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March 27 2012

17:35

6 ways to get started in community management

Following on from my previous post on the network journalist role, and as part of a wider experiment around the 5 roles in an investigations team, I wanted to flesh out what exactly a community editor role means when adopted as part of a journalism project.

First I need to add a disclaimer: the terms “community editor” (CE) and “community manager” (CM) are used to refer to a very wide range of jobs in a number of industries. I’m not sure what distinction there is – if any – but my hunch is that the title ‘community editor’ has been overtaken by its ‘manager’ variation because it rightly places the focus more on the community than its content.

Even within journalism, the role can vary enormously. This is partly because the communities themselves, and the challenges that they represent, differ so much. For example:

  • A mass market – anonymous and diverse, which a CM must try to somehow ‘convert’ into one or more healthy niche communities
  • No community – the CM is asked to ‘build it from scratch’
  • The CM’s website(s) already have active communities. The CM’s role is to maintain, support, and further develop those.
  • Communities exist, but not on the website(s) of the CM’s employer – the CM is asked to engage with those (this is more of a Community Editor role)

This post will be dealing with the last situation, which is the one in which most journalists first find themselves: with neither a platform nor a community.

With that out of the way, here are 6 things I think an individual can do as part of their first foray into community management/editing as a journalist:

1. Know where the communities are

This seems like a no-brainer but it’s all too easy to miss communities because you can’t find any evidence of them on Twitter or Facebook.

Along with specialist social networks (LinkedIn for professionals; MySpace for musicians; even profession-specific networks such as Doctors.net), there are forums, wikis, mailing lists, and various other places where people gather to share information and support.

The social media prism by Brian Solis (shown below) is one useful tool for checking if you’ve covered every possible angle on this front. For example: have you thought of looking for your community on Flickr? Last.fm? Digg? A locally popular platform? (LiveJournal dominates in eastern Europe, for example, while QQ is China’s answer to Twitter, Mixi is Japan‘s answer to Facebook, and Orkut and Hi5 have a healthy userbase in places like Brazil and India)

social media prism

Look for the communities in every corner of the net – don’t expect them to come pre-labelled. For example, the forums of local football clubs and local newspapers often contain corners devoted to topics other than football and news. And follow people as well as topics: if you find someone in your field, search for their username across the web and see what other places they contribute to.

One other place to look: the physical world. Live events, conferences, meetups and other gatherings are ideal places to build relationships with members of the community – as well as a great opportunity for providing live coverage online that will lead you to others, and others to you.

2. Look for problems to solve

Once you’ve identified and are following the community, try to find your best role within it. Remember that the community is not here to serve you: barging in and asking for case studies will get you the same response as if you did that in any physical social space: blank stares and muttered insults.

The simplest way to find a place in a community is through solving problems.

Listen for questions that people are asking, or complaints that they make. A key skill of a journalist is to find the answers to questions, or get responses to complaints – so that’s likely to be one way you can contribute.

Those answers and responses, of course, also make for good evergreen content (which can help you attract other members of the community), so cross-post them on your blog as well as on the platforms where the community gathers.

You might also see the need for physical meetups or other events – don’t be afraid to get stuck in and organise one.

3. Be interested – listen and ask questions

You will be both a better journalist and community editor if you listen as much as possible, and ask when you want to hear more about something.

It doesn’t have to be newsworthy – in fact, it’s sometimes better when it’s not – because often it’s an understanding of the small details and complex context which makes for better journalism and, by extension, better – and more – relationships with contacts.

4. Create content out of the process of discovery

As you explore a community a good practice to adopt is to record your research in ways that make it easier for others to engage with the community too. This helps you see what is interesting about a community, as well as creating content which can help contacts find you.

Examples of typical content created from the process of community research include:

  • ‘Top 20 people in [an industry] to follow on Twitter’
  • ‘The best forums for [your field or issue]‘
  • ‘The hottest discussions about the [issue] right now’
  • ‘Where do [profession] go for advice on [problem]?’
  • ‘The best blogs about [your field/issue]‘
  • ‘Forums roundup: what people are saying about [issue/question]‘

You may need to make a choice on where to post this content, especially if the community is not a big user of blogs. Don’t publish in a way that is disconnected from the community that you are supposed to be serving: at the very least cross-publish to the platforms where discussion is healthiest. Don’t spam shared spaces with links to external content.

You might also profile members of the community, or – at a later stage – create something that pulls together profiles, points of view, or experiences. For example: this Times Educational Supplement piece collects excluded pupils’ experiences (incomplete version online); We Are The 99 Percent uses Tumblr to pull together the experiences that inspired a protest movement; and Spitalfields Life seeks to document the places and people of the area, while this Guardian interactive allows you to explore the voices of 100 NHS workers on health reforms.

5. Link, retweet, attribute and comment

Finally, it’s important to link to content from your community as often as possible. This does two things: firstly, it demonstrates good attribution and demonstrates that you are not looking to take credit for yourself which belongs to others. And secondly, it makes other people aware of your work: a link to another blog generates a ‘pingback’ which alerts the author to your piece. Twitter users are notified if their tweet is retweeted by you, Facebook users if you ‘like’ their update, and so on. Comments are an extension of the same principle of acknowledgement.

Linking – or ‘linkblogging’ – is also the simplest way to begin engaging with a field and its communities, and a good habit to get into if you want to understand an area and get in the habit of keeping up to date with it. For more on that, 7 ways to follow a field… is a good guide.

6. Read about community management

As you gain in confidence and reputation, you may find yourself doing more and more in your community. Community management is, to my mind, one of the hardest roles in online journalism to do well, and the more insights you can gather from others, the better prepared you will be.

This list of resources from FeverBee is as good as they come. You should also follow blogs in the field – that list contains a section on those, but if you just want 5 to start with, here’s a bundle to subscribe to.

PS: If you want to see explanations of job descriptions of the CM, and other roles such as social media manager, this post by Blaise Grimes-Viort does a very good job of trying to unpick the subtle differences and links to typical job descriptions. More on traits of community managers at ReadWriteWebThe Constant Observer and Business2Community.

17:35

6 ways to get started in community management

Following on from my previous post on the network journalist role, and as part of a wider experiment around the 5 roles in an investigations team, I wanted to flesh out what exactly a community editor role means when adopted as part of a journalism project.

First I need to add a disclaimer: the terms “community editor” (CE) and “community manager” (CM) are used to refer to a very wide range of jobs in a number of industries. I’m not sure what distinction there is – if any – but my hunch is that the title ‘community editor’ has been overtaken by its ‘manager’ variation because it rightly places the focus more on the community than its content.

Even within journalism, the role can vary enormously. This is partly because the communities themselves, and the challenges that they represent, differ so much. For example:

  • A mass market – anonymous and diverse, which a CM must try to somehow ‘convert’ into one or more healthy niche communities
  • No community – the CM is asked to ‘build it from scratch’
  • The CM’s website(s) already have active communities. The CM’s role is to maintain, support, and further develop those.
  • Communities exist, but not on the website(s) of the CM’s employer – the CM is asked to engage with those (this is more of a Community Editor role)

This post will be dealing with the last situation, which is the one in which most journalists first find themselves: with neither a platform nor a community.

With that out of the way, here are 6 things I think an individual can do as part of their first foray into community management/editing as a journalist:

1. Know where the communities are

This seems like a no-brainer but it’s all too easy to miss communities because you can’t find any evidence of them on Twitter or Facebook.

Along with specialist social networks (LinkedIn for professionals; MySpace for musicians; even profession-specific networks such as Doctors.net), there are forums, wikis, mailing lists, and various other places where people gather to share information and support.

The social media prism by Brian Solis (shown below) is one useful tool for checking if you’ve covered every possible angle on this front. For example: have you thought of looking for your community on Flickr? Last.fm? Digg? A locally popular platform? (LiveJournal dominates in eastern Europe, for example, while QQ is China’s answer to Twitter, Mixi is Japan‘s answer to Facebook, and Orkut and Hi5 have a healthy userbase in places like Brazil and India)

social media prism

Look for the communities in every corner of the net – don’t expect them to come pre-labelled. For example, the forums of local football clubs and local newspapers often contain corners devoted to topics other than football and news. And follow people as well as topics: if you find someone in your field, search for their username across the web and see what other places they contribute to.

One other place to look: the physical world. Live events, conferences, meetups and other gatherings are ideal places to build relationships with members of the community – as well as a great opportunity for providing live coverage online that will lead you to others, and others to you.

2. Look for problems to solve

Once you’ve identified and are following the community, try to find your best role within it. Remember that the community is not here to serve you: barging in and asking for case studies will get you the same response as if you did that in any physical social space: blank stares and muttered insults.

The simplest way to find a place in a community is through solving problems.

Listen for questions that people are asking, or complaints that they make. A key skill of a journalist is to find the answers to questions, or get responses to complaints – so that’s likely to be one way you can contribute.

Those answers and responses, of course, also make for good evergreen content (which can help you attract other members of the community), so cross-post them on your blog as well as on the platforms where the community gathers.

You might also see the need for physical meetups or other events – don’t be afraid to get stuck in and organise one.

3. Be interested – listen and ask questions

You will be both a better journalist and community editor if you listen as much as possible, and ask when you want to hear more about something.

It doesn’t have to be newsworthy – in fact, it’s sometimes better when it’s not – because often it’s an understanding of the small details and complex context which makes for better journalism and, by extension, better – and more – relationships with contacts.

4. Create content out of the process of discovery

As you explore a community a good practice to adopt is to record your research in ways that make it easier for others to engage with the community too. This helps you see what is interesting about a community, as well as creating content which can help contacts find you.

Examples of typical content created from the process of community research include:

  • ‘Top 20 people in [an industry] to follow on Twitter’
  • ‘The best forums for [your field or issue]‘
  • ‘The hottest discussions about the [issue] right now’
  • ‘Where do [profession] go for advice on [problem]?’
  • ‘The best blogs about [your field/issue]‘
  • ‘Forums roundup: what people are saying about [issue/question]‘

You may need to make a choice on where to post this content, especially if the community is not a big user of blogs. Don’t publish in a way that is disconnected from the community that you are supposed to be serving: at the very least cross-publish to the platforms where discussion is healthiest. Don’t spam shared spaces with links to external content.

You might also profile members of the community, or – at a later stage – create something that pulls together profiles, points of view, or experiences. For example: this Times Educational Supplement piece collects excluded pupils’ experiences (incomplete version online); We Are The 99 Percent uses Tumblr to pull together the experiences that inspired a protest movement; and Spitalfields Life seeks to document the places and people of the area, while this Guardian interactive allows you to explore the voices of 100 NHS workers on health reforms.

5. Link, retweet, attribute and comment

Finally, it’s important to link to content from your community as often as possible. This does two things: firstly, it demonstrates good attribution and demonstrates that you are not looking to take credit for yourself which belongs to others. And secondly, it makes other people aware of your work: a link to another blog generates a ‘pingback’ which alerts the author to your piece. Twitter users are notified if their tweet is retweeted by you, Facebook users if you ‘like’ their update, and so on. Comments are an extension of the same principle of acknowledgement.

Linking – or ‘linkblogging’ – is also the simplest way to begin engaging with a field and its communities, and a good habit to get into if you want to understand an area and get in the habit of keeping up to date with it. For more on that, 7 ways to follow a field… is a good guide.

6. Read about community management

As you gain in confidence and reputation, you may find yourself doing more and more in your community. Community management is, to my mind, one of the hardest roles in online journalism to do well, and the more insights you can gather from others, the better prepared you will be.

This list of resources from FeverBee is as good as they come. You should also follow blogs in the field – that list contains a section on those, but if you just want 5 to start with, here’s a bundle to subscribe to.

PS: If you want to see explanations of job descriptions of the CM, and other roles such as social media manager, this post by Blaise Grimes-Viort does a very good job of trying to unpick the subtle differences and links to typical job descriptions. More on traits of community managers at ReadWriteWebThe Constant Observer and Business2Community.

17:35

6 ways to get started in community management

Following on from my previous post on the network journalist role, and as part of a wider experiment around the 5 roles in an investigations team, I wanted to flesh out what exactly a community editor role means when adopted as part of a journalism project.

First I need to add a disclaimer: the terms “community editor” (CE) and “community manager” (CM) are used to refer to a very wide range of jobs in a number of industries. I’m not sure what distinction there is – if any – but my hunch is that the title ‘community editor’ has been overtaken by its ‘manager’ variation because it rightly places the focus more on the community than its content.

Even within journalism, the role can vary enormously. This is partly because the communities themselves, and the challenges that they represent, differ so much. For example:

  • A mass market – anonymous and diverse, which a CM must try to somehow ‘convert’ into one or more healthy niche communities
  • No community – the CM is asked to ‘build it from scratch’
  • The CM’s website(s) already have active communities. The CM’s role is to maintain, support, and further develop those.
  • Communities exist, but not on the website(s) of the CM’s employer – the CM is asked to engage with those (this is more of a Community Editor role)

This post will be dealing with the last situation, which is the one in which most journalists first find themselves: with neither a platform nor a community.

With that out of the way, here are 6 things I think an individual can do as part of their first foray into community management/editing as a journalist:

1. Know where the communities are

This seems like a no-brainer but it’s all too easy to miss communities because you can’t find any evidence of them on Twitter or Facebook.

Along with specialist social networks (LinkedIn for professionals; MySpace for musicians; even profession-specific networks such as Doctors.net), there are forums, wikis, mailing lists, and various other places where people gather to share information and support.

The social media prism by Brian Solis (shown below) is one useful tool for checking if you’ve covered every possible angle on this front. For example: have you thought of looking for your community on Flickr? Last.fm? Digg? A locally popular platform? (LiveJournal dominates in eastern Europe, for example, while QQ is China’s answer to Twitter, Mixi is Japan‘s answer to Facebook, and Orkut and Hi5 have a healthy userbase in places like Brazil and India)

social media prism

Look for the communities in every corner of the net – don’t expect them to come pre-labelled. For example, the forums of local football clubs and local newspapers often contain corners devoted to topics other than football and news. And follow people as well as topics: if you find someone in your field, search for their username across the web and see what other places they contribute to.

One other place to look: the physical world. Live events, conferences, meetups and other gatherings are ideal places to build relationships with members of the community – as well as a great opportunity for providing live coverage online that will lead you to others, and others to you.

2. Look for problems to solve

Once you’ve identified and are following the community, try to find your best role within it. Remember that the community is not here to serve you: barging in and asking for case studies will get you the same response as if you did that in any physical social space: blank stares and muttered insults.

The simplest way to find a place in a community is through solving problems.

Listen for questions that people are asking, or complaints that they make. A key skill of a journalist is to find the answers to questions, or get responses to complaints – so that’s likely to be one way you can contribute.

Those answers and responses, of course, also make for good evergreen content (which can help you attract other members of the community), so cross-post them on your blog as well as on the platforms where the community gathers.

You might also see the need for physical meetups or other events – don’t be afraid to get stuck in and organise one.

3. Be interested – listen and ask questions

You will be both a better journalist and community editor if you listen as much as possible, and ask when you want to hear more about something.

It doesn’t have to be newsworthy – in fact, it’s sometimes better when it’s not – because often it’s an understanding of the small details and complex context which makes for better journalism and, by extension, better – and more – relationships with contacts.

4. Create content out of the process of discovery

As you explore a community a good practice to adopt is to record your research in ways that make it easier for others to engage with the community too. This helps you see what is interesting about a community, as well as creating content which can help contacts find you.

Examples of typical content created from the process of community research include:

  • ‘Top 20 people in [an industry] to follow on Twitter’
  • ‘The best forums for [your field or issue]‘
  • ‘The hottest discussions about the [issue] right now’
  • ‘Where do [profession] go for advice on [problem]?’
  • ‘The best blogs about [your field/issue]‘
  • ‘Forums roundup: what people are saying about [issue/question]‘

You may need to make a choice on where to post this content, especially if the community is not a big user of blogs. Don’t publish in a way that is disconnected from the community that you are supposed to be serving: at the very least cross-publish to the platforms where discussion is healthiest. Don’t spam shared spaces with links to external content.

You might also profile members of the community, or – at a later stage – create something that pulls together profiles, points of view, or experiences. For example: this Times Educational Supplement piece collects excluded pupils’ experiences (incomplete version online); We Are The 99 Percent uses Tumblr to pull together the experiences that inspired a protest movement; and Spitalfields Life seeks to document the places and people of the area, while this Guardian interactive allows you to explore the voices of 100 NHS workers on health reforms.

5. Link, retweet, attribute and comment

Finally, it’s important to link to content from your community as often as possible. This does two things: firstly, it demonstrates good attribution and demonstrates that you are not looking to take credit for yourself which belongs to others. And secondly, it makes other people aware of your work: a link to another blog generates a ‘pingback’ which alerts the author to your piece. Twitter users are notified if their tweet is retweeted by you, Facebook users if you ‘like’ their update, and so on. Comments are an extension of the same principle of acknowledgement.

Linking – or ‘linkblogging’ – is also the simplest way to begin engaging with a field and its communities, and a good habit to get into if you want to understand an area and get in the habit of keeping up to date with it. For more on that, 7 ways to follow a field… is a good guide.

6. Read about community management

As you gain in confidence and reputation, you may find yourself doing more and more in your community. Community management is, to my mind, one of the hardest roles in online journalism to do well, and the more insights you can gather from others, the better prepared you will be.

This list of resources from FeverBee is as good as they come. You should also follow blogs in the field – that list contains a section on those, but if you just want 5 to start with, here’s a bundle to subscribe to.

PS: If you want to see explanations of job descriptions of the CM, and other roles such as social media manager, this post by Blaise Grimes-Viort does a very good job of trying to unpick the subtle differences and links to typical job descriptions. More on traits of community managers at ReadWriteWebThe Constant Observer and Business2Community.


Filed under: online journalism Tagged: brian solis, community management, hi5, Mixi, orkut, social media prism

November 19 2009

22:41

5Across: Social Media Marketing 101

There's a new series of demands being made in company meetings everywhere: "What is our social media strategy? What are we doing on Facebook and Twitter? I want followers and fans, and I want them now!"

But before companies large and small -- as well as non-profits and charities -- jump into social media, they need to take a deep breath and think about it. What are their goals? What kind of return on investment will they get? Even though it's free to set up fan pages and feeds, there's a time investment that may or may not pay off.

On this episode of 5Across, I convened a group of social media marketers and publicists who've had success (and mishaps) in creating campaigns on these platforms. They've worked with non-profits, helped street food vendors, gotten authors on Twitter, and spread viral videos on YouTube. Hear their advice on doing social media marketing right, learn how to avoid common pitfalls, and find out how to manage the expectations of clients who want popular social media channels, but don't know why.

5Across: Social Media Marketing

Guest Biographies

Cheryl Contee is a partner and co-founder of the social media consultancy Fission Strategy, where she specializes in online advocacy, engagement, and communications. Prior to Fission Strategy, Cheryl was vice president at Fleishman-Hillard San Francisco and acted as lead digital strategist for the West Coast. She also helped launch 40 multi-lingual websites for Discovery Communications. Cheryl serves on the board of Netroots Nation and chairs the board for CommonGoods.net. She writes as Jill Tubman for the award-winning black political blog JackAndJillPolitics.com, which she founded in 2006.

Jeff Pester is the founder of Text Capital, a developer of custom content delivery applications for social media platforms. He is also the creator and curator of @socialmedia411, with over 60,000 followers. He has substantial experience with broadcast-oriented Twitter accounts in the media/entertainment vertical. Jeff also provides strategic advice to other corporate and non-profit organizations interested in identifying best uses of the Twitter platform.

Laura Pexton is the publicist for Peachpit. She manages public relations and social media for the Berkeley-based publisher of books and videos on graphic and web design, photography, digital video, all things Mac-related, and more. She has developed multiple strategies for increasing visibility, brand loyalty, and warm fuzzy feelings among readers. Prior to Peachpit, Laura's background includes communications and marketing experience for a range of industries, including professional sports (L.A. Dodgers), non-profit, and education.

Brian Solis is recognized as a thought leader in social media. Solis has influenced the effects of new media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and traditional media. He is principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning new media PR agency in Silicon Valley, and has led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. Brian's blog, PR 2.0, can be found here.

Caleb Zigas is director of operations at La Cocina, a non-profit that helps female food entrepreneurs. Zigas runs the popular @StreetFoodSF Twitter feed covering street food vendors in San Francisco. He began working in kitchens in his hometown of Wash­ington, D.C. and has been working with the food industry ever since. With a degree in glob­alization, Caleb interned at Pro Mujer, in El Alto, Bolivia, working with microentrepreneurs in the country's fastest growing city.

If you'd prefer to watch sections of the show rather than the entire show, I've broken them down by topic below.

Social Media Marketing 101

Celebrity High Jinks

Non-Profits and The Little Guy

Digital Divide?

Beyond Twitter

Fallacies of Social Media

Credits

Mark Glaser, executive producer and host
Charlotte Buchen, camera

Julie Caine, audio

Location: Vega Project & Kennerly Architecture office space in San Francisco

Special thanks to: PBS and The Knight Foundation

Music by AJ the DJ

*****

vega project card.jpg

What do you think? What has worked for you in marketing using social media? What lessons have you learned? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

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