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.

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