Helping Waiheke businesses and organisation make the best out of social media.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Community managers, who needs em?

A good indicator for the settling of social media into the workplace is the fact that there are now numerous job titles and descriptions describing work within the online landscape. These terms are slowly becoming commonplace amongst recruiters and large organisations with significant consumer bases and marketing budgets. The first one I remember coming across, and one that is increasingly prevalent amongst the job sites, is community manager. There is a lot of conversation around about just what a community manager is, but Jeremy Owyang (one of the originators of the term), outlines some features of the role like this:
  1. Listen
  2. Respond
  3. Inform
  4. Shut up and sit back
  5. Listen more
This is an iterative process, and to me describes a conversation between people in an online community that is sustained over time. The fact that there are now organisations willing to pay people to attend to this type of work online should reveal just how serious these organisations are taking the new media.

This is all fine though if you are a large organisation with marketing money to spare, but what if you are one of the thousands of small businesses trying to reach people who are increasingly spending more and more time online searching for products or services? What characteristics does one require to be a community manager, and do you need to worry?

Firstly, I'd say you need to question whether your type of business, service, or product is one that has some kind of community mulling around it. Wine for example is an industry that absolutely flourishes in online conversations. The amount of blog posts and twitter activity about Waiheke and wine for example are huge and my account is constantly being followed by wine commentators just because of the association of Waiheke to wine. This is because wine is a conversational community; the very product itself is associated with the art of conversation.

So if you have a product or are in an industry that might attract something of a community around it, or if you are fiercely promoting a specific brand, then perhaps exploring further these characteristics and seeing how you might be able to perform these functions online could be well worth it. A lot of it is about being firstly being able to find the conversations, track them, and integrate yourself into already pre-existing communities and discussions. Twitter for example is a great way to find out what people are saying about a brand or a market, but also a Google blog search ( is a great way to lead you in the right direction.

If you need help getting there, feel free to contact us as well, or post your questions to the Waiheke Social Media Facebook Page.

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