This is What a Community Manager Isn’t

At the Community Manager UNconference, a.k.a. #cmgrUN, held last month at Enerspace, Community Managers from across the country got together to figure out what makes a really great CM. While the field of online community management is still new to the general public, veterans in the industry, many who were at #cmgrUN, have been defining the job role for years.

To better understand what a CM does, and what a good one should be doing once you hire them (because you need to hire one), I’ve compiled this list of #cmgrUN takeaways. Take note!

CMs are not reactive, they are proactive.

Jeannie Walters, CEO of 360Connext, a customer experience investigation agency, spoke to the group about identifying and addressing customer issues before they become scary PR nightmares. To do this, CMs must:

Track patterns.

Don’t ignore the obvious. Document customer concerns and track how often the concern is expressed. Apply the “no tweet left behind principle” and don’t overlook any one customer’s issue.


Do a Twitter search of your company and you’ll only see a portion of what users are saying. Search your product and you’ll get a wealth of customer feedback. Customer complaints are not always directed at the source, so track forums and review sites to gauge customer response.

CMs are not robots.


Social media strategist, Jure Klepic, talks to the #cmgrUN crowd about personalizing content. Photo credit: #cmgrUN team

“Personalize, personalize, personalize,” was the message from Jure Klepic, social media innovator and strategist. Even if you’re the voice behind a huge company, users need to feel like they are the only one. CMs play an integral role in humanizing a brand. To do this, they must:


When people no longer wanted to see an animal centric circus, Cirque Du Soleil redefined what a circus is. Klepic gave this anecdote to illustrate how crucial it is to listen to the needs of your customers. Not only do you need to listen, but your actions need to show you’re listening.


Klepic says the media has done a great job of personalizing their content. It’s no longer enough to present a straight news story; viewers want to feel engaged and they want to relate. By integrating social media stats, tweets, Facebook posts etc. into live broadcasts, the media is able to connect to the viewer in a personal way.

Bonus: CMs are not flaky.

Two weeks after the event, I received a small card in the mail with my name hand written on the envelope. Inside was a card that read, “You’re at the corner of awesome and bombdigity,” on the front. And on the inside was a short note from #cmgrUN organizer Tim McDonald, thanking me for coming out to the event and making good on his promise to surprise and delight his audience, like a true community manager.

July’s SoMe Insight Event to Feature David Gardner, Co-founder of Colorjar


David Gardner is the co-founder of ColorJar, a digital agency that specializes in positioning strategy and creating custom websites and apps. On July 26, Gardner will speak at SoMe Digital Media’s Insight series, a monthly showcase for successful companies to present actionable insights to the greater business community.

Inspired by ColorJar’s blog post on “keeping your message brief,” SoMe sat down with Gardner for a quick pre-event chat on mascots, music, and the biggest digital marketing mistake people make.

SoMe: You have worked with everyone from local favorites Glazed and Infused to national powerhouse, Chevrolet. What are the 3 characteristics you look for in a potential client?

David Gardner: We look for clients who are passionate, who are doing something cool and who don’t take themselves too seriously

SM: We see you use to play professional basketball, if ColorJar were in the NBA what would their mascot be?

DG: Fire breathing dragons. (Rockets are already taken.)

SM: What’s the best advice you ever got?

DG: I like the advice my grandma gave me, “Nothing just happens, you have to want something and make it happen. Then get started.”

SM: What’s your favorite music to work to?

DG: I like to stream “the current” 89.3. In high school I once wrote a 10 page paper while listening to this song.”

SM: As a digital marketing agency, we have to ask, why doesn’t ColorJar have a Facebook page?

DG: ColorJar doesn’t have a Facebook because we believe that if you’re going to do something, you gotta do it great. We don’t have the resources for a thriving Facebook at the moment. Twitter currently suits us.

SM: What’s the biggest thing people get wrong when designing a digital marketing strategy?

DG: When you look at the websites of many companies, it takes too long to figure out what they do and why. Be clear on what you want users to take away from your company.

SM: We looked at the ColorJar staff bios and everyone on your team is so interesting. Tell us, what do you look for when hiring staff?

DG: We like to hire interesting people. There’s a ColorJar kind of person. The benefit to hiring interesting people is that there’s lots of different perspectives with new and experienced eyes.

Don’t miss David’s Insight talk about finding your Golden Purpose on Friday, July 26 at Enerspace Chicago. The event is free, but seating is limited. Register through Eventbrite today!

Pop Chips Has Popped To The Top Of My Favorite Brands

A lot of brands have turned their Twitter accounts into the hub of their business’s customer service side, and for good reason! Look at the facts:

*71% of 16-24 year olds go online when they have a problem with a product (2012 Sitel Study)
*67% of 23,000 consumers in a J.D. Power and Associates study had used a company’s social media site for servicing
*87% of consumers in the J.D. Power and Associates study said their online social interaction with the company positively impacted the likelihood that they’ll purchase from the brand, and that the responsiveness of the service representatives were a key of that satisfaction.” – Social Media Chicago

Using my personal experience as a Community Manager, I went straight to social media to air my disdain for a poorly packaged bag of chips. My end result was out of this world! Here’s the story:

I was coming home from work and needed a snack to hold me over until dinner time. I popped into a local Grocery Store to pick up a perfectly priced Pop Chips snack, only to find a half-full bag of chips. I took a snapshot and immediately tweeted the company.