Tag Archives: community manager

Five unmistakable qualities of a community manager

I’m so fortunate to know so many great community managers from all over the world! Just a handful of the top of my head: Heather Ritchie from Lymbix of Moncton, Erin Bury from Sprouter, TO, Ros Hodgekiss from Campaign Monitor in Sydney, AU, Vero Pepperell of Pepsmedia in Cambridge, UK… These are just a few I know personally.. there’s a lot out there.

And now, through the Ottawa Community Manager Meetup group started by Angelina Munaretto and me, I’m fortunate to be constantly meeting great homegrown community folk. Over 60 current and wannabe community managers in our little town, who knew?! It’s fabulous news because I happen to think community management is a really hot career to be in and I love meeting others in the same boat…

So thinking of all the awesome community people I know, there are many qualities we all share that I think make us all good at what we do. Here’s five I can pick out right away:

Social – Perhaps this one is a big “duh!” but I’m going to throw a little hook in it. By social I don’t mean popular or outgoing. I mean someone who can easily connect to others and is interested in meeting both like-minded people and those with different view points. Although communities are almost always formed around common interests, that doesn’t mean all the members are the same. In fact every community I’ve been involved in is quite diverse, and a community manager needs to be able and interested in relating to all of them.

Curious – In my mind, being curious means willing and able to learn quickly. A community manager need not start out tech savvy but if he/she is really curious about how something works, learning about it quickly is easy. Also back to the social point. If you’re curious about people it means you’re willing and able to listen and ask questions and that’s the best way to get to know your community members.

Boundless Energy – Have you ever looked at a community manager’s day book or agenda? A community manager thrives off being around people, both online and off. As much as I love the occasional lazy day in front of the TV, I’d never do it at the sacrifice of a good time. Even if a community manager has family commitments or otherwise can’t be available always, you will find him/her taking advantage every given opportunity.

Multi-disciplinary – While community managers come from all different backgrounds, many share similar skill sets that crossover into several disciplines. Perhaps a by-product of curiosity, but you’ll never hear a community manager say “that’s not in my job description!” (Though this could be because he/she wrote the job description).

Passion – OK while it may seem like a real cliche thing to say, it’s totally true. I’m not sure any of us could really dedicate so much to what we do if we weren’t completely passionate about it… Am I right?

I listed five for the sake of brevity, but I’m sure I could go on about this all day. However, I’d love to hear what you think… Either from other community managers, or those who observe them.. What would you add?

Introducing the Ottawa Community Manager Meetup

CM Meetup AustinWhile the title community manager has been growing in popularity, I’ve noticed there still aren’t all that many in Ottawa… However, I’ve also noticed that despite this, there are many people here–both in private sector and government–who do pretty well work as community managers (albeit under a different title). On top of that there’s tons of interest in the job here as well.

Back in March at SXSW I was able to connect with a few community managers, in talks we (@vero, @yarrcat and I) decided to plan a community manager meetup, and amazingly with two days notice at a busy conference, over 25 people showed up to talk about the ever-changing job role. (photo)

While tweeting about the event, Angelina Munaretto, also from Ottawa, saw my tweets and at first thought I was in Ottawa.. That started our discussions about hosting a community manager meet up in Ottawa.

Though it took us a few months to get the inaugural event off the ground, the support from the community (community of community managers?!!) was very positive! Our first event on June 16 saw about 15 community managers and people interested in community management, showed up and participated in a interesting discussion on what exactly it means, how it’s evolved, and where it’s headed.

We plan to have more of these informal meetups in the coming months (next one probably after summer). To start we set up a LinkedIn Group where we can continue discussions between meetups.

Eventually we’d like to create more of a community site, but we’ll start with small steps. Join the group also for upcoming event notices…

Hope to see you there!

Social media and community management resources

I’m speaking to the Algonquin Public Relations students about social media and community management  and I wanted to share a few resources with them. I was going to throw it all in a PowerPoint presentation, but that’s not very Web 2.0. So here it is compiled in a blog post. Of course if you have anything to add, drop a comment! Also, be sure to check the comments for more great suggestions

First, a little primer in social media:


(more videos like these on Commoncraft.com)

Groundswell Cover

Books to read:

Groundswell (which I’ve reviewed here before) is written by two senior Forrester Research analysts. It is focused on social media strategy for enterprise businesses. It includes some great case studies of large brands using various social media.

Cluetrain Manifesto does an excellent job of explaining the idea of markets being conversations, and the importance of companies listening to their customers. It clearly details the backbone of social media–and it was actually written 10 years ago! (And hey–the authors are so passionate about their ideas, that the entire text of this book is available on the web site..for free!)

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott is next on my reading list, but I feel confident recommending this book because of the great reviews it’s received and because I really dig David’s blog…

Want to get started? Here’s a few blogs to learn more…

Web Strategy by Jeremiah – A ‘social computing’ analyst for Forrester and long-time social media advocate
Chris Brogan – a well-known expert in social media and community
Six Pixels of Separation (blog and podcast) Mitch Joel is “Canada’s Digital Marketing Rockstar”

Prefer to listen? Try these podcasts
(podcasts are simply audio and/or files, which you can listen/view to from a web site, or subscribe to receive each episode in iTunes and listen from your computer or mp3 player)

Want to build your personal brand? Try getting involved with these sites…

  • Twitter (warning! Can be highly addictive!)
  • LinkedIn (unofficially called Facebook for professionals)
  • MyRagan (social network for PR professionals)
  • Sixent(a very cool Ottawa-based social network that lets you manage multiple profiles)

Want to start blogging?

  • If you have a good understanding of the web/HTML/CSS Check out WordPress (If you’re really savvy-go self-hosted)
  • If it’s all new to you, Blogger is a great starter blogging platform..Have your blog up and running in minutes!
  • Somewhere in between? TypePad is a good choice too.
  • Oh, and check out the Bloggeries Forum for tricks and tips to promote your blog!

Social media tools for PR people

  • CNW Social Media Releases – Canada’s leading news wire now offers social media release services
  • Pitchengine – create a social media release, free!
  • PRWeb – a newswire services that allows you to incorporate social media elements and search engine optimization into your news release
  • Radian6 – A social media monitoring service for PR firms (previously reviewed)
  • Social Radar by Infegy – A social media monitoring service for small/medium businesses (also reviewed)
  • SM2 by Techrigy – Another social media monitoring software that gets talked about a lot.

Want to network with social media folks? Check out these regular events in Ottawa

And finally, some random tools that make your life easier:

  • Delicious.com – social bookmarking site. Don’t you hate when you’re on a different computer and can’t access your bookmarks? Wish you could share bookmarks with friends? Delicious addresses both these. You’ll never use browser bookmarks again!
  • Digg is a news site where users vote on the news they like best. The more votes they more exposure the news gets.
  • MyBlogLog – Promote your blog and find other bloggers
  • Evernote – If you use multiple computers and a mobile device, this really rich notes program syncs them all. (thanks to @jpblogger for this tip)
  • Firefox is the essential browser for the social media junkie, because you can get all sorts of add-ons to manage your social media tools efficiently.
  • StumbleUpon is a fun program that takes you to a random web site based on your interests. Also it’s great for promoting blog posts.
  • Ning – If you’re really ambitious and passionate about something, why not start your own social network around it?
  • Socialmedia.alltop.comGuy Kawasaki kindly put all the best social media blogs on one convenient. In fact, go to alltop.com to find an Alltop page on almost any subject!
  • CoComment is another great tool if you are commenting on people’s blogs… It will track all your comments and follow up comments all in one place.
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Announcing… My new job!

Well you may have wondered… If I’m such a social media enthusiast, why am I not doing anything related to it in my day job? When I started working at the City, I was hoping I could get more experience doing what I went to school for–and I absolutely did–and it also gave me the opportunity to put more time and effort into my personal brand via this blog, twitter and all those other wacky tools I waste all my time on.

Smart Hippo LogoHowever, when the right opportunity comes around, you know it. And while it was a tough choice for me to make (should I leave a public sector job for a startup??!) I’m confident it was the right choice, and that’s why I’m pleased to announce, that as of today, I’m Community Manager at SmartHippo!

SmartHippo uses the power of community to help consumers save money on financial products and services…On the site, users can compare, rate and review mortgage rates (and soon other financial products as well) in order to find the best deal. But what about the big financial crisis in the States? Well that’s actually a little exciting for us, because, in theory, if consumers start educating themselves and collaborating with others–instead of relying solely on financial institutions to tell them what to do–well, we might have this financial crisis solved once and for all. OK maybe that’s a little idealist, but it’s certainly true that Internet tools have transformed the way other industries do business, yet financial institutions still hold all the control. However, it’s also a good thing for financial institutions, because as soon as they can break down the barriers and incorporate more transparency in the way they do business, the more confidence consumers will have in them. Bottom line is you’ll get the best rates, and banks will run business better. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

As community manager, I will be blogging over at the SmartHippo blog, and of course, twittering about industry news and site updates (Follow me @smarthippo). I will also tap into my other skills, hopefully getting us some good press and as well doing our email newsletter (I’m just never going to get away from email!). And probably lots of other fun stuff in the mix too. Pretty much what I’ve always wanted in a job.

**UPDATE**

SmartHippo CEO George Favvas wrote a nice post welcoming me on board!