Who has been an inspiration for you as a community manager?
San Diego: Mari Smith – I’ve been listening to her podcasts since 2007 and have always found she offers the most up-to-date and easy to follow Facebook insights and fixes. Finally in 2013 I’m working with Mari this year to streamline my social media processes and knowledge; it’s a big commitment of time & money, but I’m excited about what it will do to enhance my abilities and career!
NYC: Gary Vaynerchuk – I’ve often said I would like to be @VaynerMedia North – specializing in helping media channels and people recognize themselves on social media as a monetizable media channel/resource. Does that make any sense? I SO want the opportunity to work WITH Gary Vee someday! Soon, he will see I am exactly what he needs at Vayner Media, to open his 1st Canadian office.
Toronto: Caron Court – she does Movember with more commitment than anyone else I know – wearing a fake Mo on her face for every day of November, even through job interviews and dates. She refuses to attend events in November unless they are sponsoring her Movember fundraising activities. That’s commitment!
What is the most important part of being a community manager?
24/7/365 commitment to improving yourself and learning more and finding a way to do IT, or someone who can help advise you HOW to do IT, whatever it might be. A strong sense of self worth and curiosity so you can always ask people questions and find value in every interaction, even if it’s “prickly.” A passion for negotiating and knowing how to OFFER VALUE first, before you ask anyone for help – this is where your sense of self-worth comes in handy – you know what you have to offer them (other than money) that they want, in exchange for what you want, down the road.
If you could attend one conference to learn about community management, what would it be and why?
That’s an easy one! Social Media Marketing World in San Diego in April 2013 – I’m actually going to be in San Diego already for a couple of days of intensive group work with Mari Smith immediately prior to this conference, so I’m hoping to find an organization or media channel who wants to send me to that conference to video interview the attendees & speakers, create content and promote their brand – all for the low price of sending me as their enthusiastic brand ambassador!
What is your favorite book that has helped you become a better community manager?
Probably Content Rules by C.C. Chapman – he really takes what can be a commonly overwhelming subject and breaks it down into manageable bits and creative inspiring stories & examples. C.C. also has most of his speeches on video on his speaking page and a lot of his stories include video examples & illustrations (look for the Shark Week story).
Any book by Gary Vaynerchuk is really easy to read and his passion SO comes through on the page. He doesn’t get very technical the way C.C. does about using social media or creating content, he just encourages you remember your passion in EVERY relationship you’re building!
What do you like best about being a community manager?
I love it when people tell me how awesome I am! No really, I do love that, since I’m a shy person, but what really makes it worthwhile (working all the time, for next to no money, and always having people expect you to do their social media free because you’re so passionate about it), is when someone tells me something I said or did impacted the way they think about themselves and inspired them to change the course of their life, to follow their dream. I’ve done this a couple of times with people who were self concious about professional public speaking or writing & publishing the book they had in their head, and it really motivates me to be that kind of leader!
What skill should every community manager have?
Experimental, entrepreneurial mindset. Even though I work full-time for cafe moba, they can’t give me the opportunities to experiment in creating everything I want to with their brand, so I use Social Sparkle & Shine to create any and all content I want to experiment with! I love testing things and seeing “if” I can. What I’ve discovered is that just about everything I do well, I did crappy at the start, but you HAVE to go through the experience of making mistakes and testing to know how to do it at the best levels.
Patience is also critical, because nothing in the universe moves as fast as an entrepreneur’s mind!
Tell us about a success story you’ve had as a community manager.
I celebrate the small wins and opportunities to learn BIG lessons fast from my mistakes, so I guess everything has been a success.
What advice would you give someone wanting to become a community manager?
Just decide to build communities, starting today, around ONE thing you are really passionate about. Then you can go out to businesses that are in those communities and offer to help them, free or low cost while you experiment – if they haven’t done social media before, chances are you’ll be light years ahead of them in abilities and they’ll be relieved to have you helping out for a little while, while you earn real-world experience to help you land paying clients or the job of your #cmgr dreams.
Tell us about a job that helped prepare you to become a community manager and why.
I’m unique because my professional background is 15 years as an ad agency media buyer (I left my last agency job in 2008) – so I understand how to target and find client/consumer communities like few others! Its also made it a lot easier for me to start my business in social media, Social Sparkle & Shine, because so many of my colleagues who still work at agencies avoided the time, effort & financial investment of learning social media, so I just connected with them on every social channel and have been there sharing what I learn and who I network with every day. When the media or agencies need someone, they often call me first because they’ve been watching my social activities for years.
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