Tag Archive for CM

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?

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.

Hanging out with three leaders in the CM community

For our #CMGRClass hangout last week, we had the amazing privilege of speaking with three community management professionals: David Yarus (@DavidYarus), CM at MRY; Morgan Johnston (@MHJohnston), Corporate Communications Manager at Jet Blue; and Nick Cicero (@NickCicero), Lead Social Strategist at Livefyre. Here’s a look into what they had to say.

Not all community management environments are created equal

Well, not exactly. They’re all just different. I found it fascinating to learn about the different team settings and how the setups of the various teams truly depend on the nature of the business. This sounds obvious, but I don’t find that to be the case. Each company or agency has its own brand, and uses that when it defines roles and organizational structure. Early on in the hangout, Nick mentioned that he believes job positions are much more definable today. These definitions have definitely evolved since the CM space first emerged, but I don’t know if they are yet definable to a point of satisfaction. Now, we just have a better idea of the types of roles we need filled for any given organization, but the description of that role will vary (drastically, or not,) from place to place.

All three men came from very different team backgrounds. At David’s agency, MRY, there is a distribution team that is responsible for media that is paid, earned, owned, and experiential and analytics. CMs work with this distribution team to create content, develop strategy, and monitor feeds. Specifically, David works with a community of influencers and brand ambassadors for Bobble and Spotify, among others.

At Jet Blue, Morgan is the head of the corporate communications department. He works with marketing and customer support departments to be sure that all communication is in check and stays in line with Jet Blue’s brand identity (for which he is also partially responsible). He works with Jet Blue’s customer insight team also uses a net promoter score as a way to constantly gauge the satisfaction of their customers; they survey, through a variety of media, “How likely are you to promote/recommend Jet Blue to a friend or family?” Aside from the 20+ team at Jet Blue corporate, there is a group of over 1000 employees in Salt Lake City who respond to the community at large (besides social channels): emails, phone calls, whatever it is, you name it, they respond to it.

Nick is a member of the strategy team at Livefyre, a real-time conversation and social curation tool. As a member of the strategy team, he works with the clients who use the Livefyre tools — other community managers. He helps them to use these products more effectively and how to better manage their communities. His strategy then coordinates with the customer and marketing teams to make for integrated communications.

Unique, not different

Okay, so maybe I was being a little harsh before. It’s not the differences that set these work environments apart, but rather, their unique qualities. It’s what these community managers are bringing to their respective workplaces to elevate their work.

At MRY, it’s that David likes to remove the idea of the screen away from the conversation. He constantly reminds himself to remember that there is a person on the other side of it, and to treat them as such. By breaking these barriers and treating people like people, simple tasks get accomplished a lot faster and a lot more efficiently. Completely unrelated, David also conducted this entire G+ hangout from the New York streets via his iPhone. I just love technology.

At Jet Blue, it’s that Morgan’s audience experiences the product/brand in real time. Although this can be frustrating and stressful at times (especially if the feedback is negative), it actually gives Jet Blue opportunities for wins; as David described, real-time gives brands the chance to “over-deliver, surprise, and delight.”

My own interaction with @JetBlue on Twitter!

My own interaction with @JetBlue on Twitter!

At Livefyre, it’s that Nick is working with people who essentially have the same job that he has. Nick works with community managers, yet he himself is a community manager of sorts. Again completely unrelated, Nick also worked with Kanye West early in his career to help grow his label’s community, so he wins at life.

 

Thanks again to David, Morgan, and Nick for hanging out with us – hope to see you all on Twitter!

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.

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?

Social Media Manager and Community Manger – Difference?

This week was all about differentiating between a social media manager and a community manager. Initially, like I’m sure most people did, I thought they were the same thing. One will often assume that since a community manager uses Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, they must be a social media manager as well. That is where they are wrong. There are different duties for each manager and this week we really got to dive into the main differences.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 3.04.13 PM

What’s the Difference?

My biggest takeaway from this week regarding the difference is that social media managers are generally more concerned with their brand while community managers focus more on relationships with members of the particular community. This is not to say both do not utilize social media, but they utilize it in different ways. A more simple explanation in my opinion is that social media managers are most concerned with their product or service, while community managers are more concerned with the users of that product. In an article by Vanessa DiMauro titled “Social Media Manager vs. Online Community Manager: Same or Different?”, she discussed some of their roles. According to Vanessa, social media managers are more focused on:

  • raising awareness of the product or service
  • visibility of company, products, or services
  • drive leads
  • increase of sales
  • event attendance

On the other hand, she goes on to explain that community managers are more focused on:

  • customer questions on how to use product or service
  • learning from the customers through feedback
  • customer satisfaction/retention
  • increase utilization of products
  • improve customers’ ability to get help from one another

So it seems that a Community Manager is more of a people person?

My answer would be yes. That is not to say social media managers don’t take the customers’ into account. I just think after all of the readings and comparisons this week, it is safe to say that community managers are more focused on exactly their title: the community. While both titles manage tools, a community manager is more focused about using these tools for engagement within the community.

Are there similarities?

I think so. One aspect that I believe is similar in both a community manager and social media manager is that they both create content. In an article by Deb Ng titled, “5 Things Community Management Isn’t & 5 Things a Community Manager Is”she emphasizes that a community manager is a content creator. She states,

It’s our job to communicate with the community and we use a variety of channels to do so. You’ll often see community managers creating videos and blog posts. What we post on the social networks is also considered content and we take great care in crafting these messages. You have to have a way with words and be well versed in grammar and usage to be a successful CM.

Another article from this week is by The Community Roundtable titled, “Differentiating Between Social Media and Community Management.” In this post, they go on to discuss that social media managers are in fact the content creators. So, while these two articles seem to contradict each other, I think that it shows both community managers and social media managers can create content. They may create content for different reasons, but regardless, they both do.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you think it is necessary for companies to have both a community manager and a social media manager? Can they have one person that acts as both?
  • Are there any other similarities between the two?
  • Is there an easier way to explain the differences?

My First Twitter Chat Experience – #CMGRChat

On March 13th 2013, I participated in my first ever #CMGRchat by using TweetChat.com. The experience was unique and very beneficial for someone such as myself that is being exposed to community management for the first time. Participants of the chat ranged from community managers to bloggers and enthusiasts, all having a great deal of knowledge in the creation and management of communities.

question markWhat is it all about?

#CMGRchat provides a means of discussion and collaboration between community managers from around the world. Hosted by Jenn Pedde and Kelly Lux, the chat concentrates on the discussion of topics related to the emerging field of Community Management, and how professionals in the field approach day-to-day problems. The hosts present several questions to the group to stimulate discussion, which seems to work pretty well with achieving a meaningful conversation about Community Management topics.

My Experience

I thought that the chat was very interesting and provided some great insight on topics such as testing within a community, handling changes and managing UI / UX testing. I never knew that Community Managers would be involved at the user interface or user experience level, but according to David Spinks, “often, CMs (community managers) should be involved in those projects.” Prior to chat, I always believed that Quality Assurance specialists or web designers would handle the testing of an interface, but this was not the case based on the feedback provided in CMGRChat.

The general consensus during the chat was to ensure user acceptance of any change in the community through extensive testing. The communities in question where such extensive analysis and testing was performed, varied by size and audience. Change affects everyone in a community and regardless of how large or small the size, it can impact the potential growth, thus making it vital to keep as many active participants as possible.

One of the questions that was presented to the group was how to implement a major change to the community. I personally believe any major enhancement which may alter the way a user does something should be gradually implemented over time. Major feature releases can be done in smaller “chunks”, ultimately making the new/changed features transparent to the end user. In my own experiences, I’ve always used a phased rollout with a detailed action plan on how to handle end user acceptance of any changes being made.

Closing Thoughts

Based on the discussion between the participants of CMGRChat, testing is a crucial part to the pursuit of an online community’s continued growth and response to a changing industry. The Community Manager (CM) role itself is still undergoing change and continues to be crafted throughout the various companies that have established the position. Discussions that #CMGRChat provides weekly, creates a useful discussion that may allow CMs define their role effectively themselves.