Tag Archive for social media manager

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.

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.

Learning from Community Manager Tim McDonald

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim McDonald, former community manager and now currently Director of Community at Huffington Post. Questions that I asked Tim corresponded with the topics that we have been studying this semester. Topics ranged from: differences between social media manager and community manager, search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and metrics & analytics.

Tim’s Comparison of Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager

During the interview with Tim

It was very interesting to get Tim’s take on the differences. We have learned thus far that a social media manager is more focused on the brand, whereas a community focuses more on relationships and the community. He refers to a social media manager as a “social media marketer”. An excellent quote by Tim is as follows: “, “Social media marketing to me is more of a bulldozer- you are pushing information out. Community management is about being a magnet and attracting people and drawing them in.” This was a great takeaway from the interview and I felt as if it was a great yet simple way to explain the differences.

 SEO 

It was interesting to see that in such a large organization like Huffington Post, they have people that are solely dedicated to SEO. He states that even though that are people that are simply focused on SEO, it’s important to at least have an understanding and an awareness of it when working on Huffington Post. At Huffington Post, he doesn’t have to implement it, but he has to have an awareness of it. It might be different at a smaller company, where you don’t have particular people delegated for this particular thing. You may in fact have to be the implementor at a smaller company. It reminds me of an IT manager. You do not have to be extremely technical, but you should at least have an understanding of the concepts and processes.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 3.21.50 PM

 

 

Blogging

When it comes to blogging, Huffington Post is practically one big blog, so obviously, blogging is extremely important to them. Tim states that there is a huge emphasis on blogging there, but he also emphasizes that personal blogging is extremely important and allows your to establish your brand. There wasn’t too much to say, other than blogging is extremely beneficial and important to not only the company, but to you. Seeing how successful Huffington Post is when it’s practically a blog goes to show how important and beneficial blogs really are.

Metrics & Analytics

This was an interesting topic during the interview, since Tim stated that they are very fortunate and actually have people that build tools right at Huffington Post to monitor trends. So far, we have learned different kinda of metrics, such as audience metrics, engagement metrics, social listening & monitoring, customer service, demographics, etc. Some examples of the kinds of metrics that are studied at Huffington Post are: when posts are being shared, what the engagement will be on the post (how many re-tweets, replies, clicks), and  how many active registered users month after month and week after week. While there are many more, those are the few that he touched upon. One of my favorite quotes throughout the entire interview was when he was talking about metrics & analytics. He stated, “We need to stop looking at the big numbers, and start looking at the little numbers that create big results.”

Conclusion

It was really great to get a community manager’s perspective on the topics that we have discussed so far this semester. It was great to get a real-world example of the importance of these topics as well. Tim provided great insight and allowed me to learn a great deal not only about Huffington Post, but about the role that a community manager plays. Lastly, when speaking about a community manager, Tim states, “We are the experts of nothing, yet we know the experts of everything.”

The entire video can be viewed here: Interview with Community Manager Tim McDonald

Community Managers vs. Social Media Managers: What’s the Difference?

In today’s media landscape, the terms “community manager” and “social media manager” have more or less become synonymous. This practice of interchanging these two roles, however, is highly inaccurate. Let’s investigate this unruly phenomenon and hopefully, by shedding some light on it, we can change our behavior (yes, I mean “our,” as in, I’ve fell victim to this, too).

Back to square one

Let’s bring it back to basics. If you talk to a lot of people, you work in social media. Social media managers want to reach every person who participates in a conversation with the brand, and truly make for an engaging experience.  If you try to get a lot of people to talk to each other, you work in community management. Community managers essentially look to eliminate their own jobs — they want the brand to come to the point where users are talking to each other, so they act as the brand’s own personal defense.

You know you want it…

 

After reading through this article, even though I thought I was “bringing it back to the basics,” I found myself more confused. I see the clear distinction that is being made here, but I asked myself, “Don’t community managers use social media to get lots of people talking to each other?” It’s safe to say that these roles have become blurred.

Especially in the consumer space (versus the business-to-business space), the audience is a lot larger and broader, and it is not always as easy to decide which person — the social media manager or the community manager — should be the one to jump in first. This idea brought up another thought in my mind: we often generalize social media, much like the roles of social media manager and community manager, and clump it into one big responsibility. However, the nature of the content produced and the platforms used truly depends on the nature of the brand. B2B brands need strong community managers and social media managers, just like consumer brands do.

So if both comm. and social media mgmt. involve social media…

What’s all this “other stuff” everyone keeps referring to that community managers are also involved with? It’s never made clear that community managers have both online and offline responsibilities. Jenn Pedde (@JPeddesums it up best:

So what does a community manager do?

Communication, moderation, guideline writing, engaging day to day online (forums, owned communities, blogs, newsletters) and offline (events, conferences, meet-ups), strategy, working with the social teams/marketing/support/product/PR/management, surveying, customer service, and a variety of other activities.

Living and learning in a digital era, it’s easy to forget that communities offline are just as — if not more important than — communities online. A lot of the conversation about the brand happens online, but we see the results of such conversations take form in an offline realm. These conversations are only really worth it if the audience can translate what they’re saying into real actions in the “real world.”

Everyone loves examples
@Sharpie benefits from a social media manager, who's engagement with the audience makes for fun content that speaks to the brand identity.

@Sharpie benefits from a social media manager, who’s engagement with the audience makes for fun content that speaks to the brand identity.

Just incase it’s not entirely clear, here are two examples of work done by a community manager and work done by a social media manager. Community managers are more focused on socially or conversationally enabled content and responding to comments. Sharpie (@Sharpie) is great example of a brand that does not necessarily benefit from a community manager, as the business model cannot support deep relationship development, but benefits highly from unique user-generated content that social media managers would create.

The online web store Etsy is a great example of a brand that is well-supported by a community manager. In order to get users conversing with one another, the community managers at Etsy hold events, create webinars and curate collections. By doing so, Etsy is giving users opportunities for users with shared interests, etc. to collaborate. Thus, if the collaboration is successful, users feel a new sense of loyalty to Etsy because they owe this newfound success to the brand itself.

 

 

Etsy community page

Etsy community page 

Now that you know how to spot the difference between a community manager and a social media manager, which do you think your brand could benefit from best? Maybe you’ll even want to pursue one of these roles as a future career!

Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager: What’s The Difference?

Social media has become such an integrated part of our world that it almost expected that everyone knows how to use social media. However, there are professional roles designated for brands and companies that allow social media and community management to intertwine. The two roles, social media manager and community manager, often get confused between one another. However, there are distinct differences between the two that must be noted. In an article by Vanessa DiMauro, the differences between the two are shared. 

The Social Media Manager

According to DiMauro, a social media manager is someone who “operates from the edges of the company, managing brand recognition and reputation outside of the scope of the brand website.” By acting as someone who oversees the company rather than someone who is directly communicating with users, a social media manager can provide followers with an overview of the company while also marketing, managing public relations, and working with sales. As someone who has to coordinate with different departments so much, it is important that the social media manger is well informed about higher level aspects of the company.

The Community Manger

Conversely, the community manager “operates from deep within the company, managing customer relationships with a brand or product, and each other.” As opposed to a social media manager, a community manager is much more involved with the actual people who associate with a brand of project. It is important for a community manager to know the people who interact with a brand so they can make connections, share ideas among others, and connect people within a community when necessary. A strong aspect of being a community manager relates to allowing others to collaborate and relate to one another.

A chart DiMauro uses in her article to illustrate the differences between a community manager and a social media manager.

A chart DiMauro uses in her article to illustrate the differences between a community manager and a social media manager.

Do The Lines Overlap? 

In her article, DiMauro acknowledges that although the two roles do have different responsibilities, there is certainly some overlap. However, she tries to dissolve that confusion by creating a chart that outlines the differences between the two jobs. I cannot help but still feel that  distinguishing responsibilities between the two can be confusing. Although I can see that social media managers really manage the brand while community managers manage the people and relationships, I do sense that there is a sense of overlap between the two roles. Both positions utilize similar tools in order to accomplish their jobs: social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter allow both people to monitor the people that are interacting with their company. Both may also use similar analytical tools to monitor how their community is growing and who is interacting a brand. Although this information is used in different ways, both people work with these tools to efficiently do their jobs. The social media manager and the community manager may ultimately have different goals, but the overlap between their methodologies can certainly be confusing.

Do you agree there’s a difference between community manager and social media manager? Is there anything else to add? Share in the comments below! 

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?

Community Manager versus Social Media Manager Recap

One of the main discussions over the course of the semester for #CMGRClass was about defining the role of a Community Manager. Other topics surrounding this issue we have also discussed include:

-How the role of a Community Manager differs from that of a Social Media Manager

-What the confusion of roles means when searching for jobs in these fields

I am going to use this post to break down what I have learned and sum up a semester’s worth of discussions in one post! My definitions might seem vague, but that is because these roles will have different responsibilities from day to day and roles can differ depending on the company/industry. But overall, this is what I have learned:nut shell

What a Community Manager Does/Needs to Have (in a Nutshell)

  • Public relations
  • Customer relations/support
  • Business development
  • Social media marketing through blogging, Twitter, Facebook
  • Plans and hosts events
  • Have their own personal brand (blog, tweet on their own)
  • Have good communication (including writing) and people skills
  • Have authenticity
  • The ability to multitask effectively

What a Social Media Manager Does/Needs to Have (in a Nutshell)

  • Creates day to day content for the organization’s social networks
  • Grow social media accounts (increase follower numbers, likes, etc.)
  • Focuses on social media analytics
  • Monitors various social networking accounts
  • Reports on social media analysis and effectiveness of strategy
  • The ability to multitask effectively
  • The ability to see the big picture (i.e. how social media fits into the overall business plan)
Social Media Managers and Community Managers should work together!

Social Media Managers and Community Managers should work together!

I’m not sure where I read/heard this, so unfortunately I cannot attribute, but I believe this sums up the above bullet points into one cohesive idea:

A social media manager interacts on behalf of the company from the actual company account (e.g. @cmgrchat), where as a community manager interacts on behalf of the company from their own personal account (e.g. @jPedde or @KellyLux).

Why Knowing the Difference Between a Community Manager and a Social Media Manager is Helpful

Knowing the differences between a community manager and a social media manager will not only help you, but it will help your current and/or future employer.  Here are some examples of how:

  • When searching for jobs, you will know the key words to look for in each position
  • When hiring a CM or an SM you will know what skill sets you are looking for in your future employer
  • If you have a good understanding of your role, you can do a better job
  • When the CM and SM know their separate roles, they can find the best ways to work together effectively
  • By making a distinction between roles, you can find out where you need improvement (building your community or analyzing data?)

 *     *     *

There is still so much to learn when it comes to social media management and community management. It is constantly evolving which makes it such an exciting industry to work in.

What other takeaways have you learned this semester?

 

Finally, a job description for Community Management!

Time has certainly flown by! This is the last weekly blog post for CMGR Class and we’ll be concentrating on the job description of a Community Manager (CM). Based on the various materials that we have read throughout the semester, there seems to be a lot of confusion in the industry as to the specific responsibilities of a Community Manager. For the last readings, we concentrated on the definition of a Community Manager and what they should be doing in a company.

The Community ManagerStandard Definition of a Community Manager

Some companies in the industry have a very difficult time with defining a Community Manager’s responsibilities. According to Erin Bury’s article, a Community Manager is the face of the company and handles managing both incoming and outgoing communications. Depending on the company, this may or may not be beyond the expected roles that a singular person will take on. The Community Manager will work with existing Marketing, HR, and “Digital-Savvy” employees to ensure that the correct voice is being portrayed across all platforms.

Erin goes on to list some common responsibilities that a Community Manager may face, I believe the most important of which being content creation, customer relations and communication/marketing strategy for the company. Content is king and without it you have nothing to show for your efforts. Check out Lindsay Stein’s article that explains the trend of content being used as a valuable asset in the industry. Interacting with customers through major social media platforms is important for public relations and the sustainable growth of the community.

Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager

Based on the various articles that we have come across for the past 13 weeks, there is a difference between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager. Many companies seem to use both titles interchangeably, which can be confusing to people attempting to enter the industry. There is no solid defined way to approach either position, but generally the main difference between Social Media manager is the concentration on only handling a company’s presence on major social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Community Managers should be handling the connection with people and the creation and sustainable growth of a community. There needs to be a clear definition of what your target audience is and how you will be measured for success. SMART goals are key when defining the role of either a Community Manager or Social Media Manager in your company. The role also needs to be scoped correctly; don’t overwhelm the position with random responsibilities that would fall more into a Marketing-specific role, such as creating print advertisements or creating internal correspondence for the Human Resources department.

Final Thoughts

This class has taught me what a Community Manager does and how they can add value to an agency. I believe that the role will be more clearly defined as companies implement it. Only time will tell if there will always be this mixture of social media / community management in a singular role.

An Interview with Amber Giuliano, Thunderbird Social Media Manager

Thunderbird

Thunderbird Backpack Logo

The Thunderbird School of Global Management is ranked as the number one school for international business programs and is famed for its “Thunderbird Mystique”, the unique culture which binds together its student and alumni community. As a student at Thunderbird, I took courses and dragged my beloved Thunderbird backpack (see remnants in photo to the right) across five different continents learning about international business and global culture. The famed Thunderbird global community (over 40,000 strong) is represented in almost every country around the world; consequently, I was excited to interview Amber Giuliano, their Social Media Manager (and online Community Manager) in order to learn what Thunderbird is doing to extend their community of students and alumni into the world of social media.

Amber’s Background in Social Media

Amber was one of the early adopters of Facebook, at a time when you still needed a college email address and primarily identified with a university community. After some years in local government and public relations, she came to Thunderbird to work in the Executive Education group. From there she moved to the Career Management Center where she managed their Twitter and Facebook accounts before moving on to the marketing department. A short while later the school’s public relations specialist took another position and handed off the institutional social media accounts to her, which included Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. After a reorganization, her current position of Social Media Manager was created, consolidating control of the school’s social media presence within the Marketing department. Google+ has since been added to her purview.

Community Management at Thunderbird

At Thunderbird, the Social Media Manager is primarily responsible for community management of the online communities. The Director of Alumni Relations and the Global Community Engagement Manager also do community management work, but mostly in a more traditional sense. The Director of Alumni Relations is the first point of contact for alumni looking to connect or reconnect with the school and manages most communication with the alumni network on behalf of the school. The Global Community Engagement Manager manages the campus ambassador and global ambassador programs and works with them to coordinate face-to-face events like the monthly worldwide First Tuesday networking events, preview weekends, prospective student events, and many more.

Scaling the Thunderbird Community

Facebook and Twitter have not needed much help scaling, because they have grown steadily each day. Thunderbird promotes its social channels via the alumni magazine, monthly newsletters, and cross-promotes via other social channels. As new channels increase in popularity, Thunderbird researches and evaluates the value of reaching that new audience versus spreading their brand too thin. Social media is ever-changing; consequently, half of the job is keeping up with what’s new.

Approach to Metrics

Because the lead-matriculation cycle is so long and people can enter it through multiple points, it is very difficult to track if a prospective student matriculates as a 100% direct result of social media efforts. Currently Thunderbird measures things like the number of fans/followers, engagement (likes + comments + shares divided by the number of followers) in a month over month and year over year cycle. For analytic tools they are now experimenting with HootSuite.

The Future

The role of Social Media Manager is new to the school, starting just last fall as the result of combining marketing and communications. Since then a lot of time has been spent strategizing, setting up calendars, developing key internal relationships, and just making sure each of the channels were fully up and running, and being regularly updated. Currently, they are researching and evaluating several different tool solutions including HubSpot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud and are hoping to purchase one of these tools in the next fiscal year.

As a student who enjoyed the internal community of Thunderbird students, I am looking forward to participating with my fellow alumni in the new social media communities being supported by Amber. What are other universities doing to keep their student communities engaged after graduation? If you’ve graduated, what benefits have you experienced from remaining engaged with your alma mater?