Tag Archive for Ally Greer

Learning from Community Manager Pros

Last week’s Online Content Panel Google+ Hangout was probably my favorite class session to date. Having professionals from the community manager community dialogue with our class provided for unique insight that I have not gotten from anywhere else. The two speakers during this hangout were Ally Greer (@allygreer), the community manager at Scoop.it, and Sean Keely (@NunesMagician), the founder of the popular Syracuse sports blog, “Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.”

Countdowns are a great way to keep your audience curious and engaged.

Countdowns are a great way to keep your audience curious and engaged.

Although she hardly touched on it, I loved that Ally got her start with Scoop.it as an intern during her study abroad semester in Paris, France. I also studied abroad in Paris, which has an underrated tech and social scene. Not only does this excite me because of my own dreams to one day move back to Paris, but proves how global content management companies are and how community management work can be done anywhere in the world. Aside from her international experience, what I found most helpful from Ally was her discussion of “learning on the job.” There is only so much you can learn from a classroom. No matter how much preparation is involved, so much of being a community manager is being able to respond to scenarios in the moment and deal with problems as they come. Ally is a true example of this mentality, and it is things like #CMGRClass that provide tools that would be helpful in such scenarios.

Sean Keely's Twitter feed, where he is highly engaged with his audience and often uses as a source for new content.

Sean Keely’s Twitter feed, where he is highly engaged with his audience and often uses as a source for new content.

I found Sean’s story to be rather unique. Unlike Ally, he first (unknowingly) created a following, just by writing what he loved. It was only after the blog’s reach grew that he saw there was community to be managed. I find this “reverse” way of getting involved with community management to be very unique and thus, speaks to the niche nature of Sean’s audience. Sean capitalizes on this uniqueness by generating content through his fans — incorporating their content as guest posts, picking up on trending topics through comments and social media, etc. Sean’s method shows how community management does not have to be intimidating or overwhelming. For smaller brands, community management is rather simple and does not even require a ton of tools or resources (which may be the case for larger, more corporate brands).

Thanks Ally and Sean for chatting with us!

 

 

Community Management According to Community Managers

Though we’ve certainly touched on and learned the basics of community management in the last several weeks, it was unquestionably more enriching to have Ally Greer and Sean Keely speak to our class and address what had otherwise been a concept confined in our readings. Hearing their experiences with community management helped contextualize everything else we’d learned this unit.

Takeaways from hearing Ally Greer speak:

Ally mentioned that, prior to being hired, she didn’t even know what being a community manager meant. She said that she had to discover and learn her responsibilities on-the-job, specifically by looking at other bloggers and community managers for guidance. The nature of the Internet lends itself to that kind of self-teaching, given that everything moves so much faster on the Web; the best people to learn from are your contemporaries and competitors.

One of the more interesting points that Ally made was that being a user of a product doesn’t automatically make one a member of that community. Through her work for Scoop.it, she had an easier head start with building a community, mainly in that she already had a built-in community to start with. Her plan to turn the top percentage of their users into “ambassador communities” definitely helped jump-start the process, all the while making her community members feel instantly included.

Takeaways from hearing Sean Keely speak:

I thought it was interesting that Sean had to start his blog first—and then go back and manage his community. He had a chance to really establish his voice first, which must have helped with going back and deciding what sort of tone to take on with his community. Compared to Ally, Sean had to build his community from the ground up, starting first with himself and then drawing people in with content that had to be niche enough to draw that kind of audience, but engaging enough to keep people there.

I find Sean’s tactic of incorporating “fan posts” onto the blog a smart move. It’s a low-risk strategy to get content on his site, providing everyday users with an outlet for writing where their visibility is in their hands. At the same time, it’s a smart means of finding new blood and bringing new staff writers to his blog. It builds his brand both ways.

Altogether, participating in the panel helped me understand what community management really entails and how to apply it in a real-world context.

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.

Tips from the Pros: Community Management

In class last week, our community management class was fortunate enough to speak to Sean Keeley and Ally Greer, the founder of NunesMagician.com and Community Manager of Scoop.it (respectively). Each professional brought up interesting points as they shared experiences from their lives in social media and blogging. Throughout the hour long discussion, each person brought up important lessons for students to internalize.

50% Proactive, 50% Reactive

Ally Greer commented that community management was 50% proactive and 50% reactive. Although I understood prior to her comment that community management was more than just managing, it didn’t strike me that community management really had to be a balance between managing conversation and allowing them to happen organically. I thought it was important that she reminded the class of the balance a community manager needs to maintain in order to have a thriving, yet natural community. This also reminded me of what was talked about in class, which is to moderate a conversation, not dominate it. It was interesting to hear people apply the lessons learned in class to their own experiences, and phrase these lessons in words that applied specifically to their communities.

Sean Keeley talks to #cmgrclass via Google Plus.

Sean Keeley talks to #cmgrclass via Google Plus.

Write For Yourself 

When asked if Sean Keeley writes towards a particular demographic (perhaps a 25 year old Syracuse male), he replied by saying that he writes for himself. Although this comment at first seemed self-serving, it soon seemed like that was the only acceptable answer. While every blog may have a typical member, it is important that one’s own interests and passions are satisfied when writing. As discussed later in the Google Plus group, how can one run a successful blog if their own interests aren’t taken into consideration? Sean’s unique answer certainly gave all bloggers and class members an opportunity to think about why someone may want to initially start a blog.

People Need To Know What They Want

Although both bloggers/community managers have had different experiences, they can both agree that people need to know what they want. Based on Ally Greer’s experiences, she specifically mentions how users may not know what they want from a service until the option is offered to them. For Sean Keeley, offering news about different sports may not be something that users knew they wanted until the news was on the website. Regardless of the type of field one is blogging about, it’s important to give users options and allow them to figure out what they want for themselves.

What do you think about these points? Is there anything you’d like to add or disagree with? Let us know in the comments below! 

Creating and Curating Content with Ally Greer and Sean Keeley

CMGRclass had the opportunity to hang out (okay, Google+ Hangout) with Ally Greer, community manager at Scoop.it, and Sean Keeley, creator and blogger at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

Ally and Sean were a great choice for this stage of our class. We’ve covered community management through the lens of SEO, engagement, blogging, and user generated content (UGC) – great topics for them to cover.

Throughout the hangout, the biggest similarity between Ally and Sean’s job is the way they rely on content created by people other than themselves.

Using UGC is a common practice, and Ally and Sean use the idea in different but effective ways. Ally’s brand relies on UGC, and the interactive nature of Sean’s community breeds strong opinions – it’s clear they’ve easily determined that UGC is right for them.

"You can give context and meaning to further engage your audience." - Ally Greer

Scoop.it’s entire platform is built around the idea that people can find what interests them, add their insights, and publish. The nature of scoop.it is user-driven, and new content is created every day by users. Day to day, Ally combs through the content and looks for the best posts and writers.

Ally also strongly focuses on creating lean content, or, content that makes a big impact with few resources. Like Ally said during our hangout: creating content takes a lot of time. Lean content means Ally can repurpose content and help her users learn from Scoop.it content better and faster.

Meanwhile, Sean uses similar tactics in a different strategy. Sean writes for his blog because he loves to, but he still wants to curate additional content. In order to do so, he’s created a fan section of his blog where fans can write and publish their own content.

"Most people are writing because it's something fun to do." - Sean Keeley

Although Sean doesn’t run a platform like Scoop.it, he’s created a section of his blog where readers can contribute. Through this fanpost section, he’s able to find good writers that match the style of his blog. In some cases, fan blogs will be posted to the main blog, and in rare cases, consistently good fan contributors can become regular main blog contributors.

Both Ally and Sean create content, but in order to better use their time and take advantage of quality writers, they had to become skilled content curators as well.

In the CMGRclass G+ community, we’ve debated the best ways to do UGC. Some communities have depended on or currently depend on UGC with varying degrees of success – like Bleacher Report or Reddit. I’ve seen UGC increasingly become a part of other blogs – the Gawker Media blogs use Kinja to generate and help curate content from users.

It seems as though the successful blogs that use UGC are one of three things:

  1. The blog is the platform, and the best rise to the top (like Scoop.it or Reddit)
  2. The blog is fully integrated with a platform, and content is curated (like Gawker network blogs and Kinja)
  3. Provide an alternate platform for people to use, and content is curated (like TNIAAM)

Do you agree with these categories? Whether you do or not – are these methods really the best ways to curate UGC?

Community Panel Highlights

On Tuesday, September 24th, our class had the opportunity to participate in a Google Hangout with Ally Greer, Community Manager at Scoopit, and Sean Keeley, the creator of the Syracuse Orange sports blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. The panel allowed us to put all of the content we’ve learned thus far into real-life perspective. It was interesting hearing two different sides of Community Management from people representing two very different communities.

“I Write For Myself”

Sean Keeley doesn’t spend too much time worrying about what his audience wants to read. Instead, he created a blog that he would want to read. It’s a good strategy, and it clearly yields results. However, there’s no way to know for sure if this method will work for everyone. This is successful for Sean because he knows his audience, and he considers himself to be a reflection of his members.

Instead of assuming what people want to read, community managers have to do some research. See which of your posts are the most successful and craft future posts to match. Look into your community–who are they? What are they interested in? How can you cater to them?

"Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician" taken from www.nunesmagician.com

“Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician” taken from www.nunesmagician.com

All Shapes and Sizes

Community Managers are, in a way, a direct reflection of the site. Scoopit and TNIAAM are very different sites which, because of this, warrant two very different Community Managers. Scoopit is a site all about people sharing content. TNIAAM is first and foremost a news outlet for Syracuse sports fans. While one may gather more user generated content than the other, both are heavily focused around a community. For TNIAAM, the community is specific: Syracuse sports fans with the occasional lovers of all-things-college-sports. Scoopit is for anyone, and the site can be used differently for each member.

This just goes to show how much effort needs to be put in as a CM. You have to really understand who your members are so you can decide what kind of site you’re going to be. Community is a huge part of a site’s success and, in a way, the community builds your site. They decide what goes on it and what happens next. Understanding your community will be your best tool.

Scoop.it! logo taken from www.scoopit.com

Scoop.it! logo taken from www.scoopit.com

Size vs. Strength

This was a common theme throughout Tuesday’s panel. When Ally said, “just because you have 100,000 users doesn’t necessarily mean you have 100,000 users”, it really stuck with me. Sean also mentioned that he liked the name of his blog because it acted almost as a code-word that only few understood. The blog and community itself had a sense of exclusivity to it, and Sean thought that added to the site’s appeal. So what’s more important? Do you focus on increasing the number of members in your community, or should you put your energy into creating a stronger community within the few members you currently have?

Taken from www.socialmediatoday.com

Taken from www.socialmediatoday.com

In my opinion, the strength of the community should be the priority. If you ensure that members are engaged and participating in conversations, your community has a greater opportunity to grow. People will be more excited about joining a community if they know that it has already been established and has a strong following.

My a cappella group, Groovestand, tries to stay very active on social media. We currently have over 700 likes on Facebook and are reaching for 1,000 by the end of the semester. While this is an ambitious goal, the panel and the readings we’ve covered thus far have made me think about bettering our content strategies and creating a more engaged audience before we worry about making the number of uninvolved people larger. We want our community to grow, but in this case, strength may be more important.