumblr page – by far the best interaction I’ve seen between company and fanbase)
  • Engagement Metrics: knowing the different types of engagement can help you understand how effective your interactions with the community will be (Example: you’re more likely to get UGC from Tumblr than from Facebook)
  • Content Performance: tracking and analyzing content to discover what causes some content to succeed and other content to fail (Example: how many likes, reblogs or favorites do you get on different social media platforms)
  • Total Exposure Metrics & Social Graph: the size of the primary audience and the relationship between the community and brand (Example: how many followers do you have and how receptive are they to you?)
  • Customer Service: important aspect to have in order to build a strong community (Example: how fast do you respond to a question? From the perspective of the community, are you doing all you can?)
  • Demographics: knowing different ways or social media platforms to engage with your audience (Example: Tumblr holds a different community base than Facebook. Tumblr will get you UGC and analysis whereas Facebook is more likely to share/spread knowledge of your brand or company)
  • Competitive Analysis: monitor and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns against the competition (Example: what are people saying on Twitter? How is the response on Facebook?)
  • Additional Key Phrases: other important buzzwords that also happen to be some of Schoenfeld’s favorites
Image courtesy of Gaurav Mishra.

Image courtesy of Gaurav Mishra.

While I was reading Schoenfeld’s article I kept thinking of the social media team behind NBC’s Hannibal and that whoever is in charge of their accounts, specifically Tumblr, knows the perfect way to interact* with their audience. Based on Schoenfeld’s post, the community manager behind the Tumblr page is clearly aware of seven of the eight metric categories. As for the eighth, their team must be aware of what the competition is doing but so far the only real competition I see them having is with another NBC show, “The Blacklist.”

Schoenfeld recommends Simply Measured as a way to track and analyze the metrics of your social media platforms, the only downside being that it costs money. However, through a class discussion we were exposed to Klout, a free way to see how a person or community ranks. It’s really user-friendly and it generates a graph based on your influence on social media.

Let me know in the comments below if you use Klout and what your number is or if you find another site that works just as well. Have fun!

*Over the summer, Photoshopping flower crowns onto your favorite character’s heads was all the rage on Tumblr. In less than a month the people behind NBC’s Hannibal page had found ways to get the actors to wear flower crowns behind the scenes and at events. They were clearly following the trends in the site and made themselves topical. As someone who follows them and other companies, their willingness to “play along” with their fans, made their fanbase not only get closer and stronger but grow as well.

Community Managers and Social Media Managers: Same Thing, Right?

Wrong.

But, to be fair they are easy to confuse. They share similar jobs but the extent to which a manager does them is what separates the two.

Image Courtesy of David Feng.

In the Community Roundtable’s blog post titled, “Differentiating Between Social Media and Community Management,” they explain that, everyone is a community manager…everyone has a group of constituents which could be cultivated to drive better performance” and that, “communities and social media are good for different types of business outcomes.” In the post they use bullet points to explain the differences between a Community Manager (CM) and Social Media Manager (SMM):

A Community Manager:

  • Welcomes members to the community
  • Moderates discussions

Social Media Manager:

  • Creates content: blogging, vlogging, podcasts – all with the hope stimulating a conversation
  • Manages SM tools (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.)

However Deb Ng, author of “5 Things Community Management Isn’t & 5 Things a Community Manager IS states that one of the five things a CM is, is a content creator. Confusing, right? Ng claims that, “what we post on the social networks is also considered content and we take great care in crafting these messages.” Funnily enough, Ng begins her blog post by saying, “though the community manager role continues to evolve, there’s still confusion as to what an online community manager does.”

According to Ng, a CM is someone who:

  • Is the voice and face of the brand; someone who will answer your questions and make sure you are connected to the right person.
  • Is a strategist; someone who carefully weighs their words and actions and makes sure that, “even the simplest of actions are planned out.”
  • Is a content creator (see above)
  • Is a numbers cruncher; they spend a lot of time looking at numbers, researching demographics, who’s interacting with you through what method or platform and how is the community reacting to your campaign.
  • Is a communicator; someone who knows how to talk and write and can do it well.

Image Courtesy of brandpilgrim.

Vanessa DiMauro, author of “Social Media Manager vs. Online Community Manager: Same or Different” initially says, “social media managers bring the guests to the table and community managers welcome them” but eventually turns to Blaise Grimes-Viort, a colleague, who she quotes as saying that community managers are in charge of customer relationships with the brand or product while social media managers are in charge of brand recognition and the reputation outside of the site.

DiMauro later includes a chart showing the different roles of a SMM and CM. Speaking as someone who once thought her job was to be a CM, I’m a SMM, this is one of the best charts to help explain the difference between CM and SMM:

Community Manager:

  • Customer retention and satisfaction
  • Improve customers’ ability to get help from each other

Social Media Manager:

  • Raise awareness of products or services
  • Visibility of company, products or services

DiMauro then includes a role that both CM and SMM share: event attendance. She claims SMMs take to public channels while CMs take to community channels. It’s a very interesting article and I highly recommend reading it. DiMauro also talks about Business to Business (or B2B).

Another good article to read that I didn’t talk about is called, “You may not actually be a Community Manager – and that’s ok” by Justin Isaf. In his blog post he talks about the difference between CM and SMM. Here’s a little taste of what says: “Social Media – people talking with the brand. Community Management – people talking with each other.”

So what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below what you think the differences are between CM and SMM. Are there any or are they slowly combining?

Highlights from an Online Content Panel

Image Courtesy of Richard Stephenson.

Last week our #CMGRclass had a chance to remotely sit down and chat with Ally Greer and Sean Keeley, Community Managers from Scoop.it and Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. The last four weeks of content had been building to this moment: we were going to be able to see everything we had been reading and writing on transfer into the “real world.”

“I have a unique story on how I got into Community Management…”

I’m always curious about how people get their jobs. I love hearing people’s stories and I love seeing their faces light up when they talk about how connecting with one person led them to discover “X” which is why they’re at “Y” and how they’re hoping to accomplish “Z.” What I liked the most about Ally Greer’s story is how she started it, “I have a unique story.” Greer explained that while she was studying abroad in Paris she did an internship at Scoop.it where she assisted them by giving them her “American viewpoint.” After graduating college she was asked to join their team in San Francisco and has been working for them for the last year and a half. Greer says that she spends her days looking through blog posts, investigating how other Community Managers operate and “learning through observing.”

“I was looking for a reason to write every day…”

Like with Greer’s story, I was curious to learn more about what drove Keeley. Why did he start a blog, why is it about sports – is there a reason it’s about sports? Keeley explained that he wasn’t “particularly into sports writing” but decided to start a blog that would allow him to write whatever he wanted to write about. And that is how Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician was created. He jokes that “as a name it doesn’t make sense” but that the blog started out as a hobby in 2005 and now in 2013, almost 2014, he says that it’s pretty much the main thing he works on every day. He explained that the site is not how he supports himself financially but that everything that has come after the site is what has allowed him to pay the bills.

It was really interesting to see how two Community Managers approach the same job differently. Greer was thrust into it not really sure of what to do or how to go about running things and now she helps maintain their social media and is in charge of the ambassadors. Keeley originally wanted something to do that would allow him to write every day and didn’t think too much about what others wanted to read – he focused on what interested him. Hearing that reminded me of an earlier reading in the semester where we learned that one of the ways to have a successful blog or single posting is to make sure you are interested in what you are talking about.

Listening to their stories made me consider where I would like to go with the work I’m doing as Production Coordinator for SU Arts Engage. Part of my job is maintaining a presence on social media, Twitter and Facebook more than anything else, and we’re always looking to grow our audience. Every event we do we have a hashtag that we monitor and we ask for feedback and a like on our Facebook page if they liked what they saw. At the same time as wanting our audience to grow, I’m reminded of something Greer said, “just because you have 100,000 users doesn’t necessarily mean you have 100,000 users.” Find the core group of interested members of your organization and hold on to them tightly – because they are going to be the ones to get others interested.