Today marks the 5th Annual Community Manager Appreciation Day, or #CMAD for short. I’m thankful to the community for rallying behind this day when I initiated it in 2010. I had seen that some of our hardest working business folks were struggling to manage the onslaught of communications, maintain the balance of internal and external stakeholders, and deal with the emotional toll of responding to customers days, nights and weekends.
This year’s event is being spearheaded by Tim McDonald one of the community leads at the Huffington Post. He’s not alone. There are thousands of community professionals rallying behind the cause, and top social business software and services companies who’ve created content in recognition of it. Tim also created a website, Community Manager Appreciation Day, dedicated to this important need. While there’s already plenty being discussed about the virtues, skills and future of this role, I want to focus on its future, which is this year’s theme.
The social business space is maturing. We’re seeing social integrate into CRM, Marketing Automation and, for better or for worse, extend into multiple departments within companies. For the most part, social media has had its biggest impact in communications roles in Marketing, Corporate Communications and in Customer Care.
Now, in the next phase of sharing, we’re seeing people share cars, homes, products, time, space, and money. This is what we call the Collaborative Economy. Just as community managers honed their skills for online communications, they’ll now need to adjust their skills to the physical world. In this next phase, people are creating physical products (maker movement), then sharing them (sharing economy). This, yet again, shifts more power to the crowd, which means we’ll need new roles in order to meaningfully engage.
The theme for this year is the “Evolution of the Community Manager.” While the duties of the CM aren’t fully clear in this next phase, we should expect that they will play a key leading role as large companies gravitate toward the Collaborative Economy. Here are some potential roles they might have:
They may identify people who make and share goods through online collaborative websites and tap them as new influencers.
They may find the top sharing communities in their market, and become a participant.
They may help their own companies adopt sharing strategies by introducing internal leaders to the concept of turning products into services, like BMW has done with its Drive Now program.
They may help companies turn online communities into marketplaces where customers can resell, fix and improve existing products.
They may help companies tap crowd funding so the crowd could be more involved in the development of the next generation of products.
These are just some of the future skills and roles that Community Managers will evolve into as social moves into the physical world. In any case, please join me in celebrating some of the world’s top community professionals that are interacting with us on a daily basis. Hats off to you, Community Professionals!
In 2013, Community Managers are trending, both online, and their impact to their organizations and the customers, who they serve.
Community Managers are the most powerful group online
As professional online communicators, Community Managers are the most powerful group for 5 reasons: 1) Professionally trained 2) Access to top tools 3) Manage the largest social media accounts in world 4) Highly connected to each other, and 5) Their interactions with market are public, which resonate. I’m pleased to report that yesterday, on Jan 28th the Community Manager Appreciation tag (#CMAD) became a Twitter trending topic in at least Finland, France, and United States for over five hours.
Recognition of the Community Manager Role, Globally Known
Each year, Community Manager appreciation day grows in size and in location, this year I was stunned by the community involvement and market reaction. I heard comments that while in emerging markets there’s still justification required for the role, but within US, there’s already wide understanding and approval of this role within today’s modern company, both big and small. Last night, at the SF meetup whether or not CMs were the final decision maker for social tools and software, and depending on size of company, it could vary, however they often short-list the social business toolset for management and teams to analyze. While they often need to work with the Corporate Social Strategist, they’re internal influencers on how programs role out.
2014 CMAD Will Host A Theme to Advance the Career
Next year, in 2014, Community Manager Appreciation Day will be on Monday, Jan 27th. (It’s on the fourth monday, every Jan). We will discuss this year what the theme will be –beyond appreciation. While some markets still need awareness and justification of the role, developed markets are seeking to push the agenda and be forward moving. We’ll find a theme, announce it in Dec, and ask the industry to collectively move forward. It goes without saying, that appreciation doesn’t stop, but now that we’ve collectively raised awareness, let’s advance as one.
Here’s a wrap up of all the events that happened around the globe, and analysis on the online impact, from a number of social analytics tools. Please leave a note or URL in the comments, and I’ll update it.
Social Analytics Reports from Industry
A number of social analytics firms are running reports, I’ll cross link to all analysis and capture highlights here, it’s interesting to see the common data points and look at averages points and trends. It’s interesting that the various tools have roughly the same data frequency count.
Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day, in celebration of saluting this important role changing the face of corporations and customers everywhere, I wanted to share original data and insights on the state of the space. Community Manager Day (#CMAD) is hosted globally every fourth Monday in Jan, I’ll do a wrap up post and cross-link for this fourth year. Why do Community Managers get their own day? Essentially, they serve customers every other day, so they should get a day of thanks to highlight how they’re changing the face of business, customer care, and our industry. Here’s key stats on the essential skills, requirements of community managers, as well who they follow the most on Twitter.
1) Top Required Skills of the Community Manager
Altimeter Group conducted analysis of 30 global job descriptions of Community Managers to ascertain patterns on job requirements and skills.
Above: Out of 30 Community Manager job descriptions, the most critical requested skills were writing ability (83%), customer relations in online channels in normal daily conditions (76%), and working with other departments (53%). Other critical skills included reporting, and providing feedback to product teams on innovations and improvements. A few of the requirements included passion/tact/clever people skills, as well as passion for the topic and vertical the CM was covering.
2) Top Tools of the Community Manager
Above: Interestingly, 43% requested that Community Managers to participate in social networks –not just online communities owned by the brand. The heritage of the term originated with online communities (before Facebook and Twitter were founded) but the job requirements now suggest that 43% of community manager roles must interact with customers wherever they go.
3) Top Experience Requirements of the Community Manager Job Experience Requirements: Out of the 30 job descriptions, 13 (43%) required bachelor degrees, and a majority required that they have Years required about 2.5 – 3 years of experience in social/marketing/customer service. Additionally, 6 companies had a requirement that the community manager have 2.5 – 3 years of experience in the specific vertical which they were serving.
4) The Most Followed Community Managers are in America, Western Europe If you’re seeking to reach community managers in person, you’ll find key global hotspots in East Coast US, Western Europe, and a scattering up and down the West US Coast. This represents the top 500 followed community managers (update: Little Bird has provided a method and list of top 1000 CMs), and is not representative of the thousands of total CMs in the entire industry.
5) Most Influential Community Practitioners
Long time friend, Marshall Kirkpatrick (RWW, now entrepreneur) provided me data on influential community managers in Twitter. While I’m not involved in creating his social analytics product, Little Bird they provide this service analysis to any topical community. By analyzing which Community Managers are most followed in Twitter by their peers, he generated a list. Here are the most followed (thereby highest potential of Influence) Community Managers followed by their peers. Caveat: I recognize that measuring influence can’t be a sole number, but the data provided is interesting on heat maps on a social graph.
Community Managers followed the following folks, who are mostly providing services, resources, information and guidance to other community managers. Out of the top 500 Community Managers on Twitter, the 5 most-followed by their peers are:
Jenn Pedde (@JPedde) Community Strategist at 2U and Co-Founder of CmgrChat is followed by 74% of the top Community Managers on Twitter
Blaise Grimes-Viort (@blaisegv) Head of Community Management & Social Media with @eModeration is followed by 66% of the top Community Managers on Twitter
Rachel Happe (@rhappe) Principal at The Community Roundtable is followed by 64% of the top Community Managers on Twitter
Jim Storer (@jimstorer) Founder of The Community Roundtable (like Rachel, above) is followed by 61% of the top Community Managers on Twitter
Tim McDonald (@tamcdonald) Community Manager for @HuffPostLive is followed by 53% of the top Community Managers on Twitter
Yours truly (@jowyang), is followed by 43% of the top 500 CMs, thank you!
6) Most Influential Community Managers at Corporations followed Community Managers The top 500 Community Managers followed the following corporate community managers the most:
Maria Ogneva (@themaria) at Yammer (which is a social business vendor, kudos Maria)
7) Top Software Vendors Followed by the top 500 Community Managers The following are the most followed social software vendor corporate accounts (not personal accounts, like Maria) of the top 500 Community Managers. While just one data sample, this gives light to the mindshare owned by actual product users in the industry:
Summary: As the broader category of Social Business continues to proliferate around the globe, these day to day business programs will be staffed, run, and managed by Community Managers serving on the front line with customers, employees, and partners. This key role represents the shift to digital real time communications in the business workplace, and demonstrates the changing role of authentic and human customer interactions.
Credit to data analysis by Julie George of essential skills in data point 1-3.
Community managers are the most powerful group on the internet, they manage the largest social accounts –but ironically are hidden behind the scenes.
It’s that time of year again, to send a kind note to the Community Managers who have helped your company, or you as a customer using social media channels. Like System Admin day, or Administrative Professionals day, we take one day a year to thank and appreciate those who are helping us connect to customers in a sometimes thankless job.
While no gifts are required, the purpose is to give a genuine thank to the never ending, often thankless job of supporting customers and balancing internal stakeholders, a tough balance when the whole world is watching. Whether you’re a community manager at a tiny startup in India, or the head of community at Adobe (hola Rachel Lux) or community manager at an agency like Edelman representing your clients, now’s your time to shine.
Or, if you’re a community manager, write about why you are doing this role and what drives you to get up every morning to do your job.
Over the years, this even has become a global phenomenon, as people organize in person events, workshops, conferences, cocktails, dinners and publish digital artifacts. I’ll cross link to all who are planning an event (real world or online) in the hopes or coordinating as a central place.
So please, leave a comment about your upcoming event
Community Manager of the year Contest
Oracle (Vitrue) has created three videos of Community Managers, who are the finalists, watch in here, and learn about their position. They’ll be announcing the winner, on Jan 28th on Facebook. I’m one of the judges, and have given my feedback.
Yet despite the sexyness of the modern day community manager job, these roles aren’t just “playing on Facebook all day”. They’re plagued with dealing with customer issues after hours (the “burnout”) , and on weekends, learning to manage undesirable community members, and trying to balance the needs of customers and sometimes conservative corporations unwilling to lean towards social.
Despite the upsides, and challenges, there’s a bright future for this role, as they learn to measure based on business goals, tap into the emerging outsourcing service providers, and extend beyond marketing and support to helping define future products based on real-time customer feedback.
A salute to you, Community Managers!
Get engaged, converse with the #CMAD tag on Twitter.
It’s hard to believe that this desire to thank those on the front lines in digital mediums between customers and companies took off so quickly. The first year, it was just a murmur online and now it’s spread on its own to physical events around the world. I had nothing to do with the first group (Boston) leading the first ever physical event, but then quickly suggested that other regions (even my local area SF) to step up.
Blogs, Tweets, Pictures, and Videos of CMAD around the Globe:
Below I’ll curate the interesting voices around the world at the 2nd annual Community Manager Appreciation Day.
Kindly leave a comment below and I’ll aggregate into this post.
What’s success? In year 3 and beyond it just happens on its own, and I don’t have to promote if further, people forget that I spurred it. The real testament if our friends at Hallmark are able to get behind it.
And most importantly, a sincere thanks to those Community Managers are forging the relationships between customers and companies using these new technologies.
Stats how the day unfolded online from Alterian, see blog.
Spiceworks, an online community for the IT community literally rolls out the red carpet for Nic, their CM, more details, and read Nic’s perspective (be sure to read the various comments from all threads).
Want to hear what the job is really like? CA’s Community Managers show how they reach thousands of customers each day, more info here.
Last year was the first time we’ve recognized the folks on the front lines connecting with customers in a human way using online tools. It’s that time again this year, that on the fourth Monday of every January we recognize community managers. You can read about the first time we did this in 2010, thanking all those who are trying to make customer experiences online more human.
Interestingly, one CEO of a social media vendor teased me for starting this off last year, gently ribbing me “wow I have so many community managers, do I have to all give them raises?”, I replied, “It’s about appreciation, as we know they internally have to harbor a lot of emotional customers, endless work schedule, and are contacted from all types of accounts to help customers”.
It’s simple to do: On Community Manager Appreciation Day (Jan 24th, 2011), just send a genuine thank you to those (at your company, or someone who has helped you as a customer) that are working to make a difference in how companies build relationships with their customers.
Every fourth Monday of January, let’s take the time to pause, recognize, and celebrate the efforts community managers around the world to improve customer experiences.
Passionate About Customers
The title matters not, whether it’s online customer advocate, online customer support, company evangelist, disgruntled customer handler. Instead, focus on what they do: A customer advocate willing to help regardless of where they are online. Learn more by reading the Four Tenants of Community Managers.
Yet, Community Managers Don’t Have it Easy
Yet despite their admirable intentions, we know they face several uphill challenges:
Many challenges are internal: Most companies want to hide customer issues, and shuffle them into existing support systems. Additionally, measuring ROI in new media when a company wants to keep the kimono shut, increasingly becomes a challenge.
Seemingly never ending job: Customers never stop having problems, and with the global internet, the questions, complains, and inquires never stop.
Emotional drain impacts lifestyle: The sheer emotional strain of dealing with a hundreds of yelling customers and the occasional trouble maker will take a strain on anyone.
Privacy risks in the world of transparency: In an effort to build trust with customers, they expose their real name exposing their personal –and family– privacy forever on.
Now, Recognize A Community Manager, Every 4th Monday of January
While we agree with common manners to always thank someone after they’ve helped you, just take a moment to pause.. and think. Why would someone willingly go through the above mentioned challenges? Because of their passion to improve the company, and help customers have a better relationship. In many cases, a genuine ‘thank you’ can mean more than a yearly customer satisfaction survey. Take the time to recognize and thank the community manager that may have helped you while you during your time of need.
If you’re a customer, and your problem was solved by a community manager be sure to thank them in the medium that helped you in. Use the hashtag #CMAD.
If you’re a colleague with community manager, take the time to understand their passion to improve the customer –and company experience. Copy their boss.
If you’re a community manager, stop and breathe for a second, and know that you’re appreciated. Hug your family.
This isn’t just about a single role, but a bigger trend of making product and services more efficient, and thereby our world a little bit more efficient and sustainable. The comments are wide open if you wanted to share your experience working with community manager, or as one, feel free to thank them below.