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.
||Provides a list of the top 1000 Community Managers
||Social graph heat maps finds influencers, see my take, see the Twitter list
|| Mid Day Capture Yields: 17.1 million impressions from 5,121 tweets… 3,096 mentions, 1,644 retweets, 381 @reply – #cmad
||Mid-day capture, not a full 24 hour run, but roughly matches other data sets
||10,004 Mentions, thanks Rich Schwerin for the URL.
||Can’t leave date range, so this report may phase out over time.
|Keyhole (report also in Spanish)
||17,548 tweets by 13,479 users
||Interesting tool. Showed hotspots in CA and NY, with Mashable as a major influencer
||16,628 Total Tweets. 8083 Total tweeters
||Shows keyword map, and analysis. Most active include jpedde, evanhamilton
||Shares that the hashtag was used 17.5K times
||Indicates most activity in United States
|NodeXL (Social Graph Analysis)
||This focused data set analyzes the interactions with the core graph during a period of time, shows Mashable at core.
||Several leaderboards on top URLs, and top tweeters, keywords used
|Salesforce Marketing Cloud (slides, also embedded below)
||24,000 conversations, most on Twitter, in English followed by Spanish
||Interesting how dominate Twitter is over FB and Blogs.
|UberVu (dashboard report)
||19k Tweets, 281 plusses on Google+, 256 posts on FB
||Interesting how the sentiment was overall good, at 43%
|| I’ll cross link
Above: UberVu has a dashboard of metrics
Above: Screenshot of Bluenod
Above Screenshot: NodeXL has a detailed visualization of the cmad social graph
Above Screenshot: Topsy
Above Screenshot, Keyhole
- There were multiple physical locations spanning SF, Boston, Atlanta, Austin, Tokyo, France, Finland, and beyond, it’s difficult to track them all.
- Online events included a 12 hour Google Hangout, I watched a few hours, learned from global CMs, see videos
- Percolate hosted an all day event in NY for CMs
- At SF’s packed event, I spotted Bill Johnston’s with this clever shirt (pic)
- Of course, some CMs get their desks decorated, or cupcakes, flowers.
- Events in DC, at LivingSocial locale (pic)
- The Online Project in Jordan had an event, complete with banners, food
Media, Press, Blogs
Voices of Community Managers, and Shout Outs!
Technology Vendors and Innovators (alpha sorted)
Collection of 2013 Community Manager Day Artifacts
Above: Yammer Community Playbook
Above: Get Satisfaction provides insights for CMs
Above: Get Satisfaction provides infographic on the Hats of a Community
Collection of CM Advice via MarketWire
Uservoice has several clever CMAD cards. Ironic empathy makes me feel ok.
SocialFresh offers a helpful infographic with demographics and salary data
Please leave a comment below of any coverage I missed, I’ll add.
Update: Here’s a Wrapup of #CMAD 2013, which Trended.
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)
- Lauren Vargas (@vargasl) at Aetna
- Paco Vázquez (@pakvazquez) at Telefónica
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:
- Salesforce MarketingCloud (@marketingcloud) is followed by 26%
- Wildfire (@wildfireapp) 11%
- BuddyMedia (@buddymedia) 8%
- Lithium (@LithiumTech) 8%
- Cotweet (@cotweet) 8%
- Sprinklr (@Sprinklr) 6%
- Spredfast (@Spredfast) 6%
- Adobe Social (@AdobeSocial) 3%
- LiveWorld (@liveworld) 3%
- Involver (@involver) 2%
- Little Bird (@getlittlebird) 2%
- Oracle (@oracle) 1%
8 ) Most Influential European Community Managers
Out of the top 500 Community Managers in Europe, the ones most followed by their peers are:
- Camille Jourdain (@camj59)
- Christophe Ramel (@Kriisiis)
- Cédric DENIAUD (@cdeniaud)
- Flavien Chantrel (@moderateur),
- Jean-Luc Raymond (@jeanlucr)
- Isabelle Mathieu (@isabellemathieu).
9) Rising Stars in Community Manager Space
Globally, the most Emergent CMs this year, defined as new but already followed by a large number of other leaders in the field are:
- Hootsuite’s Laura Horak (@laurahoots)
- Rolando Cuevas (@cuevas_rolando) of Spain’s Community Next
- Mark Schwanke (@AdoptACM) formerly of Motorola Mobility
- Fer Rubio Ahumada (@FerRubioAhumada)
- Patricia Fernandez (@triciafernan)
10) Most Connected Community Managers
Globally, the CMs who are following the largest number of other top CMs on Twitter are:
- Nissim Alkobi (@nis519) at Payoneer
- James Baldwin (@TwistedEdge) of the International Game Developers Association
- Paulette Bleam (@paulettebleam) of stealth startup Sumazi
- Jim Storer (@jimstorer) of Community Roundtable
- Robyn Tippins (@duzins) of ReadWriteWeb
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.
It’s the third annual Community Manager Appreciation Day (every fourth Monday of Jan) and I’d like to salute the folks working on the front lines at companies big and small leading the charge.
These folks are critical in the change as companies have moved from the static website to the dynamic human focused social business we’re seeing across every agency.
Charged with the following four key responsibilities: a community advocate, brand evangelist, savvy online communicator, and involved in shaping future products and services they’ve got their hands full. This exciting new role is common at many companies within the social media team, see composition of a social media team, and how community managers fit in.
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!
How are today’s social media teams structured? Ever wonder who’s behind those corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts? Think there’s more to it than an intern just tweeting haphazardly?
This data, in the below graphic, is compiled from Altimeter’s recent survey to 144 global national corporations with over 1000 employees shows how today’s teams in 2011 are breaking down. This is the core team that operates the social media program within a corporation, often within corporate communications or a marketing function they will work with other business units. For very large corporations, they may be fragmented among many business units (the Dandelion model), and this data doesn’t even include agency, consultants, or even research firms who help out. Here’s what we found:
Finding: A Social Media Team Consists of Four Major Functions
While the team size may vary, it’s important to understand the components of a team. Also, it’s key to look at the ratios between the groups, so companies can know how to plan and budget. Although you can learn more about the specific titles here, among the responses, we found a trend of four key groups, segmented by:
- Leadership Team: We found 1.5 folks are focused on leadership and vision, the most common title is the Corporate Social Strategist, and we published a research report discussing the aspirations and challenges of this Open Leader, and how they organize internally. They are primarily focused on the overall program ROI, and are internally focused to drive business results. This role is a requirement, even if it’s a part time role.
- Business Unit Facing: Two folks are facing the business units (liason, education), and work inside of the company to help multiple business units from sales, support, products, field, execs get on board. Often they can be segmented by region (like Sarah Goodall, SAPs EMEA social strategist) and even by product units. These roles are key for coordinated scale, once the center of excellence has been established
- Market-Facing: Three three community managers are facing customers, and serve as a go-between to balance the needs between customers and the corporation, I’ve written at length about these important professionals, see all tagged posts. These units are key for customer interaction, but in the end cannot scale and will shift to advocacy or enable customers to respond to each other.
- Program Management: We found 4.5 are in program management (developers, analytics) that keep the ship growing by running programs often at the corporate level like the social media managers, the analyst that’s conducting reporting and brand monitoring programs, and lastly the developer teams, which get systems to work. As a corporate resources serving spokes, these roles are key, esp as data needs to be aggregated for business intelligence.
Applying This Data To Your Program
Averages are helpful, but only if we can apply this to your business, and because it’s not easy to publish about all the variations, here’s how to apply it to your business:
- Company size changes team headcount –yet ratios likely stay same. This is an average, so the changes of you having exactly 11 folks is not likely, chances are your company is larger or smaller than this average –and your team size will vary. In fact, this is often a cross-functional team, as a majority of companies are in the hub and spoke or dandelion models. In fact, if your company is smaller, you may be wearing multiple hats –but we should expect the ratios of the roles to roughly average out, all things equal.
- Mature programs shift to empowerment, changing team dynamic. We’ve sorted data by maturity in previous sample sizes, and know that in 2010 the team sizes were a little under 4 for novice, about 8 for intermediate, and could get up to 20 for mature programs, read the report on budgets and team sizes. You should expect similar modeling to occur in all corporations. Furthermore, we’ve seen trends that more advanced companies will have more business unit liasons to empower teams, and reduce their core community managers as the conversations move the edges of the company.
- If these teams are successful, they fade into the background. In the future, these teams will likely shrink, or evolve into customer experience teams. Know that the corporate social strategist will work themselves out of a job. Why? Business units will be able to operate their own programs without excessive oversight, following program guidelines, and using pre0-set best practices and sanctioned software systems. With that said, a core team will always be required, to coordinate the enterprise, but we predict this will evolve into a customer experience team (or back into the CX team)
Thanks to Christine Tran, Senior Researcher at Altimeter (and part-time tomato farmer) for work on surveying brands, analysis, and collating data for this graphic. If you’re in one of these teams, I would to hear from you, what your team size is, composition, in the comments below.
Update: Here’s a related graphic detailed the team roles and descriptions, all from the report on Social Business Readiness where the data above is from.
For seasoned or budding community managers, investing in a solid foundation of learning through an education program and becoming certified is a good investment –yet don’t think classroom time is sufficient, as time and experience in the field is the most important.
A Need for Capable Community Managers on the Rise
If there’s one thing I’ve been learning in my research it’s that corporations need skilled staff to use new media tools. Enter the Community Manager, part customer advocate, part product manager, part host, who tirelessly deals with customers online. In fact, Altimeter’s research indicates that budgets increase significantly for social media boutiques, and digital agencies as corporations become more advanced. Despite the increase in adoption from corporations, they are often ill-staffed, or throw traditional communicators into a new media mix –with poor results. Furthermore, we’re seeing a rise in out-sourced community management services, which raised quite the online conversation.
[As the Social Business Space Emerges, Education and Certifications Will Emerge –Yet Be Sure to Balance Your Team with Education –and Real World Experience]
WOMMA and Friends Launch Community Certificate Program
To meet the needs listed above, a group of very talented and experienced community professionals have teamed up with Womma to launch a certificate program with Community Roundtable and ComBlu, to aid education and standards across the industry. I chatted with Rachel Happe of Community Roundtable to learn that their focus provides:
“Our training helps organizations in three specific ways:
-It sets common expectations for individuals and companies about what individuals should know at different levels.
-It ensures that individuals are introduced to the issues and concepts that they will face over time.
-It consolidates learning so that individuals can more quickly ramp up and become productive contributors.”
I also like how they segment their classes for different roles: Community specialist, Community manager and the Community strategist. As this program grows it can certainly advance the industry, as well as the professionals involved in partaking in the offering.
Risks of Certs: Best Practices are Few and Far in Between
What’s one big challenge with certs? It’s hard to define best practices in a nascent space that may be just as much art as it is science. In fact, Dells’ Bill Johnston who’s leading their Community Strategy told me that “The inevitable downside will be a lack of standards. I’m assuming that every association or firm that is involved with social media / community will develop their own curriculum and standards” He also writes; “Further, certification without hands on training and mentoring is not going to help advance the practice of community management and development.”
Yet, Don’t Over Rely on Education –Real World Experience is Key
Like any trade or art, from sales, PR, performance arts and beyond, real-world experience is the most important teacher of all. Unlike black and white task orientated jobs, Community Management, and the art of dealing with dynamic humans, is as much of an art, as it is a science. I asked the CEO of Liveworld (who hires hundreds of Community Managers), Peter Friedman who says we should look broader; “The key is to get someone with the right personality, enthusiasm and skills. Experience counts too. Even if there were good CM certification programs around, I wouldn’t disqualify someone for not having such a certification. I’d look at the person’s other specifics” he also put certifcations into priority order: “For example a person with 5 years real CM experience is likely to be much stronger than a person with 1 year of experience and a certification”.
Hiring and Compensating your Community Manager
- Look for experience match against the Four Tenants of Community Managers. In 2007, I analyzed 16 job descriptions, and published the Four Tenants of the Community Manager and we found the following four job requirements: Community Advocate, Brand Evangelist, Savvy Communicator, and Shapes Product Roadmap. Your Community Managers should match these job needs, and have the relevant experience to boot. For example, Dell’s community strategist Bill Johnston told me he made his two hires (Connie Benson who’s written a post covering this topic, and Cy Jervis) based on “experience & impact” and cited both of their previous work.
- Ask them how they’re polishing their skills, beyond the day job. Although Community Managers are often social creatures, they could be working in a vaccum, and may be missing out on greater training or perspective. Ask them how they stay current on industry trends, as well as help them connect with their peers in groups like the Community Roundtable, and participating in online discussions such as the Twitter #cmgrchat tag. By bolstering skills and learning through education programs (like the Womma Certification), and see this older list by CM Roundtable.
- Reward them based on Business Impact. As orginizations invest in communities, they must serve business purposes from marketing, increasing adoption, self-support, or even using for innovating new products. Companies should measure based on the business impacts that these communities provide –not just raw engagement or community growth. I asked Evan Hamilton the Community Manager for UserVoice (which in itself a community) what he thought and he told me; “I think employers should pay based on what their team members accomplish. I didn’t start in community management with any sort of training, but I deliver results for the companies I work for, and they pay me accordingly. Companies should always encourage employees to get more training…but they shouldn’t pay based on a piece of paper that says you’re good at something.” …well said.
The Bottom Line: The emerging Community Manager education and certifications are a good thing for all professionals –yet be sure to balance them out with peer to peer learnings, and real-world experience.