Tag Archive for community managament

Think You Got What It Takes To Be A Community Manager? #CMGRClass

During the week of February 24 through March 2, I acted as the moderator for the #CMGRClass’ Google+ Community, as well as the class twitter account. Throughout this time, I learned many valuable lesson, but also had a lot of fun! The main theme of the week was SEO & inbound Marketing, and although I didn’t really have much experience in this topic, or moderating nonetheless, I jumped right in!

My Research

Before beginning my week as the CMGRclass moderator, I decided to research the roles and responsibilities of a community manager. I looked to one of our class books Buzzing Communities, written by Richard Millington, and found that it is important to always encourage participation by directly or indirectly stimulating and sustaining activity within the community.

I also looked to the experts to see how they manage communities much larger than the one I would be working with. The Huffington Post handles 70+ million comments a year without collapsing, so I made the executive decision to look to them as an expert in the field. One of the main points this established company made was to create “a safe, enjoyable space, and help people find content that is relevant to them.” I tried to apply this motto to my week as a moderator for the CMGRclass community.

My Content

One of my top priorities for the week was to contribute appropriate and meaningful content. I tried to post a timely, relevant, or just fun news article every day in order to spur conversation. After seeing some of my fellow classmates do their parts as moderators for previous weeks, I thought I had an idea of what kind of content to post. I started off by jumping off the topic of SEO, and shared with the class the article 20 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools You Should be Using. Many students shared what tools they use currently for managing different social accounts, as well as what they hope to try out in the future.

As well, early in the week I posted an article that focused on the similarities between design and community. I was shocked to get such a thought out response to this article by an alumnae of the class, Steve Rhinehart. Although many other classmates did not respond to this post, I think the thoughtfulness of Steve’s response made me feel like this post was successful.

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Some of the twitter activity during my time as moderator

One of my favorite moments from the week was the conversation around the change in tagline from “Got Milk” to “Milk Life.” Although this did not directly relate to the topic of the week, we are always discussing brands, and I thought this was a big change for an iconic brand. I liked that my classmates shared their opinions and then even offered a solution for the brand to evolve without alienating their current market. I think this exemplified how a community can work together to solve problems.

During the week, I also started tweeting from the #CMGRclass twitter handle. During this time I tried to share our internal conversation with the online world by using hashtags to attract those with similar interests. During this time the account gained new followers, and one classmate interacted by retweeting and responding to tweets.

At the end of the week, I handed the moderation position over to Elaina Powless, and am excited to see how she leads the discussion within the #CMGRClass community.

My Community Participants

I was so appreciative of all the contributors I had throughout my week as moderator. Many people put in the time and effort to create thoughtful responses to my posts, as well as contribute their own posts to really enhance the community discussion throughout the week.

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A list of Google+ activity on the Got Milk post

My Reflection

During this process I learned significant lessons about being a community manager, as well as talking to a community of people in general.

  • Community Managers do not get enough credit. I felt myself constantly thinking about what my next post should be, and if people will find it interesting enough to start a conversation about. This makes community management much more than a typical 9-5 job.
  • Relevant content is key. As a writer for InfoSpace, we operate off the basis write what your friends are talking about, as this is what is popular among many groups of friends, as well as what is being searched on the web. I learned that the same principle applied to my time as a community manager, but with a much fast turnover. The posts that seemed to entice many participants were events that were getting a lot of buzz offline as well.
  • Patience is a virtue. Moderating takes patience; patience to find the best content to post, patience for others to see it, and patience for others to respond and even post their own content branching off the topic. I learned to have patience in the process, and that was a hard lesson to learn.
  • “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Not everything I posted to the community stirred up an intense conversation, but that’s okay. If a post didn’t seem to be appealing I would switch to an opposing topic because forcing responses does not create a successful community. I wanted to get to a place where people wanted to respond and thus their responses would be more personal.

What’s Left to Say?

After the whole week, I am still left with a question. I know all communities are not the same, so how do you interact with your community? What are some of the most popular posts? Who are the most active contributors? Let me know in the comments below!

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.