My Interview with Community Manager, Katrina Steffensen

At this point in the semester, we have learned quite a few aspects about community managers and what they do. Just as a refresher, some of the things #CMGRclass has touched upon are Blogging, Content Creation, the differences between social media managers and community managers, Twitterverse fails, Search Engine Optimization, and Listening and Planning.

Yet, this week was a bit different from the normal flow of the class. My classmates and I all went on a quest to find a real-life community manager! Who did I interview? I had the pleasure of talking to Ms. Katrina Steffensen, a Channel Manager at VML, one of the world’s top digital marketing agencies. What brand does she manage? It’s one that everyone knows, and that is Gatorade.

Marsh, Jennifer. 24 February 2014. Online Image. Flickr. 07 March 2014.

Marsh, Jennifer. 24 February 2014. Online Image. Flickr. 07 March 2014.

During our interview, there were some main topics I wanted to find out: her responsibilities as a community manager, what the Gatorade online community is like, and why she likes being the Gatorade community manager so much.

1.) Her Community Manager Responsibilities

Ms. Steffensen made it very clear to me what the main responsibility of her job is: to talk to the Gatorade community members each and every day, to make those members feel welcome. How does she do that? She initiates conversations, creates content, and replies to comments on all of the Gatorade channels, which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Google+, andTumblr.

As the main moderator of the community, Ms. Steffensen follows a kind of schedule as to when the content for following weeks is due. In fact, at VML, content is usually created 3-4 weeks in advance! One type of content that has been extremely successful, according to Ms. Steffensen, has been congratulatory messages to community members and their teams. Whenever these posts are distributed, a lot of activity is gauged from the different channels. Why is this so? Probably because huge fans of Gatorade are receiving personal feedback from the brand they love. Basically, Ms. Steffensen is constantly in content creating mode, thinking of matters, subjects, and dialogue that will really connect well with the Gatorade community, which I am going to talk about next.

2.) What the Gatorade Community is Like

Let’s learn some facts and stats about the Gatorade community:

Brasil, Ambrev. 12 July 2011. Online Image. Flickr. 07 March 2014.

Brasil, Ambrev. 12 July 2011. Online Image. Flickr. 07 March 2014.

  • Mostly made up of 13-17 year old athletes
  • Approximately 60% Males, 40% Females
  • Males more vocal on all channels

From the facts above, it makes sense that most of the Gatorade community is made up of young athletes, right? I mean, it is a sports drink. So, therefore, much of the conversations within the community surround Gatorade and SPORTS. For example, the members of the community tend to discuss what their current favorite flavors are, or why they need Gatorade to provide motivation for the athletic performance.

3.) Why Being the Gatorade Community Manager is so Fun

So, working for such a big, successful, and influential brand, like Gatorade, should be really fun, right? I would think so, and Ms. Steffensen definitely agrees.

The best parts about being the community manager for Gatorade? Ms. Steffensen is able to give extra motivation to young athletes everywhere, directly through the channels she manages. Athletes of all sorts tell their cool and amazing stories, whether directly related to the sports drink or not, through the Gatorade channels, and she is able to listen respond to them. By being the Gatorade channel manager, Ms. Steffensen is able to receive instant gratification from the conversations she has with the members of her community. This instant feeling of awesomeness is something that isn’t really achieved in other forms of communicating, especially with an online community.

Cruz, Haleey. 24 December 2010. Online Image. Flickr. 07 March 2014.

Cruz, Haleey. 24 December 2010. Online Image. Flickr. 07 March 2014.

In sum, while I was nervous about this assignment at first, I really enjoyed it and even gained a lot from it. Meeting new people is always nice, especially professionals. And, I must say, getting to talk and get to know Ms. Steffensen was an extreme pleasure. Not only did I have fun interviewing her, but I learned a lot about her job, as a community manager, and I was able to connect many of the lessons from this class to real life (*cue the clicking of the light bulb*).

After this interview, the job of a community manager seemed a lot more appealing than before. Who knows, maybe I could be the person behind a brand, in the future, making more better consumer experiences every day.



1 comment for “My Interview with Community Manager, Katrina Steffensen

  1. Gabrielle Montano
    March 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I find it interesting that the core demographic is male and they have a female community manager! Kudos for Gatorade for not letting gender bias get in the way! I see what you mean about focusing mostly on engagement and forming solid relationships between the company and the community. I imagine a customer getting a response from such a big brand would be exciting and possibly motivating for the those working out!

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