Tag Archive for social

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?

Walk in the Shoes of a Social Media Manager

If you want to know what it’s like to be a social media manager, just as Maren Guse, Assistant Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University (SU). She’s one of the brains behind the operation that keeps SU tweeting, posting, and sharing.

Introductions First

Guse is responsible for content across SU’s main flagship social accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, among others. I had the chance to sit down with her and pick her brain about what it means to be a social media manager to her.

“What I do is oversee the accounts on social media under the flagship accounts, so everything that is branded “Syracuse University.” What we do is provide content on those channels and then develop conversations around that content that relates back to our brand.”

The Brand

Yes, SU is a brand. After all, they have an image to uphold, and social media can either be a blessing or a curse for any brand. When done right, social media with the help of an effective social media manager can have large and positive impact on a brand.

The first thing that I learned from Maren is that in order to do your job well you need to understand both your brand and your audience(s). Most of the time you will have multiple audiences, and that is important to recognize too.

The Audiences

What do I mean by multiple audiences? Well, for instance, Maren monitors and interacts on multiple social channels, like the ones I mentioned above. They don’t all have the same audience, so Maren needs to recognize those unique audiences and tailor content on each platform to best fit the needs of the users. Facebook has a more alumni based audience, where Twitter is made up of mostly current and prospective students. See what I mean?

The Job

Maren explained her job as a social media manager well,

“It means to develop conversations with people and foster dialogue around a brand, but also to get the University into those conversations.”

Sometimes it is starting conversations, other times its joining in on conversations, and other times it just means listening. All of these are important, and all of them require planning. Any effective social media manager knows that you can’t just sit down in front of a computer and start tweeting. Maren explains that content calendars help plan day-to-day content, and regular meeting help create long-term plans too.

Yes, it is social media, which means it can be unexpected at time. That’s where listening becomes important, and then thinking on your feet comes into play.

Maren also spoke about using tools to help you collaborate and manage. Tools like Google Docs and Tweetdeck are Maren’s go-to, but anything that helps a social media manager listen and interact across multiple channels, and to collaborate with their staff will do.

The Take-away

The biggest take-away from my conversation with Maren was to always be listening, always be adaptive, and always be human. By being human, a brand can make connections, create a community, and build meaningful relationships.

Are you a community manager, do you aspire to be? How do your experiences compare? Comment below or tweet me @JaredMandel

Community Management: How to Get Hired

Land a job as a community manager! (photo via http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/interview23.jpg)

The job of “community manager” hasn’t necessarily been defined before a few years ago, especially in the digital space. But students are flooding from colleges after graduation to potential employers in an effort to get hired as a community manager. But what are employers looking for? How can you prepare for your interview? Is this industry right for you?

Here are three skills/tips you need to get hired as a community manager:

1. Strong communications skills

This one seems obvious, but some people think that just because this job is “digital” but this job has plenty offline aspects as well. A community manager must be a strong writer, speaker and really understand people. A public relations background is always helpful, especially in time of crisis and dealing with the consumer. It’s a people business, so if you don’t like people then you probably shouldn’t be applying! The “management” aspect of the job also falls under this category. The best bosses and managers have employees that love them because they’re strong communicators and get their message across. We learn about the importance of transparency but you can’t be transparent unless you know how to get your message out there. The business is all about storytelling, which is why strong communications stills are so important.

2. Organized

Organization is key and your employer will be able to sense if you aren’t organized. If you aren’t organized you’ll probably be in way over your head in the business. A community manager deals with so much data and information. There are tons of numbers to analyze and make sense of and then apply to your strategy. One major aspect of community management is content curation. Bringing together a ton of different content from different platforms and making sense of it is another reason why community managers need to stay organized. Without good organizational skills, it would be hard to make sense of why you were curating the content and the message behind it.

3. Be a member of your community

This is the most important tip of all because if you aren’t a member of your community and truly engaged in it, you wont be successful as a community manager. You must be able to understand the community members and I don’t think that’s possible unless you’re a member of the community as a whole. So if you’re trying to get hired, don’t go into a job interview and have no idea about the company or community because you wont get hired. Research the community and start playing a role in it before heading into your interview. Show your employer that you care about the community, because if you can be a part of it, you can manage it.

Fore more great tips for prospective community managers, check out this article.

There’s No “I” in Team

#CMGRClass - 10/15 Panel

#CMGRClass – 10/15 Panel

After hearing from a few community management professionals it’s clear that no matter what kind of community you have, it takes a team to maintain it and it revolves around customer engagement. Three great examples of people who know a thing or two about community management are Morgan Johnston from JetBlue, David Yarus from MRY and Nick Cicero from LiveFyre. They all agreed that a community wouldn’t exist without a strategically created team behind it, and that transparency, engagement and treating humans like humans are keys to success. They also all come from different types of companies with different communities, but those core values stay the same throughout.

JetBlue:

Johnston said that the first principals of JetBlue were talk and engage with customers. It was a strategy that translated nicely to the social spaces. JetBlue is known for its engagement with customers, but with such a large audience, it takes a solid team to manage the thousands of mentions the social accounts get every day. Johnston said social has become everyones responsibilities. With educational programs teaching more social theory and with social becoming an important part of lives of millennials, everyone has that base knowledge of social media so everyone has to contribute to those responsibilities.

JetBlue’s operation is broken up into three teams: corporate communications, which handles the overall narrative, marketing, which tells brand stories and customer support, which handles the day-to-day engagement JetBlue is known for. There is also a group looking at customer insights. They examine all analytics, which allows the strategists to make adjustments as a brand.

Key point: It’s all about transparency. The customer should know why you make the decisions you make.

MRY:

Yarus said MRY thrives on brand ambassadors. The communities they manage are small and consist of influencers and thought leaders, which is different than JetBlue’s community. It all come down to knowing the community and what information will work will among them.

Yarus said distribution broken down into paid, owned, earned, experiential and analytics groups with a flat power structure that allows all members of community management to have an equal say. He noted that the community manager is the most vital piece of the puzzle as they are the eyes, ears and voice of the people.

Key point: “We’re all people.” Why does everything have to be so formal? Treat people like people for real results.

LiveFyre:

Cicero said LiveFyre’s community is made up of community managers, giving yet another interesting perspective on the field. It doesn’t matter if you have a background in digital, social or community building, you still need to understand how to communicate to be successful. Communication may seem basic, but it’s a tool many lack. It goes back to Yarus’ point about treating people like people. If you know how to communicate as a person, your community will respond.

Cicero said the marketing and customer service teams handle the community management. But LiveFyre didn’t hire a strategist until Cicero last December. He noted the importance of a strategist in determining overall voice and crisis management protocol. LiveFyre’s role is interesting because since their customers are community managers, they take on more of a mentorship role. But it all came back to being a team player and knowing how to work with these customers when they need help with their communities.

Key point: