Tag Archive for Syracuse

Chatting with Sunny

Syracuse Media Group

The inside of Syracuse Media Group, where Sunny works. Taken from Syracuse.com

When choosing a community manager to interview for CMGR class, I knew I wanted to talk to someone local. Syracuse has a great local community based around pride and support of the city. There is a core group of people in Syracuse who love the city and are doing great work to make it a great place to be. Sunny Hernandez is one of those people.

I first learned of Sunny through Twitter, appropriately. She seemed like the person to know, many of the people that I admire were following her and having conversations. I followed her to stay in the loop on local happenings and see how she managed her social media. Sunny gives off this vibe that makes you think that she is a good friend, and I perked up everytime I saw her in my Twitter feed even though I had never formally met her. It made sense that she works for Syracuse.com as a Community Manager, since she is able to easily engage with people through the medium of social media.

Sunny graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Sociology. This degree came in handy in the future as she taught in the area. To raise funding for her program and to raise awareness, she ventured into the world of social media. From there she took off, becoming immersed in the local Twitter community, taking social media focused jobs, and learning about Community Management.

Her current job at Syracuse.com involves managing the Twitter and Facebook accounts, writing community blog posts, and moderating the comments section of the articles. Since Syracuse.com is the largest digital news organization for Central New York, it is up to Sunny and her team to manage the community. Syracuse.com’s digital strategy is transitioning away from solely broadcasting local news and towards being more engaging. With this in mind, Sunny is strategic about the stories that she shares on social media, thinking of what the community would respond well to. I thought it was interesting that she stated that a big part of her job is knowing the community. I never realized to the extent that Community Managers are always mindful of that, and how absolute it is. If you are not familiar with your community, then you will not be able to connect them in the best way possible.

I was also interested to hear that they do use featured posts, where they ask for photos from people in the community to feature. Sunny also will reach out to a community member who has posted a comment on an article, and ask them if they will elaborate on the topic. Sometimes they even have an article of comments that people have posted. These are all great ways to encourage discussion and promote engagement with the community.

Lastly, another interesting point that Sunny brought up was the community guidelines. These are in place to make sure that the comments that people are posting are constructive and appropriate. Surprisingly, it does a lot to help monitor the comments, Sunny refers to it when she has to talk to someone about their unacceptable comment to keep everything under control. She even finds the community self-moderating, politely pointing out the guidelines to each other. This is a sign of a great, constructive community!

It was a pleasure to talk to Sunny and discuss the community-building of Syracuse.com. The one thing that I would recommend, is to hold events to reward community members and foster a stronger sense of community. Making the community more visible and central will bring everyone in the community closer together, and humanize the people behind the posts. Overall, I think they are moving in the right direction towards achieving a close and engaged community.

Video interview

 

Hanging out with three leaders in the CM community

For our #CMGRClass hangout last week, we had the amazing privilege of speaking with three community management professionals: David Yarus (@DavidYarus), CM at MRY; Morgan Johnston (@MHJohnston), Corporate Communications Manager at Jet Blue; and Nick Cicero (@NickCicero), Lead Social Strategist at Livefyre. Here’s a look into what they had to say.

Not all community management environments are created equal

Well, not exactly. They’re all just different. I found it fascinating to learn about the different team settings and how the setups of the various teams truly depend on the nature of the business. This sounds obvious, but I don’t find that to be the case. Each company or agency has its own brand, and uses that when it defines roles and organizational structure. Early on in the hangout, Nick mentioned that he believes job positions are much more definable today. These definitions have definitely evolved since the CM space first emerged, but I don’t know if they are yet definable to a point of satisfaction. Now, we just have a better idea of the types of roles we need filled for any given organization, but the description of that role will vary (drastically, or not,) from place to place.

All three men came from very different team backgrounds. At David’s agency, MRY, there is a distribution team that is responsible for media that is paid, earned, owned, and experiential and analytics. CMs work with this distribution team to create content, develop strategy, and monitor feeds. Specifically, David works with a community of influencers and brand ambassadors for Bobble and Spotify, among others.

At Jet Blue, Morgan is the head of the corporate communications department. He works with marketing and customer support departments to be sure that all communication is in check and stays in line with Jet Blue’s brand identity (for which he is also partially responsible). He works with Jet Blue’s customer insight team also uses a net promoter score as a way to constantly gauge the satisfaction of their customers; they survey, through a variety of media, “How likely are you to promote/recommend Jet Blue to a friend or family?” Aside from the 20+ team at Jet Blue corporate, there is a group of over 1000 employees in Salt Lake City who respond to the community at large (besides social channels): emails, phone calls, whatever it is, you name it, they respond to it.

Nick is a member of the strategy team at Livefyre, a real-time conversation and social curation tool. As a member of the strategy team, he works with the clients who use the Livefyre tools — other community managers. He helps them to use these products more effectively and how to better manage their communities. His strategy then coordinates with the customer and marketing teams to make for integrated communications.

Unique, not different

Okay, so maybe I was being a little harsh before. It’s not the differences that set these work environments apart, but rather, their unique qualities. It’s what these community managers are bringing to their respective workplaces to elevate their work.

At MRY, it’s that David likes to remove the idea of the screen away from the conversation. He constantly reminds himself to remember that there is a person on the other side of it, and to treat them as such. By breaking these barriers and treating people like people, simple tasks get accomplished a lot faster and a lot more efficiently. Completely unrelated, David also conducted this entire G+ hangout from the New York streets via his iPhone. I just love technology.

At Jet Blue, it’s that Morgan’s audience experiences the product/brand in real time. Although this can be frustrating and stressful at times (especially if the feedback is negative), it actually gives Jet Blue opportunities for wins; as David described, real-time gives brands the chance to “over-deliver, surprise, and delight.”

My own interaction with @JetBlue on Twitter!

My own interaction with @JetBlue on Twitter!

At Livefyre, it’s that Nick is working with people who essentially have the same job that he has. Nick works with community managers, yet he himself is a community manager of sorts. Again completely unrelated, Nick also worked with Kanye West early in his career to help grow his label’s community, so he wins at life.

 

Thanks again to David, Morgan, and Nick for hanging out with us – hope to see you all on Twitter!

#CUSEtoATL and #CUSEinATL

Our reading on brand ambassadorships coincided pretty perfectly with the Syracuse Orange’s win in the Elite Eight and the mass exodus of ‘Cuse fans, students and staff to Atlanta, Georgia. In looking at the general buzz around the Final Four game against the Michigan Wolverines, there are thousands of examples of people advocating for the “Syracuse University” brand (whether because they are paid to do so, or just want to be a part of the hype and anticipation).

I’ve been following the #CUSEtoATL feed (now #CUSEinATL, as they’ve arrived) on Twitter, and keeping an eye on the RebelMouse site (if I’m not mistaken, set up by our own Kelly Lux), and have noticed that it has taken some of the advice in our online readings to heart.

Membership is exclusive.

On a wider scale, the membership can include students and fans all over the world. But this particular journey and discussion is focused on the travel logs of a small group of SU staff members. There is an athletics and multimedia focus, because both are so centric to the tournament and its web presence. But a member of the Alumni Relations office was also along for the ride, and as she made her way south, she met with SU alumni about the “Orange network,” why they chose Syracuse, and their individual career paths.

As an aside, students were not involved on this trip, and hundreds, if not thousands of students wanted to go to Atlanta. While they did eventually get the funding and support to organize a university-sanctioned bus trip  to the Georgia Dome, it would have been awesome to see them directly involved in this social media campaign. I know it was a limited time frame, but I would have loved to see contest held for students with multimedia or social media skills apply to cover the #CUSEtoATL trip, in return for transportation.  And how awesome it would have been for them to meet alumni and fans along the way?

Connect with advocates. Provide ways for them to connect with each other. 

This is a given in the trip’s use of social media, but it’s also unique in the planning of the trip’s stops. Some of these included Eric Mower and Associates (an advertising agency with a satellite branch here in Syracuse, NY), a variety of restaurants, and other attractions. Connections were both in person and via social, and involved a variety of topics, from rats at a science museum to fun historical facts about each town visited. And the times and locations of the #CUSEtoATL team were announced beforehand, providing events for people to look forward to and post about in anticipation.

Don’t try to control the community’s message.

While it’s true that this topic was already rather specific, it’s important to note that submissions were allowed from a wide variety of people, in a variety of locations. Some moderation is always necessary, but as events occurred at different TV stations, places of employment, or involving the very youngest fans across the country, a diverse and interesting set of variations on “Go, ‘Cuse!” made it to the website.

In summary, a job well done for the members of Athletics, Marketing and Alumni Relations who went on the trip. Enjoy the game, one and all, and GO ORANGE.