2011 Social Media Week had the digital world of New York City all a buzz, as industry experts, business folk and eager entrepreneurs came together to share best practices across the board. Being one of many fish swimming in the sea of social media, I fell hook, line and sinker for the event titled, Effectively Managing Online Community. The role of an Online Community Manager continues to be defined and often redefined based on the age old practice of trial and error. All the more reason to hold an entire discussion centered on best practices and key learnings, hosted by a panel of Community Manager Gurus, #CMmeetup. The event was moderated by Zach Seward, Outreach Editor at the Wall Street Journal, and the panel consisted of: Brian Simpson, Director of Digital Media at Vikram Chatwal Hotels; David Brown, Social Media Specialist at Etsy; Chrysanthe Tenentes, Community Manager at Foursquare and Jenn Pedde, Community Manager for [email protected] & Co-founder of #CMGRchat.
It was reassuring to see that Kdrive best practices align with a majority of the participants involved with the discussion. Serving as an online community manager for several brands, it is important to properly address the audience in which you’re trying to reach; each brand voice varies depending on the target audience. However, addressing the community with more of a humanizing, less organization-like, tone is the one constant that remains solid across the board. Nicely Tweeted via @bsimi, “Social media platforms are tools for hospitality.” Our job, as online community managers, is to provide customers with useful information, be it branded or unbranded content, get to know the community we are serving and understand what type of content triggers a notable reaction, as well as offer viable solutions to consumer problems. Online community managers play a crucial role in the voice of a brand and we have the power to unlock a wealth of knowledge. Figuring out the best way to tap into the psyche of a certain community and repurposing that information to benefit both the brand and consumer is a challenge that requires plenty of time and backend analysis. Sure, no one has cracked the code, but each newly discovered tidbit or community understanding, yields a reward that makes the hunt to unveil the complete mystery worthwhile.