Online Community Management: Yes, it's really a job


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A presentation about community management as a career. It covers these topics:
* Defining Community
* Community Manager Jobs
* - * Examples of Community Manager Jobs
* - * What They Do & Skills Required
* - * Salaries and Career Paths
* Guiding Principles and Best Practices

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Online Community Management: Yes, it's really a job

  1. 1. 01/27/09 1 Online Community Manager Yes, It's Really a Job Dawn Foster Fast Wonder Consulting
  2. 2. 01/27/09 2 Agenda ● Defining Community ● Community Manager Jobs – Examples of Community Manager Jobs – What They Do & Skills Required – Salaries and Career Paths ● Guiding Principles and Best Practices 2
  3. 3. 01/27/09 3 What is this thing we call community? 3 In Person Community Activities
  4. 4. 01/27/09 4 What is this thing we call community? 4 Broad Community Sites
  5. 5. 01/27/09 5 What is this thing we call community? 5 Corporate / Customer Communities
  6. 6. 01/27/09 6 What is this thing we call community? 6 Virtual Communities
  7. 7. 01/27/09 7 Why Have an Online Community ● People: gives people a place to engage with your company, organization, or product ● Innovation: get feedback on products or ideas from many people ● Collaboration: work jointly with people toward a common goal ● Evangelism: help you grow evangelists for your cause or products ● Loyalty: engagement can drive a tremendous amount of loyalty toward your efforts 7
  8. 8. 01/27/09 8 Community Manager Jobs ““Jobs of the future, #1: Online CommunityJobs of the future, #1: Online Community OrganizerOrganizer ...... If you were great at this, I'd imagine you'd neverIf you were great at this, I'd imagine you'd never ever have trouble finding good work.”ever have trouble finding good work.” --Seth Godin--Seth Godin
  9. 9. 01/27/09 9 Job Market ● Recent Hires – Current TV – Sega – QT Software – reddit ““It's a hot job. We only expect it to get hotter.It's a hot job. We only expect it to get hotter. Every smart business now communicates online, withEvery smart business now communicates online, with customers, with employees and with the world at large.”customers, with employees and with the world at large.” --Marshall Kirkpatrick (November)--Marshall Kirkpatrick (November) from ReadWriteWebfrom ReadWriteWeb ● Job Openings Now – Record label – Rosetta Stone – MMO gaming company – KaBOOM!
  10. 10. 01/27/09 10 Examples of Community Manager Jobs
  11. 11. 01/27/09 11 Community Managers What do we do? – Ongoing Facilitation – Content Creation – Evangelism – Community Evolution What Skills do we need? – Patience – Networking – Communication – Facilitation – Technical Skills – Marketing – Self-Motivation – Workaholic Tendencies – Organization
  12. 12. 01/27/09 12 Job Satisfaction Source: ForumOne August 2008
  13. 13. 01/27/09 13 Community Manager Compensation Source: ForumOne August 2008
  14. 14. 01/27/09 14 Compensation By Age Source: ForumOne August 2008
  15. 15. 01/27/09 15 People are Watching You Translation: People see everything you do in the community. Be a good example of the “right” behavior. ““My eyes see.My eyes see. His eyes see.His eyes see. I see him.I see him. And he sees me.And he sees me. And so we say,And so we say, ““Hooray for eyes!Hooray for eyes! Hooray, hooray, hooray...Hooray, hooray, hooray... ... for eyes!”... for eyes!”
  16. 16. 01/27/09 16 Guiding Principles and Best Practices
  17. 17. 01/27/09 17 Community Ownership ● The community "owns" the community ● The community manager or company who starts a community: – owns the infrastructure – facilitates the discussions – moderates and keeps people in check ● If you don't play nice with the community, the community will take discussions elsewhere ● Like hosting a party 17
  18. 18. 01/27/09 18 Guiding Principles: It's All About the People ● Focus on the individuals: Participate as a person, not a corporate drone ● Be Sincere: Sincerity = believability & credibility ● Not all about you: Community is about conversation, which is by definition two-way ● Be a Part of the Community: Don't try to control the community ● Everyone’s a Peer: You are not the expert; knowledge comes from everywhere 18
  19. 19. 01/27/09 19 Play Nice Translation: Play Nice: Be polite and respectful in your interactions with other members "I'm the Lorax who speaks for"I'm the Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem tothe trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as yoube chopping as fast as you please.please. NOW...thanks to your hackingNOW...thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground, there'smy trees to the ground, there's not enough Truffula Fruit to gonot enough Truffula Fruit to go 'round.'round. And my poor Bar-bar-loots areAnd my poor Bar-bar-loots are all getting the crummiesall getting the crummies because they have gas, and nobecause they have gas, and no food in their tummies!"food in their tummies!"
  20. 20. 01/27/09 20 What Makes a Community Work? ● Open, inclusive and transparent ● Listening to good and bad feedback ● Actively engaged in the community ● Encouraging new members ● Making it easy for people to participate ● Integration into other relevant areas of the site ● Responding to criticism (never deleting negative comments) 20
  21. 21. 01/27/09 21 Communities to Avoid ● Community is lip service, not a serious endeavor ● Pushing marketing messages takes precedence over 2-way collaboration ● Community software / configuration / policies that get in the way of collaboration ● Neglected communities where no one monitors or responds to discussions ● Overrun with spam and bad behavior 21
  22. 22. 01/27/09 22 Flickr: Community Done Well ● Clear and simple guidelines (ex. Don’t be creepy. You know the guy. Don't be that guy.) ● Easy to use and intuitive to participate (comments, favorites, tags, notes) ● Transparency about people (profile, favorites, groups, etc.) ● Private, public ● Little things: Comments you've made 22
  23. 23. 01/27/09 23 Dealing with the Difficult ● Negative Comments: Do not delete negative feedback. Respond constructively ● Spammers: Put aggressive measures in place to deal with spam ● Pain in the ***s: Put them to work if possible 23
  24. 24. 01/27/09 24 Don't Feed the Trolls Translation: Don't encourage the trolls. They want attention. Resist the urge to give it to them! ““oh-oh!” Sally said.oh-oh!” Sally said. Don't you talk to that cat.Don't you talk to that cat. That cat is a bad one,That cat is a bad one, That Cat in the Hat.That Cat in the Hat. He plays lots of bad tricks.He plays lots of bad tricks. Don't you let him come near.Don't you let him come near. You know what he didYou know what he did The last time he was here.”The last time he was here.”
  25. 25. 01/27/09 25 Why Do People Participate? ● Motivation is complex (multiple influences) ● If people aren't motivated, they won't participate ● Promotion must take motivation into account 25 PassionPassion DevelopDevelop SkillsSkills LearningLearning Status &Status & RecognitionRecognition CareerCareer AdvancementAdvancement SocialSocial FunFun FinancialFinancial GiftGift CultureCulture WorkWork
  26. 26. 01/27/09 26 Promotion ● Use existing promotional methods ● With any new community, run a limited beta with people you trust. Get their feedback and let them help promote it to others ● Augment traditional community efforts with social media: corporate & personal blogs, audio, video, Twitter, Facebook, etc. ● Incentivize people to join & participate 26
  27. 27. 01/27/09 27 Promotional No-No’s ● Do not use your community to sell anything – Use your community to get people excited about your products – If you get people excited, they will figure out how to buy it. ● Do not promote your community on competitor's sites (slimy) ● Do not use social media (twitter, facebook, blogs, etc.) with the sole purpose of pimping – Talk about your ideas, thoughts, and products with a personal spin (what YOU are doing) 27
  28. 28. 01/27/09 28 Make it Fun Translation: Have fun! Lighten it up occasionally! Why do you sit there like that?Why do you sit there like that? I know it is wet.I know it is wet. And the sun is not sunny.And the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of goodBut we can have lots of good fun that is funny!fun that is funny! I know some good games weI know some good games we could play.could play. I know some new tricks.I know some new tricks. I will show them to you.I will show them to you. Your mother will not mind atYour mother will not mind at all if I do.all if I do.
  29. 29. 01/27/09 29 Q & A Additional Reading: ● Great Blogs with Job Listings: ● ● ● About Dawn: ● Online Community and Social Media Consultant ● More Info: ● ● @geekygirldawn on Twitter 29
  30. 30. 01/27/09 30 Backup Materials aka random slides from other presentations that might (or might not) be interesting for you
  31. 31. 01/27/09 31 Where (and how) to Participate ● Industry Communities (PCWorld, etc.) – Participation by subject experts (not marketing) – Find people passionate about the topic and have them participate as part of their job ● Blogging (corporate & personal) – Talk about ideas, thoughts, & industry trends – Comment on other blogs with insightful information ● Social Media sites – Engage as people on Facebook, Twitter, etc. with discussions about your job as one part 31
  32. 32. 01/27/09 32 Where and How NOT to Participate ● Do not participate on competitor's sites (considered slimy & bad manners) • Do quietly monitor competitor’s communities and learn from them ● Do not participate in communities solely to pimp your products. If you can't participate as a person with diverse interests, then have someone else do it ● Do not mention your products in every post or comment. Talk about the industry first & your products second 32
  33. 33. 01/27/09 33 Clear Purpose is Key (start here) ● Do you need to build new or can you leverage an existing community ● What do you hope to accomplish and what are your goals for the community? ● What is your overall strategy and how does the community fit with it? ● What are your plans for achieving your goals and how will you measure it? ● Do you have the resources (people & $) to maintain it long-term? 33
  34. 34. 01/27/09 34 Incorporation into Existing Efforts ● Look at your overall strategy ● Find the places where community fits in: – People can engage with your company – Product Innovation & get product feedback – Evangelism to help you grow evangelists (outside) – Brand Loyalty for your products. ● Articulate a clear purpose for the community ● Promote it using traditional channels ● Use social media to further grow your community 34
  35. 35. 01/27/09 35 Be Flexible Translation: Be flexible. Improvements and ideas come from unexpected places. Never budge!Never budge! That's my rule.That's my rule. Never budgeNever budge in the least!in the least! Not an inch to the west!Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!Not an inch to the east! I'll stay here, not budging!I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I willI can and I will If it makes you and me and theIf it makes you and me and the whole world stand still.whole world stand still.
  36. 36. 01/27/09 36 No Community is Perfect ● Things will go wrong – Your community software will have bugs – Someone will get defensive or irate – Companies have PR nightmares (remember Pentium floating pt issue?) ● In great communities, the company responds effectively – Addresses the issue and works to resolve it quickly – Keeps the focus on summarizing and fixing, instead of blaming and justifying – Maintains open communication channels 36
  37. 37. 01/27/09 37 Reputation Systems ● The Good – People like points & recognition – Encourages participation – Highlight and reward key members ● The Bad – They will game it! – Does this make it worthless? ● The Practical – Transparency – Members award points – Adjust over time
  38. 38. 01/27/09 38 Participate Where it Makes Sense ● Your own community ● Related communities where your audience is already participating ● Blogging (personal and corporate) ● Audio & video (YouTube/Vimeo/BlipTv) ● Twitter ● Facebook ● Many others 38
  39. 39. 01/27/09 39 Community Structures and Adoption ● Emergent – Pros: Easy to implement, User buy-in, Unanticipated structure – Cons: Writer's block, Off-topic ● Highly Structured – Pros: Control, Clear expectations – Cons: Restrictive, Inflexible, Community resistance, Structure that doesn't work for community ● Adaptive – Pros: User buy-in, Some control, Evolve in unanticipated positive directions – Cons: Less Control, User traction required 39
  40. 40. 01/27/09 40 Traditional Promotion (Customers) ● Use your existing promotional vehicles to reach your customers ● Tell them about your community efforts ● Share your strategy & purpose with them ● Incentivize them to join & participate ● With any new community, run a limited beta for customers. Get their feedback and let them help promote it to others 40
  41. 41. 01/27/09 41 Social Media Engagement ● Augment traditional community efforts with social media ● Blog about your community efforts on company & personal blogs (make sure your blogs are listed) ● Use Audio / Video to share information relevant to your community. Host it on popular sites (YouTube, etc.) and embed it in your community ● Talk about what you are doing on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites 41
  42. 42. 01/27/09 42 On Domain or Off Domain: Strategic Decision ● – More focus on your products – Clarity about who facilitates the community – Authority source for product info (features, etc.) ● Off-Domain (, etc.) – Focus on a segment or industry – Accept discussions about competitors – Possibly better perception of neutrality – Slightly less authority about your products42
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