Every 4th week of January, we celebrate everything that community managers across the globe do to build a sense of belonging, cultivate lasting relationships with customers, and generally improve customer experiences.
Not to be left out, CMX Boston gathered at Hatch Fenway on January 23 for Community Manager Appreciation Day, breakfast, and an inspiring conversation on goal-setting. Many thanks to Sense for sponsoring this event.
We’ll begin our recap with three great reads to get you amped up for community success in 2017.
#CMAD2017 recommended reading
The CMAD team, CommunityManagerAppreciationDay.com
22 amazing speakers in 12 hours. Even if you missed it, the CMAD webathon lineup is a useful snapshot of influencers to know, as well as what community managers are thinking about this year. Sessions include “The Art and Strategy Behind Online Engagement” and “Community, Technology and the Money Trail.”
Shannon Sweetser, Community Manager at Mobilize
What kinds of companies build communities? Some of them are exactly what you expect: like Reddit, at Meetup and The Rising Tide Society, the community is the product. There are also companies like Docker, Magento, and Prezi, communities that focus on peer-to-peer support, customer advocacy, and supporting members as they build their reputation as product experts.
Suzy Nelson, Community Manager at DigitalMarketer.com
If you’ve just started a Community Manager role at a company without an existing community program, you’re not alone. “There weren’t ANY strategies or processes,” writes Suzy. “My interview went along the lines of, ‘You seem nice. Your new job is to answer people’s questions on Facebook. We’ve come a LONG WAY since my interview and now manage a closed community of 10,227 members (as of this posting).” Try out the strategies that worked for Suzy.
Community manager goals for 2017
We kicked off our roundtable discussion by sharing the goals we’re working on this year. Here’s our bulleted list, as well as cherry-picked resources, examples, and inspiration to get us from here to there.
- Launch and scale an advocate community.
(Resources: Namely Backstage Pass, Lululemon, Evernote)
- Get product feedback from the community to the product team. (Resources: Dell’s IdeaStorm, Wix Lounge, Rapid7 Community)
- Host events to build relationships with customers and influencers.
(Resources: People Geekups, Etsy’s meetups and workshops)
- Find a new job with a growing team.
(Resources: CMX Hub job board, AngelList)
- Build a new community from scratch.
(Resources: Groupmuse, November Project)
Recognizing community contributions
One common goal that we all share is recognizing our community’s most active and invested members. Who are your power users? Who volunteers to organize user meetups? Who are your happy customers who constantly recommend your product to people in your network? And how are you acknowledging their contributions? Here’s some strategies from the CMX Boston crew.
While Ben Ewing was Community Product Manager at GrabCAD, the Golden Gear Trophy and Awards recognized the top members of the community: those who write tutorials, make great CAD models, and frequently share tips and insights as comments in the forum. Fun fact: The trophy itself was designed by the community every year.
Inbar Brenner, Community Manager at Ovia Health, reports that building community within the company is a top priority. The employee of the month is awarded with a maneki-neko, or Japanese “lucky cat” figurine, which they display at their desk for a month and pass on to the next star performer.
“Our customers know that we wouldn’t exist without them,” says Veronica Armstrong, Head of Customer Happiness at Lovepop. In the early days, she made sure that every customer who placed an order received a “thank you” phone call from the company. Lovepop also recognizes top performers at their growing company with a 3D-printed unicorn, the Pop Star Award.
Join us at our next event
Next we’ll be tackling the new trend of Slack communities. Follow @CMXBOS on Twitter to grab a seat when it’s announced! See you there.