Tag Archive for discussion

Lessons From and Army of Leaders

Words of wisdom. We traditionally look to the older and wiser for advice, but in today’s digital and social world it is often the young and the savvy who can teach us a thing or two about social media and community management. As part of #CMGRClass we had the opportunity to hear from an amazing panel of leaders in community management today, who had advice ranging from how to build an effective brand presence to effectively interacting with individuals in an ever growing online community.

The panel who we had the opportunity to hear from were leaders from names like Vimeo, Policy Mic, Lenovo, and Foursquare. All who offered unique perspectives on community management and social media.

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Common Themes

It’s no surprise that when you put great minds into one room, or one Google Hangout, they’re probably going to think alike. And that was certainly true. One on the main themes that I heard throughout the panel discussion was about connecting with individuals. This goes back to the idea of creating and building meaningful relationships with members of your audience.

Also, building on relationships, it’s important to make your audience feel important – like they matter. Being direct and tailoring your conversation or message was a key takeaway for me.

Furthermore, it’s important to stay grounded as your community grows. While the above may be easy as you are starting your community, as it grows to hundreds and even thousands of followers, staying on track and being true to yourself or brand becomes more and more difficult, but not impossible. That is why it is always important to have a plan.

Make the Audience Feel Special

One notion that stuck in my mind after the talk is that in order to make your audience feel special and keep them coming back, you really need to know your followers and understand them. You need to listen to their questions, comments, concerns and needs, and even better you need to be able to anticipate. Anticipate what they want, what will make them happy, and what will build trust.

Gavin talked about treating people like VIPs. With something like the Foursquare beta program, loyal users have the ability to have an impact on the future of a product, and this empowers them as well as builds a meaningful relationship that is two-way and beyond just a conversation.

I can relate to this having been an early buyer into a new product launching this summer called Coin, which is an electronic credit card device that stores up to 8 cards at once. As an early buyer, not only was I given a 50% discount, but I get frequent updates and access to their VIP site where I can updates on its progress and exclusive information. I don’t even have the device in my hands yet, and I feel “special.”

3 Pieces of Advice

While the panel offered tons of great advice, you would get bored reading an entire synopsis of what they said, so here are my three main pieces of advice to pass along:

  1. Don’t just create a community, build one – build trust, relationships, and recognize those followers who are extra special and loyal to your brand. Do something extra for them.
  2. Be a leader not a follower – unique ideas and a unique personality will set you apart. Those who follow other brands will be behind the curve before they even start. Don’t try to fool the follower, they’re smarter than you think. “Be proactive, not reactive.”
  3. Worry about the numbers, but don’t obsess – Depending on where you are with your community, your numbers might be big or small. What’s more important are the quality of your online relationships. Use metrics to your advantage, but don’t obsess over the numbers

What do you think of the advice? Do you agree or disagree with anything the panel discussed?

Learning from a Community Manager Panel

In class last week, we were very fortunate to have a Google+ Hangout which included David Yarus from MRY, Nick Cicero from Livefrye, and Morgan Johnston from JetBlue. This was an extremely interesting chat because each of the men were from different backgrounds and their jobs and responsibilities were a bit different. They each offered unique perspectives on topics that we have been learning about so far this semester.

What the CM/SMM does according to the Panel

It was very neat to see each of the men’s opinions on the role of a community manager or social media manager within their organization.As for David, a community manager at MRY monitors and strategizes while working with creative,strategy, and analytic teams to construct the foundation for their strategy. Also, they are the ones that may be writing the actual posts that we see.

Morgan Johnston speaking to CMGR class

Morgan Johnston speaking to CMGR class

As for Morgan at JetBlue, he focused more on the social role, which was a bit different than the others. Social responsibilities were split up among 3 teams: corporate communications, marketing/commercial, and customer support. Corporate communications does the storytelling, the marketing/commercial focuses on creating content, and the customer support are the ones focused on engagement. So, when it comes to engagement, the customer support team is the part of JetBlue that responds to tweets and other social media engagement.

When it comes to Nick at LiveFyre, there are many different departments that work in different areas, but when it comes to community managers, customer service is the department. He states that there is a marketing team that focuses on marketing, and a customer service department that manages the communities. However, the marketing team works in tandem with the customer service team to find opportunities in social conversation.

Metrics & Analytics

We were able to get a glimpse of different tools that each company uses for monitor trends. Morgan and Nick talked about what their company uses. Nick stated that they use Hootsuite, which is a social media dashboard where you can manage multiple social networks, schedule different tweets and messages, track mentions, and analyze traffic. He states that they use it so that they can identify where specific instances are happening and maintain an effective level of communication.

David Yarus speaking with CMGR class

David Yarus speaking with CMGR class

As for Morgan, they use a tool called ExactTarget Social Engage which allows multiple people to be involved and helps manage the conversation. This tool offers features that support engagement growth and makes it easy to scale up and deliver the kind of engagement that customer’s want. It was interesting to see that no one uses tools designed by the company, but it was very interesting to see the different type of tools that they use to monitor trends, since last week we learned about many different metrics.

 

Important Takeaways

Like previously stated, this was a very interesting panel discussion because of the different backgrounds and companies of the speakers. It was an eye-opening discussion when they all stressed how they work with so many other teams to make sure everything is consistent across the board. When I originally thought of a community manager or a social media manager, I would think of a particular department,  or a community management department. My thinking has now changed and this discussion has led me to believe that the more teams that work together when it comes to social responsibilities, the better. With all of these different people and departments, you get more layers of expertise and the group benefits as a result. Everyone working together can increase engagement and can produce successful social media/community strategies.

It was also interesting to see how many positions there are that have to do with social media and the community. While we really focus on social media managers and community managers, this discussion really showed how many careers are in this field. Who knew customer support could be where community managers reside? Who knew that marketing teams would work in tandem with community managers? It was great to see the connections and learn about positions in these exciting fields.

Nick Cicero speaking with CMGR class

Nick Cicero speaking with CMGR class

 

  • If you were to ask David, Nick, or Morgan a question, what would it be?
  • Have you worked with any of these monitoring tools like Hootsuite or SocialEngage?
  • Is there anything you would add?

 

Time Spent Well with Olivier Blanchard

sm ROI

Olivier Blanchard was our guest this week in class, who is the author of one of our text books, “Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization.”

Silos and Company Culture

Olivier discussed how certain companies may be divided into various departments or “silos” that can create certain political issues when attempting to pursue a social media initiative. Other dysfunctions include operational issues and lack of insight on what social media is, leading to inadequate funding or incorrect hiring. Another major issue that was mentioned is the lack of training throughout the silos that make up an organization – some departments or teams may not have the understanding of how to use social media tools.

I definitely agree that to implement social media in a company you should have support from executive leadership. Olivier mentioned that culture is extremely difficult to change and is a gradual process. Gaining buy-in from individual silos throughout the organization through implementing social media in their various processes is a great way to start. Showing how social media can meet their needs and improve their business at the department level can gradually “bubble up” to top leadership.

Based on my own experiences, I have seen that executive leadership concentrates on generating revenue through their mainstream business processes. Generally speaking, executives do not care how social media can help with their business, it is up to community managers and social media experts to show them how it can generate revenue and/or cut costs. The lack of understanding by top management and the mentality of “just get it done now” can lead to extremely frustrating work environment where the end result is an inefficient social media implementation.

Noteworthy Discussion Points

There were several questions that were asked during the discussion with Olivier that I thought were very good takeaways. One of the questions asked related to a boss that had no idea what metrics they wanted for a Twitter account they were using for PC support. Olivier provided some straight-forward questions to ask the boss to determine the metrics, but the biggest take away that I go from it was that “if a manager cannot tell you why you are doing something or how it should be measured for success, then there is something wrong with them.” I completely agree with this statement and have found myself asking this question to my previous manager.

I was lucky enough to have one of my questions answered by Olivier. Using agencies to handle your online social media presence seemed to be a generally accepted practice according to Olivier. I found it very interesting that some agencies bring a client’s resource in-house to manage direct communications with their customers. Other agencies seemed to only sell content creation and publishing services, which is not online community management.

Overall, I thought the hangout included a great discussion with some useful information sharing.  Did you watch the hangout?  What did you think?