Tag Archive for #cmgrchat

Good Community Management Helps Shine Rainbows Over the Stormy Twitterverse

The Case Study: When the Twitterverse Turns on You outlines a social media campaign on Twitter for Canadian Jet, a fictional airline with a lackluster reputation. The plan was to use the hashtag #CanJetLuxury for a Twitter contest that would reward the user who posted the most creative tweet with a set of round-trip tickets. It sounds innocent enough but those who work in the Twitterverse know that brand-sponsored campaigns are easy prey for trolls and disgruntled customers.

After a few short hours, the hashtag was hijacked with accusatory tweets such as “Arriving a day late to your daughter’s wedding #CanJetLuxury.” The team went into a panic. The article closes by asking if they should throw in the towel.

So, Should Canadian Jet Cancel the Contest?

Absolutely not. By definition, a campaign is a systematic course of aggressive activities (dictionary.com). It is not a Twitter announcement followed by second thoughts.


When you bring your branded message into Twitter’s public stream of consciousness, you should not expect sunshine and rainbows. You expect to create the sunshine and rainbows.

After all, isn’t that what community management is about –bringing dazzling experiences to people? Helping them discover why they love you, over and over again?

The problem posed in this case study is only a problem because the company’s conversation about what to do when faced with negative tweets was supposed to happen long before the campaign launched. This failure to plan raises questions about their Twitterverse aptitude.

Want to check your readiness for the Twitterverse?

Here are Five Diagnostic Questions About Your Twitterverse Aptitude

  1. Are you energized by the opposition? Andrea Kemp, the company’s account manager from Wrigley & Walters who advised Canadian Jet, thrived in this high-pressured environment.
  2. Do you know what you are getting into? Critics can reduce your beloved hashtag into a mere “bashtag” if you mismanage the campaign.
  3. Do you see the glass as half full or as half empty? Do you disregard positive tweets when faced with a negative one? (Warning: In cases like  #AskJPM the glass was quickly emptying. Recognizing that shows your realism, not pessimism.)
  4. Do you give the silent treatment? Social media is inherently social so if you are not prepared to respond to what is in front of you this might not be the best venue.
  5. How is your agility? Be responsive to changing conditions when sailing through the Twitterverse. This does not mean that you cannot plan. It simply means that your plan needs to account for the possibility of inclement weather.

What Can We Learn?

There are three lessons to be learned from this case study.

  1. #CanJetLuxury was out of touch. While the campaign was a great way to breathe life into their brand, it seems like organizers expected the announcement  of the Twitter contest to absolve them of any hostility that had developed in the previous years.
  2. They gambled. They did not have a plan in place for negative tweets, even though they were aware of the risk.
  3. They held a meeting when they should have been tweeting responses. They should have countered the negative tweets immediately, rather than reassessing the campaign as a whole.

Have you ever suspended a campaign? We would love to learn about your experiences in the comments below.

Register for #CMGRClass Spring 2014!

The spring semester at Syracuse University starts on January 13th and there are still a few spots left in #CMGRClass. This online course is open to all graduate students and select undergraduates who have a significant interest in community building, online communications, online content, and social media. For undergrads, if you’ve taken #RotoloClass (IST 486) or the Newhouse Social Media Course you’re eligible to take #CMGRClass.  If you haven’t taken either of those courses, but have experience in an internship or student activity you may still join as an undergraduate.

#CMGRClassWhy Take #CMGRclass?

In this online class, you’ll use social media tools first hand and meet a number of professionals who are working on community management and/or social media for some of the best companies out there. This course is broken up into three parts that are designed to help you understand various aspects of community management.
1)  Content Management – Blogging is an art and different than your typical academic writing.   You’ll write blog posts about the topics in this course and learn some of the best content strategies.
2)  Social media – The tools are always changing, but there’s things you’ll walk out understanding such as important metrics and best practices.
3)  Community Building – how do you start a community from scratch?  How can your users help you to generate content? Where do you find your key influencers?

What’s new and exciting about this course?

This isn’t your typical online course. The class meets every other Tuesday at 7pm in a Google+ Hangout and once per month we’ll have guest speakers join us and tell us how they got into their roles and what their jobs are like.  Though if you can’t make the time due to work or other classes, the class is recorded for you to watch at your convenience. Students have the ability to network throughout the semester and they find out about excellent opportunities like internships and careers.

Last semester we had guests from Google Local, Cycle to Survive, MRY, JetBlue, Scoop.it, LiveFyre, Klout, and Moz, and students met community managers from a variety of different industries.

We also don’t use blackboard all too much! #CMGRClass primarily takes place in a Google+ Community group where it’s easier to interact and post fun content.

If you’re curious about this semester’s syllabus you can take a look on this site.  If you want to register, sign up for IST 600 by January 13th (or the add/drop deadline by January 21)!  And of course you can always contact the professors, Jenn Pedde (@JPedde / jmpedde@syr.edu) & Kelly Lux (@Kellylux / kalux@syr.edu) with any questions.

Let’s Play! #CMGRChat Gets Gamified

Reality is broken, so let’s play games instead; that was the main point of Jane McGonigal’s keynote speech at 2011’s PAX East convention. In a large auditorium at the top floor of the Boston Convention Center, Ms. McGonigal got the entire audience to partake in a massive thumb war, after discussing the merits of injecting games and play into real life. Her arguments were strong, citing psychological evidence that play improves many quality of life factors, and can result in better work. I came away from that keynote with a shiny new achievement (Double Kill – I won both thumb war games simultaneously!), a heightened sense of enjoyment (the video games on the show floor didn’t hurt, though), a plan to buy her book, and a lasting interest in “gamification.” So when it became the topic of the day for #CMGRChat, I couldn’t wait to see what people had to say.

On April 3rd, dozens of community managers tuned into Twitter to discuss four questions about gamification and community. The questions posed were:

  • Is every community a good candidate for gamification? And how do you know yours is/isn’t?
  • What do you expect to gain from gamification within your community and how do you measure that?
  • What are some best practices for someone just starting to add game elements to a community? Things to stay away from?
  • What are some examples of gamification within communities that has worked well? Not so well?


The summary? Well, not all communities are created equal, and that goes for how suitable gamification is for them. Some communities are too casual for games to really motivate them, but others are hyper competitive and would love to be rewarded for using the platforms. Two examples I knew before I really knew how widespread gamification was are SuperBetter and Fitocracy. SuperBetter is Jane’s self-improvement network that ties personal achievements to in-game achievements. It’s a great concept, that’s really more about making a game out of real life than it is about joining a gaming community, but the community aspect is very much present and very helpful as a support system. Fitocracy, in contrast, is a bit more competitive. It is also based on fitness and self-improvement, but it rewards high scores and progress, pitting you against yourself as well as your peers. The community on both exists to support, but Fitocracy tends to emphasize safely one-upping your buddies.


Gamification doesn’t work without a strategy, however, so some of the answers in the chat were especially helpful. Knowing what benefits there are to which features you want to implement is of high importance, right behind knowing whether or not your community will actually buy into them. Michael Hahn suggested using gamification to find advocates and influencers, as well as gather feedback. Evan Hamilton suggested using what already inspires community members as the focal point of gamification, which will likely lead to higher engagement. There are many ways to go about it, but going in blind is never a good choice. I think the rule of thumb is to actually spend the time needed to make a game that’s right for your community. If you can’t commit to that initial investment, it’s going to be very hard to commit to the long-term maintenance and upgrades of the game, and if the fit isn’t right, the game will very likely fail quite early. It’s really a lot more than stickers and achievements.

What is your favorite example of gamification? What worked best about it?

Using Content to Build a Community

The Community ManagerThis week I participated in #cmgrchat, the Twitter chat for community managers co-founded in 2010 and hosted each week by #cmgrclass professors Jenn Pedde and Kelly Lux.  I discovered on Wednesday morning that the topic was “Using Content to Build a Community” – perfect, I thought, to cap off this semester.

This week’s Twitter chat was not my first #cmgrchat experience.  I previously participated in a #cmgrchat about a year ago while I was a #RotoloClass student, and I occasionally drop in and out of the Wednesday afternoon chats as my work schedule allows.   This week, I used TweetDeck to track the #cmgrchat hashtag and keep up with the conversation, which can sometimes be challenging given the volume of tweets.  TweetChat is another popular tool for participating in Twitter chats.

@KellyLux welcome to #cmgrclass@JPedde welcome to #cmgrclass







#cmgrchat Questions

This week’s chat had five questions.

1. What’s your primary content type?  Trust Building, Educational, User-Generated, Conversion, or Filtered? — Why?

2. What are some integral components of a content strategy?

3. In what ways do current community members contribute to your owned content (blogs, newsletters, web pages, etc.)?

4. What companies make tools that have community building in mind?  What do you use?

5. How often do you evaluate an owned/onsite content strategy?  And what does evaluation look like?


Community Manager Insights

About ten minutes were devoted to each question, with Jenn and Kelly alternating as questioners.  Most CMs provided answers to each question, but others dropped in and out of the chat according to their availability.  I observed commonalities within each set of responses, and noticed interesting outliers as well.

  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q1Content type: In response to question 1, most community managers participating in the chat seemed to report that they primarily used trust-building and/or educational content within their communities.  However, many expressed a goal of introducing more community-generated content in the future.


  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q1Content strategy components: Common responses to question 2 included alignment with organizational objectives and understanding of community members’ interests and needs.  Additionally, many community managers commented on the importance of a content calendar while also acknowledging the need to retain flexibility to respond to real-time news and issues.


#cmgrchat 042413 - Q3

  • Community member contributions: In reply to question 3, a common theme among chat participants was the use of community members to share CM-developed content, provide feedback on content, and act in a guest blogger capacity.  I was excited to see one of my answers to question 3 prompt interaction with another member in the chat!


  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q4Community building tools:  Chat participants named a range of tools they use to help build community; some I’ve used in my own community-building practice (HootSuite, StorifyTumblr), others I had heard of but not personally used (Google Hangouts and Alerts), and even more were new to me (CrowdBooster, SimplyMeasured, Sprout Social).  My motto is usually “show me the free” – and apparently I’m not the only one – but I’m definitely open to investigating some of the paid services.


  • #cmgrchat 042413 - Q5Content strategy evaluation: In answer to the final question, CMs responded that they analyze content for efficacy based on metrics and community feedback.  Reporting was a common tool, occurring on a range of time frames from quarterly, biweekly, weekly, and even more frequently.  I was impressed by the CMs’ diligence and couldn’t help but feel like I fall into the “not often enough” category.


A Sense of Community

What strikes me about #cmgrchat is the sense of community among the contributors.  Even after only a handful of appearances on my part, I recognized certain names as regular attendees.  Participants are quick to respond to, retweet, or mention comments that they find insightful – including tweets from newcomers.  (#cmgrchat is definitely not a good old girls’ or boys’ network!)  If you haven’t yet taken in a #cmgrchat, I highly recommend it: it’s acknowledged as the go-to resource for community managers, and has even cracked the Twitter trending topics list.  After my experience this week, I intend to participate more regularly to learn from this open and resourceful community.

Have you ever participated in a Twitter chat, #cmgrchat or otherwise?  What do you find most useful?

Check out my Storify of this week’s #cmgrchat here.  Visit the basis for this week’s chat, The Community Manager’s “Using Content to Build a Community” by Rebecca Lindegren, here, and tune in to #cmgrchat each Wednesday at 2pm ET.

(Screen shots of 4.24.13 #cmgrchat tweets taken by author.  Featured image’s word cloud created by author using Wordle.)

Building Community with Content

Wednesday’s #CMGRchat was about using content to build a community. I found this chat particularly helpful and the questions that Jenn and Kelly asked to the participants insightful. Here are some highlights:

Question 1: What’s your primary content type? Trust Building, Educational, User-Generated, Conversational, or Filtered? – Why?

cmgrchat a1For my community, most of my content is about events or news about our community/community members, so most of my content is educational/informative. But the answers to question 1 were diverse.

Many participants say that they prefer user-generated content and that they try to post things that are conversational. However, user-generated content comes with time, your community needs to grow and mature before you can have this type of content. Some community managers also agreed that it is good to have a combination of different content types to keep things fresh and interesting.

Question 2: What are some integral components of a content strategy?

The following is a list of the most talked about integral components of a content strategy:

  • Creating a content calendar
  • Knowing your community
  • Following the values of your brand
  • Keeping in line with the goals of your community
  • Listening to your community and the feedback they give
  • Using the proper platforms to help you post, track, and analyze
  • Consistency in curation and moderation
  • Clear business goals
  • Planning ahead

Question 3: In what ways do current community members contribute to your owned content? (Blogs, Newsletters, web pages, etc.)?

Currently, my community members don’t actually write newsletters, emails, blogs, help with our web pages, or anything like that. However, they contribute by letting us know what they are up to, by sending us links to shows, projects or informing us of other things they are participating in. Since I help manage a community for Syracuse University graduates, it is really helpful when our alumni notify us and keep us informed– they are our eyes and ears.

cmgrchat A3

Many partipants in #CMGRchat had more experience with community members contributing to their content. Their advice included:

  • Being open to guest bloggers/posters
  • Making sure your community members know they are valued
  • Encouraging community members to comment and give feedback
  • Encouraging community members to ask questions
  • Highlighting community members/showcasing talented community members
  • Making sure that it is a mutually beneficial relationship between the community and its members

Question 4: What companies make tools that have community building in mind? What do you use?

Tools that #CMGRchat participants listed as helpful included:

  • Email*
  • Twitter*
  • Google+*
  • Hootsuite*
  • Sprout Social
  • Crowd Booster
  • Storify*
  • StumbleUpon
  • Skype
  • OneTab
  • Marketo
  • Sales Force
  • Buddy Media
  • Radian6
  • Blogging sites such as Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress*

(* denotes tools that I also use/find helpful)

cmgrchat 1Question 5: How often do you evaluate an owned/onsite content strategy? And what does evaluation look like?

This was a pretty loaded question, and for most in the chat, they said it would vary depending on the type of community you are managing. It was also a common answer that you can never do enough evaluating since your community is probably constantly changing and growing.

Participants suggested:

  • Weekly and/or monthly reports such as key performance indicator reports
  • Evaluate and adjust based on feedback and user engagement
  • Listen to your community
  • Follow trends

*     *     *

It was amazing how much I learned in just 60 minutes. This chat could have gone on for hours since there is so much to talk about when it comes to managing an online community and developing content. I’m looking forward to participating in even more #CMGRchats in the future.

#CMGRCHAT – “Battle of the Sexes”

CM  avatar images


I took the opportunity to check-in to the Twitter chat  of #cmgrchat on Wednesday, April 10th. I found the experience to be very enlightening and entertaining. The topic was formatted as “Battle of the Sexes”, which become apparent throughout the conversations that it was not really a battle but more of an open, honest conversation.

I wasn’t completely sure how to jump in to the conversation so I sat back and “listened” for a bit. The conversations were fluid with people shareing ideas and responding to tweets. It was apparent to me that most of them had a great familiarity with one another, which seemed to allow an open and “real” conversation regarding everything from pay scales (By the way, in case you were wondering about the pay, @TheCmgr shared this – “In 2012 men made an average of $54,880 to women in the same role making $50,400. How can women close the gap?”) to advice for communities and deliberating the possibilities of male and female roles as a community manager. The question was posed  regarding the possibility of an ungendered community manager position. Some examples that were given were “only a female could be the community manager of a feminine hygiene product”, or “could a female represent a predominantly man’s brand and get a good response from the community”.

m vs f

The majority of the CM’s on the chat seemed to agree that it is about connecting with your community regardless of gender. I personally have to agree with this statement. From what we have been learning and what I have observed online, a good community manager can connect with their community and engage well regardless of their gender. I think there may be only a few times where gender can matter. One was mentioned in the chat as dealing with women who have been abused. They may not be open to having a male as the community manager or feel they can openly “unload” in that space. @DebNg said it well with “It shouldn’t be tied to a specific gender, but how will the community react?” This is the primary question that should be asked and answered. It it is the community that ultimately will decide the effectiveness of its manager.

Community Connecting

My personal experience with this chat was amazement. I was very impressed with the open conversation in the safe environment that has been created there. People shared their opinions openly and were met with honest responses. That seems to be what a community should be all about. I also was impressed with the amount of great information sharing that took place there.( I can’t wait until I have time to check in weekly!) The take aways I gained from this experience were:

  • Sometimes you must agree to disagree but always be respectful about it
  • A key is being sensitive to needs of your community
  • In most cases it *shouldn’t* matter what the gender of the cmgr is. In some cases is absolutely matters.
  • A great #CMGR transcends gender and creates a community around a product, mission, goal, interest.
  • The best person for the job is the best person for the job, regardless of gender

Looking forward to all that this talented and creative group of community managers has to share in the future. It seems to be a great place to connect with knowledgeable, intelligent and kind people. Great community of Community managers!

My #CMGRChat Experience

flickr Rob BoudonFull disclosure, I have participated in a few #CMGRChats before, but it wasn’t until I tuned in a few times this semester that the topics, strategies and tips really started to make sense!

This week’s chat, led by our own Kelly Lux and Sahana Ullagaddi (@iamsahana), centered around brand evolution, and how CM’s should go about facilitating changes and positive development around their companies or products.

Brand education strategies centered around telling a full story about where the brand/company/service started, and where exactly the staff and the users want it to go. Participants mentioned using “behind the scenes” content, like staff intros or funny exclusives, to build a relationship with users and create a culture of trust across the full spectrum of users (from the reminding diehards who have been there from the beginning why they should stay, to the newbies you’re still trying to “stick.”)

So, how do you do that?

Basically, be authentic and transparent about how any changes will be good for the user, be open and available for discussion, don’t throw out any surprises which might cause adverse reactions, and “under-promise, over-deliver” on the changes you roll out. Some useful tools to ensure this happens include hangouts and tailoring quality, relevant content to each chosen medium your organization has used to maintain their online presence.

I was especially interested in the discussion of brand ambassadors during this chat. For me, this title calls to mind the people who used to stop me on the street on my way to my internship in New York, and either try to hand me a colorful flyer with a worthless coupon, or try to get me to sign a petition (or worse, a newsletter sign-up sheet). However, I can see how a group of brand ambassadors who are very good at their jobs could be very useful at disseminating a message amongst their followers, friends and even people who pass by on their morning commutes.

This idea applies to my own job within the campus police department in that, technically, I have access to around 140 “brand ambassadors” in the officers who are paid to patrol the campus and surrounding areas. There are always officers working, at any given time of day, because we have shifts rotating in 24 hours a day. I handle the “broadcast” functionality, basically providing a constant stream of information on events inside the department; technically, the officers could be utilized for the other part of it, at least in their “in real life” interactions.

The idea’s been floated that we, as a department, start Facebook pages for the more well-known officers, and make it a more personal way for “us” to interact with the student body online (sans marketing, “click here, do this” speak). That responsibility will eventually probably fall to me, so it will be an interesting process to change the way I think and the way I post – from institutional to personal.

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.

New to Twitter Chats? This Can Help

large twitter chat

Photo: Labor Day Twitter Chat, by: Us Department of Labor

At the risk of revealing any information that might give the impression that I am out of touch with the world, this week I joined my very first twitter chat.   Now, I know this statement probably sounds overly dramatic.  I could easily choose 50 friends and family at random and be quite positive that none of them had ever participated in a tweet chat before, so my dramatic declaration comes from more of a personal sensitivity that I felt out of touch and out of alignment with everyone on the chat.

The chat I joined centers on Community Management and is usually held weekly, with a focused topic of conversation.   This week the group discussed, “Transitions: Gracefully Exiting your Community.”  I knew this in advance, so I spent that morning preparing my thoughts by doing some research on the similarities and differences between leaving an online community vs. leaving a typical job, with the hopes that  I could participate intelligently if the opportunity arose.  However, I was completely (and very quickly) caught off guard by the chat process.

My observations, as a twitter chat beginner:

  • I was not ready for the pace of the conversation and found the constant steam of tweets very difficult to keep up with.  (There were almost 40 posts in just the first 10 minutes).  I had to read along at a pretty good clip, and I still felt behind the conversation the entire hour.
  • I was using hootsuite rather than the simple twitter feed.  Each time it refreshed, I lost my place when it spilled 20-30 more tweets into the stream.  That was very frustrating.
  • It was a challenge to keep up with answers and comments within the conversation, especially if they were not directly related to the moderated questions.  Basically, I am referring to tweets made in response to others’ tweets.  For example, if someone tweeted:“@yyy @rrr @mmm I love that idea. Thanks Mary!”  I wanted to know what Mary said so I could follow the conversation, but I could not find Mary’s original tweet (partially because I did not know who Mary was so I did not know who to look for, and partially because Mary’s tweet may have fallen into the stream 20 tweets before) so I had no way of knowing what “idea” was loved.
  • All of the above issues left me unable to gain a strong enough comfort level to tweet any of my own comments.
  • The pace of the moderated questions was easy to follow and I liked that they were re-tweeted several times.  That allowed for a good sense of conversation re-focus… even when there were tweets that had nothing to do with the questions steaming in between the “answer” tweets.

At end of the chat I sat back, surly I had missed something.  People who participate in twitter chats love them, but I just felt like I was lost in a very unfamiliar, crowded room.  So I took to the internet to see what I could find on the following topics:

  • How to navigate or better manage a fast paced tweeter chat,
  • Advice from others who encountered the same frustrations as myself

Much to my surprise, there was very little out there.  It seems that no one else was talking about the opportunities that I had encountered!

What I did find though was a lot of good content that focused on How to participate in twitter chats with helpful dos and don’ts.   So I dug in a little deeper and started playing around with different keywords combinations.  I then came across a blog by Bruce Sallen, How to participate in #dadchat or any other chat.  In it, I finally found a little validation. He suggested using services like Tweetgrid to help with the issue of trying to keep up with speedy chats.   I checked the service out, but did not care for its format.  So I pressed, on until my search brought me to JD Roth’s blog, GRS housekeeping: comments, follow-ups, and tweetchats.  In it he recommended Tweetchat.

This service seems very user friendly as it links directly to a twitter account through the services “sign in” button, and also has several nice features:

  • Each tweet automatically gets the #hashtag added when one posts (something I could not figure out how to do on hootsuite).
  • It allows the option of a “user control” feature so one can focus on specific people or block spammers.

tweet chat serviceI plan to participate in more twitter chats so I can get more practice.  I know that that will help my comfort level.  However, the next time I will be using the technologies of the service:  Tweetchat.  Hopefully, it will help me through some of the opportunities that I encountered today and will make the next twitter chat much more enjoyable.



So am I the only one in the world that has found tweet chats overwhelming?

Is it just a matter of getting used to the pace, platform, and people participating in the chat?