Archive for February, 2008

Forrester to hire a Community Manager, will you apply?


Something that I didn’t disclose in public, that my research on Community Managers (that I published yesterday) serves two purposes, Forrester is seeking a Community Manager at our Cambridge Mass HQ.

I contributed the basics to this job description, which as modified by the hiring manager, our fabulous Web Strategist Michelle F. I know there’s a lot of community folks reading this blog, so I’m really hoping that you’ll come and submit your resume directly to me.

I’m not the final decision maker on this role, but I’m going to do my best to find someone from the community I support, so come work us!

Send me your resume
You can submit your resume directly to me by emailing me at, the subject line must say “Community Manager”. I promise to keep your identity secret, as I’m suspecting you work at an existing company now, my research indicated how hard it is to find these qualified folks.

Here’s the job description:

Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent technology and market research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. For more than 24 years, Forrester has been making leaders successful every day through its proprietary research, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more information, visit

Forrester Online Community Manager
Cambridge, Mass.
FLSA status: Exempt

At Forrester Research, we believe a direct conversation between customers and employees is essential to helping our customers make the right decisions in their jobs. We are looking for someone who is passionate about helping customers on a daily basis and who can energize and breathe life into a gathering of minds.

The Forrester Online Community Manager�s mission is to develop a strategy and plan to launch, grow, and maintain customer communities at Forrester. As a passionate customer advocate, you are responsible for representing the best interests of the community. In this hybrid role, you are part support, coordinator, facilitator, yet always remaining customer-focused. You lead, guide, and moderate discussion topics between members and employees, as well as collect and represent the needs from the community. You will align the business and operational needs of the community programs and integrate it with various facets of the business.


* Develop strategy for the launch and growth of our customer communities
* Monitor internal and external Web sites and facilitate discussions
* Engage with the community through a series of online and offline events
* Provide real-time alerts and monthly reports to key internal stakeholders
* Coordinate, publish, and follow up on Forrester content as it serves the needs of our customers
* Identify and develop relationships with research analysts and key internal content developers
* Evangelize and train internal clients on the value of the online community, including research, client group marketing teams, and IT
* Prioritize incoming member requests and redirect to internal clients as needed


* Bachelor�s degree and experience in managing similar online business communities; experience in marketing preferred
* Well-versed in online communications and social media tools including forums, blogs, podcasts, wikis and social networks
* Strong sense of urgency and ability to respond quickly and timely
* Savvy online communication skills � presenting a welcoming and professional voice yet, able to manage online detractors in a discreet and tactful way
* Ability to multitask in several communities
* Proficiency in basic systems administration such as permissions, content publishing, and other �back-end� tools
* Good social and interpersonal skills that translate well into an online persona

Forrester Research is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer; M/F/D/V are especially encouraged to apply.

The same job description is on the website, and you should see our careers section, there are currently 123 jobs available.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I get a bonus for finding the right person, but I’m pretty sure they are in my network (or perhaps a node one off) so please spread the word.

Community Spending on Agency Side on the Rise?


Picture 219David Deal of Avenue A | Razorfish sent me a copy of the Digital Outlook report (you can register for it here), (update: it’s available without registration here) it contains many of their findings from the past year, future predictions, and even has some excerpts from Forrester Reports. The scope is on interactive marketing, so it includes elements of social media, search, mobile, verticals, media, etc. I found the digital PDF version difficult to read, so they sent me a print version.

No way is this an endorsement for their interactive firm (If you want to learn more about the connected agency go read colleague Peter Kim) but I find it interesting that they published their billings (revenues) and broke it down by category.

From 2006-2007 “Community” shot up 34 million to 55 million an increase of 61%. If you look at that trajectory it was the fastest growing billing for their firm in the last 4 years.

At one time in my career I considered working at a PR or Interactive agency, and I told them that I thought they should be increasing their billings on social media at 20% for nearly every account.

Take a look at the list of companies that came last night, there were quite a few that had dedicated roles focused on community and social media.

Although we defined Online Community as: An online community is an interactive group of people joined together by a common interest, many executives have a hard time understanding the fluffy term community (“conversations” is far worse btw). so here’s how I translate it: Companies care about their marketplace. Also, customers are important. Since a group of customers is a community, a community is actually another word for marketplace. If you care about customers or your marketplace, you’d ought to care about community.

Now only if my bank account looked like that chart.

Social Media Discussions at the Online Community Roundtable


Picture 219

We shouldn’t be surprised that Social Media Strategists know how to share. Forrester was pleased to host the Online Community Roundtable, you can continue the discussion in the Facebook Group.

(Update: I uploaded this video with the Flip Camera, man it’s easy capture, edit and publish with this thing)

Bill Johnston is a community servant (Update: he posts his thoughts from his blog), and I mean that in the best possible way. He organizes events for the Social Media industry that serve those who are practicing, it’s really a very valuable service. Every other month, he organizes the Online Community Roundtable for anyone who’s struggling with the day to day job of reaching to customers using online tools, a different company hosts this event each time. Update: Chris Kenton provides his thoughts from the event, he was expands off the idea of Identity Escrow. Ken Kaplan gives context on his presentation on storytelling, I’d like to see Ken speak more often.

To me, perhaps the most interesting topic was one around the “Future of Social Networks” and Chris Kenton’s historical look at marketing, and how technology has empowered and disabled marketers

This is actually a ‘user group’ or in Forrester terms, what we call a ‘support community’ where friends, colleagues, peers (and competitors) come together to share and learn from each other. The size of the event is limited, around 35 yielded quality conversations, any more would have caused fragmentations. Bill is masterful in not letting anyone pitch, and anyone who wants to share puts their name up on the board, here’s the list of presentations.

One social network even got up and told the group that they were having challenges growing in a particular market and asked for opinions and help. A few questions from the crowd asked for demographic information, objectives, and clarification, then a barrage of suggestions from seasoned community folks came back to help, now that’s community.

There’s a “Soft NDA” in place, so if a member wanted something to stay confidential, then all will have to respect this, it leads to greater sharing and trust. Some of those who attended included those from Intel, Webex, CyWorld, Charles and Helen Schwab Organization, Cadence, YouTube, Lithium, Leverage, LiveWorld, Ringcube, Intuit, Symantec, VM Ware, Wyse, Babycenter, Tesla Motors, Joyent, SixApart, On24, ZapTXT and hosted by Forrester. (who did I miss?)

I think I can speak for Charlene, that for us this was a real treat, these are the folks we research for, these are the problems that we’re also trying to find out what works and what doesn’t for. I’d like to to thank Forrester’s Frans V.E. for funding the food and drink, Frank C. for helping drag the tables around, and Joan M, the Foster City office manager for all her work and preparation.

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Guest Post: Lenovo’s Web Strategist David Churbuck “Corporate Blogging 201 – The Risks of NQA Blog Service”


Yesterday, David Churbuck dinged me for writing for novices, and also suggested I wasn’t near the trenches.

I could have fired back, but that would have been foolish, looking at his profile, I realized he knew what he was talking about. Instead, I left a comment on his blog, and offered for him to set the bar higher by being a guest poster.

He accepted.

David is digging in at Lenovo where he’s managing the web strategy, and is fighting the good fight day to day. He took my offer, and submitted via email I think he’s certainly set the bar higher for me.

Here’s what David submitted to me, (including a thoughtful email apology) the following relevant post is all his words:

Corporate Blogging 201 – The Risks of NQA Blog Service
by David Charbuck, A Web Strategy Guest Poster

I just took Jeremiah Owyang to task for publishing thumbsucking advice on corporate blogging — “Ask for feedback!” “Admit it when you are wrong!” — and challenged the growing legions of social media pundits to kick it up a notch with some news I could use.

So, henceforth, with no book in the works on the next evolution in the Super Transparent Corporate Social Conversational Marketing Revolution, I can declare I have no commercial ax to grind and simply want to charitably share the wealth from someone who walks the walk of corporate blogging day in and day out.

If the books are publishing “101” level advice, let this be the first in a “201” series – the next level in the curriculum, the class you take your sophomore year.

In partly pedantic jest, I suggested the type of topic I’d like to discuss is: contravening corporate policy by privately resolving a blogged customer support issue and having the blogger publically state the solution and thereby set a precedent for all future complaints

Let’s look at the scenario in less pedantic terms. The risk of a no-questions-asked (NQA) blogger appeasement policy.

Let’s say you are the corporate blogger at Newco and among your responsibilities is monitoring the blogosphere for expressions of customer joy and unhappiness. You hire a service, or you do it yourself, but eventually you are going to find a person who writes something like this:

“I just bought a new widget from Newco and it has three dead dingbats. I am a graphic designer and I must have a flawless product to do my job. I called Newco and they said their policy is only to replace widgets with five contiguous dead dingbats. This is bullshit. I am going to write a letter to the Better Business Bureau and Jeff Jarvis.”

You, the corporate blog person, check on the corporate website, and yep, there is the dead dingbat policy plain as day. This policy is essentially the same one that everyone else in the industry follows. Do you:

  • Acknowledge the unhappy dingbat person with a comment (Thank you for writing about Newco. I’m sorry you aren’t happy. Have a nice day.)?
  • Debate the blogger and cite the fact that Newco is in line with the rest of the industry with its dead dingbat policy (Sorry; suck it up)?
  • Invite the blogger to talk about it privately (Hey, give me a call or drop me a line.)?
  • Ignore the blogger?
  • Do you let customer service know that you have found a complaint about the dead dingbat policy in the expectation they will communicate with the blogger? Do you let PR know?
  • Do you arrange to have a widget with a pristine display over-nighted to the blogger in the hope it will shut him up?
  • Do you propose a new strategy to the business unit where users can pay more for a zero-defect widget?
  • Let’s say the blogger gets really upset and continues to post about the dead dingbats. Let’s say the blogger takes the case to The Consumerist or the Ripoff Report and the forums, and tells people to join him in a campaign against your company’s dumb policy. The comments on the post begin to fill with other people who hate dead dingbats. The noise level is rising. Someone in PR notices it in a Google news alert. You get an email asking if you know about this. The blogger posts your CEO’s home phone number. And calls it.

    As you look for a way to make the blogger happy, you discuss the policy internally and learn that dead dingbats are a fact of life, and that due to the vagaries of manufacturing there is no such thing as a flawless, dingbat-free widget, and to identify one means hours and hours of combing through thousands of widgets to find a clean one. The bottom line is this: making flawless widgets would destroy the bottom line which is why no one in the industry guarantees it.

    But the blogger doesn’t care about that. The blogger is mad and nothing is going to make him happy other than a pristine system. So you find one. You arrange to have it hand delivered by your regional manager. Along with a Tickler Bouquet and a box of chocolates.

    And you ask the blogger to please keep the new machine to himself, this is a one-time special exception, so please don’t blog about it. Okay?

    Ha. The blogger declares victory, tells the world that his campaign has paid off, that Newco has caved and the Customers are in Control! Congratulations: you just insured that every person who Googles: “Newco Dead Dingbat Policy” is going to hear the story of how you made an exception. And they will all expect the same

    The exception is now the rule, in public, for everyone to see.

    So, fellow corporate bloggers and customer service professionals. This is a question of pure situational ethics. When do you make an extraordinary gesture of customer satisfaction and when do you stick to your guns?

  • Have you ever stuck to your guns and regretted it (if only we had given the customer their money back ….)?
  • Have you ever made a concession and kept it secret?
  • Have you ever made a concession and changed your organization’s policy in the process?
  • Is No Questions Asked customer service (the kind that LL Bean and Craftsmen Tools and Nordstrom practice) a figment of some marketing consultant’s imagination?
  • When do you tell a blogger to pound sand?
  • The integration of customer service into social media marketing programs is a logical imperative and usually will follow right on the heels of integrating corporate communications. The effects of the “new Better Business Bureau” are the ones that are going to strike your organization between the eyes first. How you invite your customer service teams into the medium can spell the difference between harmony and hatred.

    Jeremiah: Thanks David for starting Corporate Blogging 201, certainly a dilemma, I’ll leave my comment in the comments below, and I encourage everyone else to as well.

    Update: Ugh, I’ve misspelled David’s name and gotten it wrong a few times. really sorry. updated the posts now.

    Forrester Report: How to Staff for Social Computing; The Social Computing Strategist & the Community Manager


    I’m talking to more and more clients who are starting to budget for social media programs, this also includes hiring the right kind of people.

    As you know, I hail from Hitachi Data Systems (2003-2006) as the Online Community Manager, I know the role, and what it means to connect with customers using social media tools. While I don’t officially hold that title now, I have the rare pleasure to actually do some research on the role and what it means to customers and business.

    In the last few months, I’ve interviewed nearly a dozen community managers at many companies, and compiled 16 specific job descriptions to create these 4 Tenets of Community Managers. We also had many internal discussions to whittle down what’s important and what’s not.

    Companies assemble Social Media Teams
    The report, entitled How to Hire for Social Computing actually outlines there are TWO roles needed for a successful social computing program. It’s available for all clients to download at will, for non-clients, you can purchase it online, and if not satisfied, benefit from the money back guarantee.

    The Social Computing Strategist
    The Social Media Strategist, whose job is to lead the internal charge, develops the program, gains resources, convinces management, and measures success. In the report, I reference Ed Terpening, VP of Social Media at Wells Fargo as a Social Computing Strategist,

    The Community Manager
    Secondly, the Community Manager, who’s job is to primarily be a community advocate Lionel Menchaca as Dell’s Community Manager as examples of best practice (big shoes to fill eh?). There are thousands of other community managers who are pushing the membrane of the corporation to reach to customers, the list grows longer every day.

    What you’ll learn
    This report (which is one of our products, like consulting) outlines who these people are, what do they do, where to find them, how to manage them, and how to compensate them. If you’re trying to convince your management about the validity of these roles, this report will help you.

    Also, I strive to walk the talk, if you’re a client, you can leave feedback on my blog, but also leave it on the Forrester site after you login. I promise to respond to any of your questions about the report. (we allow clients to rate and leave comments on every report).

    Lastly, If you’re seeking to hire or get hired as one of these social media folks, start here, and read all my On The Move posts.

    My Facebook Profile is a “Junkyard”


    Image: View a screenshot from my Facebook profile

    At one time, I added many apps to experiment, but I’ll have to admit, very few I use on a regular basis. I often discuss in my presentations that our research indicates that many folks use social networks to check out others profiles.

    Apparently, I need to do some housecleaning as, my kid sister wrote this on my Facebook Wall this morning: “hello big brother!! your facebook profile is a JUNKYARD!”. She’s also the little darling who told me that “I only use email to get a hold of old people like you“.

    Sigh, kids. As my former boss Kevin Eves used to tell me, “so it goes”.