social media

LinkedIn Skill Endorsements: Flattery or faulty?

One of the best features of Linkedin has always been the ability to publicly recommend a colleague or connection. It’s like a resume reference who’s posting the reference check publicly for everyone to see (with your consent of course). Yes there may be some questionable reciprocal recommendations floating around, but for the most part, it takes time and effort to craft a worthy recommendation and since it’s public–your own reputation is potentially on the line if someone finds it to be false.

Almost a year ago (September 2012) LinkedIn rolled out a new feature ‘Skill Endorsements’, this is the “Lite” version of recommendations. If you don’t have time or feel fully comfortable personally recommending someone, you can endorse a few of their skills.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

You can always find two sides of a story: the positive is that skill endorsements are a great way to assess someone’s stated skills (if someone says they are an expert at something, but it’s not endorsed by their connections, you might question that expertise..). It validates anything someone states in his or her profile.

The bad part? Well a lowered barrier to entry means an overall reduction in quality endorsements. Recently I received six endorsements for ‘Creative Direction’ and while I was certainly flattered by the gesture, my creative director at work would probably die laughing if he noticed that (I wouldn’t blame him either).

And for that I don’t blame my connections who endorsed me for it–because I think probably it’s LinkedIn’s algorithm at fault. They probably received a blue box that said “Would you endorse Kelly Rusk for these skills?” And maybe the first 2 or 3 were relevant and they just hit accept for the whole lot.

I think the skill endorsement feature will stick around because LinkedIn is really pushing it at every opportunity. However, I think that tactic is also reducing its effectiveness (as per my example above).

What are skill endorsements REALLY good for?

The single most valuable application of this feature is not how others will perceive you as a result of your skill endorsements… It’s for your own benefit. Only your first degree connections can endorse your skills, so if you’ve focused on using LinkedIn to build a quality network, these are people who know you personally. And you understand the level of relationship you have with each of these people so you can use your own endorsements to paint a picture of how your first connections perceive you.

Are you being recognized for your strengths? Are you endorsed for skills you feel you excel at? Does it cover your experience and align with the wording in your profile? Are you receiving endorsements for people you’ve worked closely with?

If the answer to any of these questions is no–then it’s time to look inward and reflect on what you are doing and how you are putting yourself out there. Using the endorsements to improve yourself makes the feature one of the most valuable features of LinkedIn.

 And the icing on the cake?

Want to reconnect with someone in your network but not sure how to approach them out of the blue? Why not visit his or her profile and endorse a few skills you know to be relevant? It’s a passive engagement but he or she will receive an email about it and it might be a perfect primer for a long-overdue follow up email. Or perhaps someone you really want to strengthen your relationship with endorses your skills first? Why not send a nice thank you email and perhaps suggest a coffee outing? The skill endorsement can be a great professional door opener (or perhaps unlock-er?) to stay in touch.

How to get more skill endorsements from your connections

There are two methods to increasing your skill endorsements: ask and pay it forward. Personally I’m a little shy/timid about asking connections to endorse me–however I have been asked and do appreciate the reminder from those I’ve enjoyed working with but maybe didn’t immediately think to endorse. Be sure when asking to do so personally (not send out a blanket request to your connections) and only ask those who you are confident would be happy to endorse you.

Secondly you can pay it forward–I find this to be a really effective and interesting method. If you take the time to go through your connections and endorse some of your connections (and for your own reputation, please do so strategically and honestly!) LinkedIn will reward you by suggesting to your connections that they endorse you.

What do you think? Do you dig the skill endorsements? Do you question its validity? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

From World Conference: Your brand in permanent beta

Recently, I attended the 2013 IABC World Conference in New York City. This annual conference attracts 1400+ communicators from all corners of the globe and features leading thinkers, business leaders and some of the most prominent brands in the world. One session I really enjoyed was the general session: Taking the pulse of the new generation: Communicating effectively with Millennials. Frankly, as someone who sometimes fits into the definition of this generation, I did not go expecting to learn much.  However, I was completely surprised by the smart, insightful and interesting discussion by panellists, including Sandra Lopez of Intel,Nick Shore of MTV and Michael Lewis of Teach for America. The panel was moderated by Jake Katz, of YPulse.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into the session in detail, instead I want to highlight one insight, which, I think as this generation grows and develops into business leaders, is something we’ll start to see more and more of in a business context. One of the panellists described how millenials “live their lives in permanent beta.” Particularly because life streaming is the way they grew up, publishing and presenting their image is not a matter of drafts, approvals, revisions then launch—it’s updated, in real-time and subject to feedback loops along the way from a much broader perspective.

Read the rest of this post on the Banfield blog… 

Report from the IABC World Conference in NYC

It was Tuesday night—close to midnight and for the first time in a really long time I just got that “I NEED to write” moment. It used to happen to me a lot but lately I’ve fallen victim to the over-busy syndrome and nothing has suffered more than my writing—something I used to consider my passion!

But there I was  at the IABC World Conference feeling that rush all over again, finally!  Three days in I was  already getting concerned that I’d probably forgotten half of the really interesting, insightful and useful information that I’ve learned. I’m relieved I got business cards from most of the people I’ve met so that I can go over and hopefully remember some of the fascinating conversations I’ve had.

Like any conference—key themes emerge throughout the presentations. What’s unique about the World Conference is that because of the sheer size—with so many tracks going on and a really diverse set of topics under the communications, you can really make the themes you really want to emerge. Kind of like those ‘Choose your own adventure’ books.

Social Media Panel featuring speakers from Dell, Amnesty International and DIRECTV.
Social Media Panel featuring speakers from Dell, Amnesty International and DIRECTV.

Anyway, rather than write about any of the wonderful sessions I sat in on (and I hope that I will do that later) I wanted to write to express three of the themes that really stood out to me and that really excite me about the whole experience. These themes include building strong connections (trust and reputation), The “I” in IABC (International perspective), and strong leadership that embraces communications

Over the next few weeks I will cover a few of these themes and relate it to my personal experience at the conference.

Stay tuned!

Using social media for research – Recap from #SoCapOtt

How I feel when I come across bad research posted online and spread through social media. Credit xkcd.com

It takes a lot to get me out of the sun on a hot Saturday in July and into an over-air-conditioned venue for a full day of learning, but fortunately the Social Capital Conference this weekend delivered a worthwhile, great time.

This past Saturday I joined over 200 others on the Algonquin College campus for a so-called “Social Media Learnathon.” I was even priviledged enough to present at the event. I spoke about using social media for research–and specifically for research to fuel a social or communications strategy.

The session started off about how bad research gets propagated online and how we should all pay close attention to the sources of research–always read before you retweet! My favourite example is the preposterous example of Business Insider’s 16-person survey (with no explanation of how this “sample” was chosen) that led to the publication damning groupon.

Using my preferred paid tool (Sysomos) I showed some examples of charts and graphs you can use to do research to support strategy development, but also told attendees about some free tools and work-arounds to accomplish similar tasks on a budget. Like most things–you do tend to get what you pay for and using free tools usually means a trade-off for quantity and quality of data as well as the time required for you to invest to get the same results. (Of course there are paid tools that aren’t worth the price tag so please be diligent and thorough in your tool search!)

The presentation also covered using social media for research to analyze media issues and to conduct a comparative analysis as other examples of how social media data can help fuel business intelligence.

The presentation quoted and covered a few concepts by Avinash Kaushik–the leading web analytics evangelist and probably my favourite presenter of all time. Although he speaks in the context of web analytics, many of his concepts can apply to other areas including data-driven decision making to combat the HiPPOs,  and the 90-10 rule for magnificent web analytics success.

One thing I wanted to talk about, but didn’t get around to, was the value of comments and dialogue in social media research. One huge limitation of the available tools is they are unable to capture reactions or additional comments that are relevant but do not include specific search terms. This is one instance where having a skilled analyst makes a big difference because he or she would know to dive deeper and look for this type of insight outside of a tool.

Unfortunately I can’t share my slides from the presentation, but I’m more than discuss the topic with you offline, just drop me a line at kellyrusk(at)gmail.com.

Thanks to Sherrilynne Starkie who posted a recap of my session, complete with video footage (aghhh! Don’t watch!!).

Resolution idea: Use LinkedIn better in 2012

Do you use LinkedIn? I mean other than throwing up a profile and accepting connection requests?

My unscientific observation is most people don’t seem to do much else on the business-oriented social network, but there are lots of opportunity–especially if networking is important to you. Hint: if it’s not it definitely should be!

A huge mistake most people make with networking is only worrying about it when they are looking for a job or need something from the network… I hope we all know by now it’s important to build it now so it’s there when you need it. Have you ever had a friend who only ever called you when he or she needed something? Wasn’t that annoying? You probably aren’t even friends anymore, right? Right. Don’t be that person.

Here’s a few ways I use LinkedIn which I find to be to my advantage:

Five ways to use LinkedIn effectively for business networking

1. Edit your profile… Often! 

Your career actually changes a little everyday, whether you have a new client or project, skills, or coworkers, whatever happens at work potentially shapes what you do. LinkedIn is like your resume, but they key difference is  it’s also available 24/7 which means you should keep it updated as frequently as possible. (Remember they told you that about your actual resume? Well now it’s time follow through my friend!) Visit your profile weekly or monthly and give it a good objective read through. Think about updating your skills, or headline or really anything that could be better written. Like any good writer knows, there’s always room for improvement!

Why it’s a good idea:  In addition to just being a generally good idea to have the most up-to-date profile as possible, LinkedIn also sends an alert to your connections via the home page. It’s a good way to passively stay front-of-mind with your connections. Also it usually just tells you that someone updated his/her profile, and since we’re all curious beasts, it entices us to click through and review that person’s profile, so it really works!

2. Invest some time in LinkedIn Answers

Admittedly, I don’t spend as much time doing this as I used to, but the value still remains. First, I’ve made a few valuable connections from people who have seen an answer I wrote and took the time to send me a personal message or request an invitation and we’ve stayed in touch since. You also get to learn a lot from reading answers from other users. It’s a win-win and a fun and productive way to spend some spare time.

Why it’s a good idea: Your profile just talks about your expertise and value from your point of view, but Q&A is your opportunity to demonstrate it. Also when you get voted for best answers (by the question asker) it displays in the side bar of your profile so your profile visitors know you’re a smart cookie (and not just because you say so). Round it out with a few great recommendations and you’ve got one bang-up profile!

3. Participate in groups

Again, how often do you join groups and never look at them again? I *used* to do this, and I wish LinkedIn could come up with better email/notification methods so that this feature is better used by a wider audience. LinkedIn Groups contain a captive audience of people who share a similar interest to you… What are you waiting for?! It’s practically a virtual water cooler waiting for your input. Wait, think this through a little first though.. When you start a new job and you run into a new coworker at the water cooler do you instantly start promoting your business/event/blog whatever? I hope not and that’s not the way to participate online either. Start an interesting discussion or participate in an existing one. Like any online community you can start thinking about promoting yourself when you’ve established trust and made friends.

Why it’s a good idea: This is all about networking remember! Perfect opportunity to actually “meet” people through LinkedIn.

4. Pay attention to who’s creeping your profile

I wrote this past summer about how this is my favourite feature of LinkedIn which prompted some interesting discussions. Reflecting on this since then, I do think there’s a lot more that can be said about who’s viewing your profile. For example, think about how you want to be perceived and who your personal target audience is… Are you looking to be findable and desirable to employers? Is there a certain industry or sector you want to be known in? Are those people viewing your profile? If not, then you may not be marketing yourself effectively. Whether formally written or not, you should understand who you want to reach, why and what you’d like them to think of you, and profile viewing is valuable feedback for this. Maybe I’m just a nerd but I love this stuff!

Why it’s a good idea: Self-reflection and evaluation is probably the best thing you can ever do for yourself, personally and professionally.. So I call this one a no brainer.

5. Connect online and offline 

If you want to be great at networking than you absolutely-no-doubt-about-it MUST get out in the “real world” and meet people face to face. I suggest collecting business cards (the old fashioned way), writing down something interesting you spoke about with that person and following up with a personalized LinkedIN update.

Three behaviours I *hate* on LinkedIn

Ok spare me the “there’s no wrong way in social media” argument, but these are three things that I see on LinkedIn that I find irritating. Maybe it works for you, but I can at least promise it won’t work at winning *my* love and affection. And surely some of my readers have my back on this? Come on, pitch in guys!)

1. Sending the default invite to someone you barely know (or don’t know at all)

If we just met once or twice, or know each other from Twitter or some other obscure-type relationship than please take a minute to fill in the personalized message in the invite and jog my memory. Also there’s no harm in sending an invite to someone you don’t know but would like to know, but take a minute to flatter them and let them know WHY you are sending an unsolicited invite. Maybe they run a company you’d really like to work for, or perhaps you have 10 connections in common and really SHOULD know each other… Bare in mind that some people restrict connections to only those they know personally, so don’t be offended if someone doesn’t add you.

2. Auto push ALL Twitter updates to LinkedIn 

I follow you on Twitter to read your tweets. I connect with you on LinkedIn to maintain a business relationship. Not the same thing. Especially if you tweet completely non-professional related updates. Also if you are pushing ALL your updates to both networks (and/or Facebook for that matter) it tells me I’m wasting my time following you on multiple social networks, rather than building a deeper relationship. If you must, use the #LI or #IN tags to sync the occasional tweet but usually  you’re better off just writing custom messages for each network.

3. Sending mass messages to gain business or promote yourself

If you are doing something for charity or for the benefit of others, I don’t really mind.. but if you’re soliciting or promoting yourself to your network at least take the time to send personalized messages to your contacts who would be interested, otherwise you’re just spamming. No one likes spam, not in email, not on Twitter and not on LinkedIn and DEFINITELY not through multiple media at the same time.  This also goes for blanket recommendations, don’t ask someone for a recommendation unless you

Do you agree? Do you used LinkedIn in other ways? Let me know in the comments!

Why are you creating content?

I found this great infographic today, ironically from April Dunford’s post about infographics being “the Lindsay Lohen of content”

In my defence, she was using this one as a great example of an infographic and that’s why it’s inspired this post. Anyone who’s worked with me knows my obsession with measurement and tying activities to business goals, but one thing I’ve understood but often had difficulty explaining is the relationship between certain pieces of content and how those pieces fit together. I’m no sales expert, so while I know that putting out great content such as a whitepaper, an interesting video or infographic can reflect back to business goals, I was never really sure of how to put it… fortunately this graphic visually explains it so well:

The Content Grid

This is obviously a software model, but I think the information can translate to any industry/product service.

A great content strategy is essentially making sure you have a piece of well-executed content at each important step above. The one thing I don’t like about this infographic is it’s strictly talking about a broadcast content model. This should be a piece of your overall social strategy, but there is a lot more too it. If you just treat your Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/etc a account as a broadcast account then your content may end up falling on deaf ears. And if you’re only looking at the above, it may be hard to understand why.

I also want to draw attention to the key performance indicators at the bottom.  I love that they’ve been categorized in three ways and break down the relevant metrics at each stage. This makes it really clear that you are working towards something and what to measure at every step.  You may only care about making the sale (outcomes) and therefore think you only need to measure the sales, or leads or whatever indicator makes sense, but without the insight on how you got there (i.e. traffic, clickthrough, form submissions etc) you are missing the data that can dictate how to do it better next time, a HUGE missed opportunity.

Twitter Tool Review: Crowdbooster

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Twitter tool because, well, it’s been a while since I’ve found one I’ve been excited about enough to review.

Crowdbooster is a Twitter analysis tool that provides data on your own Twitter activity. As an analytics/self-improvement junkie, I LOVE the ability to do this. What are my most popular tweets? Who are my most loyal followers? What content gets retweeted the most? Which tweets had the furthest reach?

Overall Impression

Of any tool of its kind, this is the best one I’ve used. The UI is slick and intuitive and FAST. The metrics are easy to understand and logical. Each week Crowdbooster sends me an email with a summary of the week and provides advice (such as the best times to tweet in order to get replies and retweets, presumably based on my own history). My absolutely favourite thing about Crowdbooster is that it allows you to slice the data by week, month, all time and even custom date ranges. Many tools don’t go back that far (especially if you’re a long time Twitter user) and the fact that it loads all-time results so quickly earns major points with me.

What I would like to see…

It would be great to compare some results to other users. Not necessarily in a Klout-style score that becomes a bragging right, but personally I like to see where I stand, particularly in relation to other people I know. I hope that when Crowdbooster is out of private beta and has an established user base, it might implement these types of metrics.

Also the one feature I’m disappointed with is the Influential Followers. It simply displays my followers with the most amount of followers. And as I’m sure we all know by now, high follower numbers =/= influential. Particularly because, all my top followers–while most are celebrities or well known personalities–all follow as many or more people than follow them. So it doesn’t really seem that special that MC Hammer follows me when he also follows almost 40,000 other people. While I enjoy his tweets, we’ve never ever interacted on Twitter, so I’m not sure that relationship has much value to me if I were looking to target influential followers.

Let’s get to the good stuff

Don’t let that dissuade you though, it’s still a fantastic tool and packs tons of value in other places…Let’s see some screenshots:

Follower Growth Chart
Follower Growth Chart

This chart is interesting, particularly if you have a lot of followers and don’t get notifications (WAY too many spam bots). I don’t get upset or concerned when I lose followers, for every great and worthy follower I acquire, there are probably 5-10 others who are simply following me (usually via an automated software) to get a follow back, with no actual interest or relevance to what I do. When you don’t follow those users back they tend to unfollow you in a few days anyway. However, it’s nice to see a general upward trend over time to know I must be doing something right!

When you first log in, you see a dashboard that also gives you this chart:

Graph of your most successful tweets

This chart shows you how your tweets are doing in terms of how many retweets or replies they get, and the combined reach (your followers+follower #s of retweeters). This is really interesting because particularly if you look at all time results, you can see what your most successful tweets have been. In my case I tweeted:  “Looking for a social media savvy PR guy with a knack for great content development? Let me know. Comes with a reco from me!” The funny thing is I don’t even remember who this tweet was about, but apparently it reached 157,000 people and I hope whoever it was got at least a job lead out of it!

Finally my favourite feature is the chart of top retweeters. I want to know who is retweeting my content most often. These are now my favourite people… Thanks: @catehstn, @mikemachargo @sophiejodouin, @sherrilynne @KetevanN!!!

Top Retweeters

And as mentioned earlier, I love that it sends  me a weekly summary of activity. Keeps me interested and engaged with the tool:

Weekly email screenshotIf you are in anyway using Twitter in a professional capacity, you should consider this tool.

The sad news is for now it’s still in private beta… I do have five invites available and if you leave a comment (here on the blog) I will draw five lucky winners by the end of this week.

Rely on analytics for social referrers? You may be selling yourself short…

I have a big beef about web analytics. While analytics are useful, informative and quite frankly, absolutely crucial, the ease and access to free tools like Google Analytics has caused many to use analytics tools without really understanding them.

Here’s the one thing I hear often from skeptical marketing people who don’t fully understand social (an imaginary example): “I get Google Analytics reports, and less than one per cent off our traffic comes from Twitter so clearly it’s not working for us.”

So here’s the problem: analytics, while providing more precise and in-depth metrics than ever afforded to marketers, is NOT a perfect science. I could go off on several rants at this point, but for the purpose of brevity I’m going to focus on Twitter referrals.

The reality is most Twitter users do not access and use Twitter from Twitter.com. They use Tweetdeck or another desktop applications, and they also access Twitter often from mobile devices. When someone on Tweetdeck or an iPhone clicks your link and visits your site, this does not register as a Twitter referral, but in most cases as direct traffic. Direct traffic is essentially the “other” bucket when the analytics tool can’t figure out the source. This includes email clients, bookmarks and any other non-browser application.

While I can’t find an official number of Twitter.com vs Twitter app users, a recent(ish) study by Sysomos revealed that 42 per cent of the 25 million Tweets analyzed originated from non-official Twitter apps. That’s not even including the official Twitter apps (aka Twitter for mac + Twitter for iPhone/Android/BB, at the time). That tells me at the very least, a significant percentage of Twitter users are NOT using Twitter.com and therefore, to the untrained analytics watcher, not driving traffic to web sites.

Now I hate to complain about anything without a helpful solution, so here’s my advice:

  1. Tracking links – if you are pushing out content via Twitter or other social networks, you can use a tool to code those links (before shortening), you plug in a few tracking details and get a lovely URL that looks like this:
    http://www.kellyrusk.ca/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=fun&utm_campaign=Kelly’s%2Bfun%2Bwith%2BURLs
    with all that fun stuff at the end telling Google Analytics information about the URL for tracking purposes. You can then take that ugly long URL and plug it into a service like bit.ly and distribute the shortened version.
  2. The “lite” version is to just track all your bit.ly links which does in fact tell you more details, here’s an example:
    As you can see, bit.ly does in fact track different clients, (but still has a “catch-all” category).

I would use the first example if you’re pushing out marketing campaigns and tracking clicks and conversions as tying it back to the source is pretty important and the tracking URLs will allow you to keep tabs on a referrer right through to conversion. If you’re just pushing out content (i.e. blog posts), while you can still do the Google tracking, it’s not completely necessary if there’s no direct call to action.

Finally, again I will emphasize: this is not an exact science! Even with the tracking URLs–if I click on a URL in a tweet, read it and decide to re-share it, I’ll copy and paste the URL from the browser and cut out all that silly tracking mumbo jumbo (you think I’d know better, but I still do it!) and paste the original link in, thus crushing your clever measurement trick! If I do that I’m sure others do as well.

Track what you can, as much as you can, but remember it’s a trend, an indication, but not an exact number. Measurement needs to be an ongoing process and you can only really do so effectively when you measure consistently, benchmark and compare against your own results.

Influence is not the right word!

So this topic has been rolling around in my head for a while, and I wasn’t quite sure how to articulate it.

First let’s talk about Klout. Klout gets a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. I guess I sit somewhere in the middle. I like some of the metrics it provides, and there is merit to it. However rating people by “influence” based on a *top-secret* algorithm, is a little bit bologna.

First what I dislike about Klout: simplify the complex into one single number. First, it turns Twitter into a popularity contest and inflates egos. And it doesn’t really mean what people think it means. Just like all publicity is NOT good publicity, All Klout is NOT good Klout–Just because people respond and retweet someone, it doesn’t mean they trust them, or respect them, or even like them. It’s not news that the Internet LOVES controversy and being controversial can get you followers and retweets, but as a brand targeting influencers, do you really want to associate your brand with controversy (maybe, but my point is it’s being overlooked). It also doesn’t mean that if you give that person a product, they will help sell it by talking about it online.

Ok, now for some positive: Klout isn’t all bad. I like how Klout gives more accurate reach numbers than straight up follower numbers. Unfortunately there’s still a lack of transparency, so we don’t actually know *how* that number is reached. Follower count and the number reached by a message is definitely not the same and Klout at least has started to demystify this. Quite frankly if you’re measuring clicks and conversion, then relying on Twitter follower numbers is doing nothing but setting up you up for failure.  Too many are still hung up on follower numbers and mistaking that for “reach.”

Also, ego inflating aside, the ranking is helpful when you are comparing a number of similar accounts and want an overview of their activity and interaction. I’m building a very specific list for a client and I find it useful. I’m not putting a ton of weight into the number, but it is definitely a helpful indicator, particularly if you’re trying to get the focus away from number of followers.

However, to blindly select “influencers” based on this score is plain silly. There definitely needs to be a human element involved, and particularly someone with experience and know-how in social media. Robots simply can’t replace human intelligence… SkyNet anyone?!

All I’m trying to say here is that influence is a really misleading word. I don’t know what the right word is to be honest. I also don’t know if someone who spends a lot of time online interacting with others is any more influential than, say, someone who is clearly passionate about a brand/product/service and already speaking about it. And you don’t need Klout to find those people. It’s usually fairly obvious.

Crowdsourcing a Community Manager Job Description

Yesterday I gave up a sunny summer Saturday to attend the Social Capital Conference here in Ottawa, and boy I’m glad I did! It was a fun day at the University of Ottawa where I had the opportunity to meet a ton of new faces (something that doesn’t usually happen to often at Ottawa events, and have some great discussions.

A couple months ago, I was asked to lead a roundtable at the event. I’ve facilitating roundtables a number of times, and I’m not really too crazy about them. I mean, we usually end up having great discussion and I meet a handful of awesome people, but I wanted to ensure participants would actually get something useful out of it.

In mid-June I held a meetup for the Ottawa Community Manager group, and I let them know about the roundtable and asked for ideas on how to make it interesting and engaging. I think it was Simon who suggested we use the time to build a community manager job description.

I loved this idea because frankly, a community manager is an often mis-understood position. And one interesting thing I’ve found about community  managers, is most of the ones I’ve met (myself included) have actually written their own job description–they came in as a new position at a company, and preetty much decided what they would do.

Anyway, so I brought activity sheets and invited the roundtable participants (from three different groups) to write down their thoughts and ideas while we also had a discussion about it.

I’ve compiled the results into Wordle, because they look pretty but also give a good overview of what most participants agreed upon:

Essential Skills

Personal Qualities

Preferred Experience

Job Duties

With one of the groups, we even had a great discussion over the title Community Manager, and if something else was more appropriate. The general consensus is at its core the community manager job is a communications job, so potentially could be replaced by a more generic communications title. I don’t totally disagree but I also think often communications means certain things that aren’t always the role of community managers, so I personally like it as is.

A huge thanks to the conference organizers: Lara Wellman, Vicky Bisson, Sara McConnell, Rebecca Stanisic, Andrea Tomkins and Karen Wilson.