Session Title: So You think You Can Manage a Community?
Speaker: Marcy Massura
Recently I have come across articles that like to talk about successful techniques for Community Management, but rarely do they focus on the most important ingredient; the community manager themselves. I thought I would put a list together for MY essential five things I think it takes to not only snag a job in this killer field- but to keep it– by being outrageously effective for the brand.
Be absolutely passionate about the power and potential of social media. Understand that you are not just promoting products…but you have the power to create communities of like minded people. Sure that means they are ‘like minded’ in their love of a brand- but that is nothing to sneeze at. You are at the helm. And while your purpose is to promote (which is a euphemism for SELL) the brand, you are also there to fascinate the consumer. Make sure your passion is evident to both your employer and the readers.
You must be proud of the brand. (I adore my brands.) You must use it, love it and proudly tell everyone they know that they represent the brand. Why? Well it is pretty hard to fake sincerity, even in 140 characters. Additionally- it is easy to create content for a brand/product you have personal experience using. Can fresh-out-of-college Bob write content for product targeted to mothers? Maybe. But can he do it with a convincing sincerity that will help to build the community? Probably not.
Not all brands are prepared to be in the digital area. Of course that doesn’t stop them, especially since everyone keeps telling them they HAVE to be doing social. So they hire a digital agency to build them a page(s) and hire themselves a community manager. But they are nervous, and realize this person and voice is the biggest spokesperson they have ever had. Gone are the days of being able to bury a bad quote on page 17 of the paper by making a call to a buddy after a press conference. Nope. Now, everything in the social world is broadcasted and permanent. So they want to play it conservative. Safe. The best community managers push back- just a little to help bring the brand along with creative and interactive content. But that takes guts, vision and strength.
Every time I mention I am a community manager for a large brand I almost always get the same reaction- “Wow that must be FUN”. I generally smile and say “It is. I am lucky”. But what they don’t understand is- my idea of ‘fun’ and their idea is totally different. My fun is high paced, tumultuous, last minute, long hours, stressful and jam packed with opportunities to be effective. Very few community managers are creating content with no checks and balances- most major brands have a slew of people hired to check and double check every Facebook update, every Twitter reply and more. So you need to be patient and remind yourself that it is their multi-billion dollar business that gets sued if you say something false, (likely) NOT YOU. They have every right to double and triple check and change your content (because in reality it is THEIRS) But that also means you are frequently working on tight schedules…so patience on all levels helps.
Know where YOU want to take the brand. Don’t wait for the brand to tell you what they want because chances are- they don’t know. You need to TELL THEM where you are going to take them. Do you want to increase Facebook likes? Change demographics, increase interactions, change over-all perception, build alliances, promote advocates etc etc and etc.
Community management is a fun and exciting path that many bloggers are venturing into, as a realistic career option. After all- once you fully understand the space- why not help others and grab a paycheck while you are at it. However, it is important to remember that it can be a demanding position with many pitfalls. Being the face, the voice and the consumer point of contact for a brand is a huge responsibility. One that must be treated with respect, care and love. And while I would not say I have fully mastered all 5 of these traits- I do work towards these every day.
Hear a bit more about Marcy’s topic and why she is pumped to attend BlogWorld Expo L.A. in November:
Go to our YouTube channel to see what other speakers are saying about BlogWorld.
Marcy Massura is a Community Manager at Weber Shandwick representing Oscar Mayer and Lunchables in the digital space. She is also a long time blogger, humorist and all around ‘social’ gal. Learn more than you needed to know about her at marcymassura.com or on Twitter @marcymassura. Better yet, come hear her speak at BlogWorld.