Tag Archives: community managers

Could Community Managers be the key to excellent customer service?

A Community Manager is one that motivates, educates and connects with your audience online. These individuals must possess stellar communication skills and they must be properly educated on your company’s service or product. So how does the community manager differ from a customer relationship manager or a marketing manager? Many companies are asking the same question. Customerthink.com writes,that if you want to ensure that your customer experience extends beyond the store to the conversation online, then hiring a community manager (or team) to manage your online customer experience should be a priority for any organization.

How does your organization use community managers in your customer outreach?

Learn more: Fire Your Marketing Manager & Hire A Community Manager

Let us know on Twitter @customerworld

More than just talking heads: How to pick a Community Consultant

By Dawn Lacallade, Community Manager at SolarWinds

Like picking a Doctor, Lawyer or Tax Professional, picking the right Consultant can make or break your effort to build a great Community for your company or organization. I have chatted with many of you who have chosen poorly and several who have chosen well and tried to put your lessons learned into print here for others.

In my opinion, this is a lot like a good hiring process:

1. Understand who you are looking for and why

2. Find candidates that match

3. Ensure you do a good background check

1. The first thing you must do is to decide what kind of consultant you are looking for. Do you want an agency to run a campaign or someone to build a comprehensive, goals based, long term plan? Are you looking for someone to just build a plan or someone who will continue on and share best practices as you implement?

One big caution: Do not hire someone who has a focus on a single tool for an overarching strategy. It would be like going to a surgeon for diagnosis.

2. To find the best Consultants, rely on Word of Mouth. What companies do you want to emulate? Who did they use? Many of those of us in the trenches of this industry will gladly point you to a few that we respect.

Unfortunately, this space seems to attract people who manufacture credibility. Look carefully. Credibility DOES NOT equal the number of blog posts or the size of the twitter following. Look for actual experience.

3. Now that you have a couple of companies to ‘interview’, be sure to take a complete look into their backgrounds. Do the Consultants you would be working with have solid backgrounds in delivering communities? Can they show the goals that were set and the ROI they achieved? Can they customize a plan to fit you or do they use a one size fits all model? Do they have experience with a range of community tools? Can they give you contacts at the companies they have worked with as references? Are they willing and able to transfer their expertise and knowledge to you within the working relationship?

One of the most challenging things to evaluate is their ethics. A good starting point is to ensure they agree with and practice within the WOMMA code of ethics.

Face Person or a Community Manager

By Dawn Lacallade, Community Manager at SolarWinds

Someone recently asked me what qualities you should look for in someone to run your Corporate Community. While this is a great question, first you have to decide if you are looking for a ‘face person’ or a ‘community manager’. Let me explain’

First, what is a “face person”? (yes, I totally made that term up) A face person is generally a highly visible representative of the company that closely resembles the target demographic of the community. Examples of these people would include: Whurley, aka William Hurley, of BMC; Lionel Menchaca at Dell; Robert Scoble formerly of Microsoft and SolarWinds own Josh Stephens (the head geek). These people connect with the audience because they are someone the audience knows. They are experts in their area and can ‘talk shop’ with the best. These people could be experts in Community or Digital Media strategy, or not.

What to look for in a face person:
1. They have to expertise in the subjects within the community (faking this DOES NOT work)
2. They have to be real and be able to connect with the community (this includes sharing personal information and showing their personality)
3. They need to be accessible and comfortable with the online space. (ready to travel in this role- ie. conferences)
4. They need to have insights or opinions to share (or there is nothing to write about).

Do you know Sean O’Driscoll or Rachel Makool or Vida Killian? Chances are you don’t, even though they run some of the biggest communities (Microsoft, eBay & Ideastorm). While you don’t know them, be certain that the members of their communities do. A community manager is much more a practitioner that is focuses on the understanding of business goals and the steps to accomplish. Often this person will take a back seat role on the community focused more on gathering community feedback and interacting with members on community topics and less focused on having their voice heard. This person does not have to be an expert in your industry to successfully drive your community.

What to look for in a community manager:
1. They have to expertise in digital media and community management experience
2. Ability to craft a custom strategy for your community
3. Analytics skills to craft and demonstrate the ROI
4. Negotiation and collaboration skills to sell the ideas and secure support

So this begs the question: Can you find one person to be both? Absolutely you can, you just don’t have to.

What does an online community manager do?

Dawn Foster, a Community 2.0 guest blogger, has a great presentation on what community managers are and what they do. Take a second to look at the presentation. There’s also a great analysis of it at the Web Worker Daily blog.