It’s your community, not your audience

Two approaches, either we overvalue the concept of an audience o we undervalue the meaning of a community. The public is not your community, audience is not the community neither.

Public is the part of the market that it’s eager to listen what we have to say, but not necessarily has to. Audience are those who really listen to use and the community is those who we must listen.

  • Connect, don’t be a pain in the ass.
  • Listen, shut up.
  • Reply, it’s not about you.
  • Care.
  • Help, don’t offer.
  • Lead, don’t manage.
  • Share, don’t sell.
  • Consolidate, don’t gossip.
  • Give, don’t wait.
  • Add.
  • Push, don’t instigate.
  • Enhance, don’t ignore.
  • Show, don’t hide.
  • Educate, don’t talk.

The people you think they should listen to you are precisely the ones you should listen. It’s your community, not your audience.

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Community Leaders and Social Media Managers In Depth

I want to go beyond some simple advice for community managers, the keys to handle social media efficiently, how to increase sales on social networks or tricks to optimise your social media strategy. I believe there are some aspects regarding the community manager and social media scene which have to be looked into in depth to understand their implications.

community management in depth

Understanding the play between Social Media and Online Community Leadership

These are some of the things we should pay more attention to when working in the field of the social web so that we’re able to understand what we have on our hands, what we’re facing and how to do something of relevance.

Hybrids

I have always believed, and have confirmed, that we will never be a simple Community Leader/Connector or Social Media Manager but a hybrid, located somewhere between Social Media, Community, Marketing, Digital, New Media, Communication, PR, Sales, and HR. That is where the potential lies. Oh! And also in remaining human.

That is, many tasks which aren’t fully defined or detailed. Are you dedicated solely and exclusively to leading online communities? I very much doubt it. You’re likely working also in Marketing, Communication, even PR if necessary, Sales Management, Customer Services and even in screening job candidates. We’re hybrids. You can take a look at this role in depth and how to develop it, here.

Online Leaders of your Brand

This is a delicate matter. Would you put your company’s Facebook page in my cousin’s hands? Probably not. Well we’re talking about the same thing here. There’s no one better than someone on the inside to learn and progress until they’re capable of taking on all of these tasks and responsibilities. There is an added complexity –and risk- in giving this task to an intern; representing the brand in the online sphere is, after all, a vital role, and isn’t limited to using Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Remember these people lead people, they’re not directing things.

How to Connect with the Community

Quite simply, don’t invade their space! We live in the era of permission marketing, an interruption of the system, processes based on a human attitude that intends to do something with a meaning, open innovation, creation and chaos. This isn’t an era of communication and marketing, once the interruption created an over-communicated society through intrusive marketing and mass communication a while back.

Now we’re at it again with the social media. Our sole intention is to get our message out there and for our message to have an impact on as many people as possible; feedback is unimportant if we have many likes and comments. That’s ‘short-term gain, long-term pain’! The people who want to reach you will do so because of your content, your interaction, your attention, humanity, closeness, humility, truthfulness and credibility. The only thing you need to do is to be visible at all times and create relevant content that engages your audience. Then, make sure you remain human at all times.

What to Do

Test, try, do something, review what you do, make corrections, launch something again, try one campaign, another one, and then another one, one of them will work, try not to risk too much, remain loyal to your brand value, what you represent as a brand and as a person, make the brand truthful, make the person behind the brand visible, manage the whole online fabric, follow the conversations, observe and measure your content’s scope, the state of your community; if you’re launching a campaign, whether you need to review your Apps, your landing page, the comments, likes, repercussions, etc. Creation and distribution means actions carried out with your content.

You can do whatever takes you where you want to be. You can specialise or not; the advantage of doing so is that you focus on a niche, and the smaller, the better.

How to Coordinate

Work in the distribution of tasks, create GANT charts, timelines for the different parts of the projects and actions, anything that helps you in the structure and architecture of your objectives, responsibilities and team work. This may help you.

Internal or External

An example: we work with a multinational company as Advisors and Online Project Leadership Team. When we arrived at the company and during the first few meetings to carry out an online audit, the topic arose of who would lead the online community operations. The company said it did not have the human resources and that none of them would be able take on any of the tasks as they were all up to their ears with work.

We always recommend someone who’s been trained on the inside. First of all, it’s easier to act as a consultant and educator and to train someone inside the company in the knowledge necessary to carry out the job than to bring someone from outside who needs to adapt to, understand and work in new surroundings.

However, what we did in this case was to bring an outside person; not an intern, but someone knowledgeable in Social Media, Communities, PR, Communication and some Marketing. We established a part-time job for six months (working Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 14:00). During the first month, this person did no online work but simply learnt about the company’s departments, lines of business, products, staff, culture, company ethics, suppliers and other important details necessary for them to carry out their job in an efficient, professional and results-oriented manner.

Once the month was up, this person (a freelance worker) understood the running of the company perfectly and was ready to start. It all went so well that this person now works permanently as part of the company as Head of Social Media and Online Community. We’re happy that this is the case.

Going Beyond

All of this goes beyond what we think is going on. I’m talking about leading, connecting, aligning, developing, integrating, implementing, managing, updating, building, consolidating, driving, comparing, executing, measuring, following, monetizing, listening, reading, commenting, understanding, acting, doing something, remaining human.

Photo credit: Text100.

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What to do with your online influence

online influenceAre you influential on the Internet and the Social Web or any other field influenced by this connected economy? Tip 1: all fields have been affected. Tip 2: we’re all influential to some extent or other. However, what do you do with this influence? Anything at all? Have you ever thought about doing something that benefits not only you but helps those who probably provide you with such influence?

To save you some time racking your brain, here are some tried and tested ideas that may help you return some of that influence to those who created it and deserve it –your audience, community, fans, followers, supporters, you name it. Clue: Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Brtiney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Pete Cashmore, Robert Downey Jr. or Sergio Ramos aren’t really considered to be part of your community.

Things you can do with your influence

So, here are some ideas that will help you know what to do with your influence so that you can contribute to helping the people who make you influential.

  • What about dedicating a section in your personal or professional blog to talk about the people around you who’re doing a great job? This can be local businesses, your own team members, stories from people you don’t know but who inspire you, stories that may also help your community and readers. You could do this on a set day of the week (Fridays for instance?) or every other week.  You can give it a special name to identify this series of posts.
  • Create a local event making the most of your reach, influence and network so that people with great ideas and best practices can take part, people who may not have 10,000 followers on Twitter or a fan page on Facebook. They may not even have a blog, so no one needs to freak out and start running. You may encourage them more than anyone else and, more importantly, make them known to people in your network who would benefit from meeting them. There are several options: seminars, round-table conferences, workshops or even online events.
  • Prepare a monthly video recommendation about the person who has contributed, helped, impacted, encouraged or influenced you and your people the most. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person who has done the most for you. Sometimes, someone will simply arrive and do something that no one else has done for us. It could be the polite way someone greets you or treats you at a restaurant or hotel, or a good morning smile when you’re going to breakfast or a sincere apology that was truly unnecessary.
  • Make the most of your YouTube channel to interview young entrepreneurs who know what they want. Let the businesspeople in your neighbourhood/town/city tell the story of how they started a business that is now the leader in online sales, ahead of their competition.
  • Talks and meetings with young people who’re off to university or university students who’re about to finish their studies. These two groups are often lost in this system. Your influence may become a beacon to them.
  • Share interesting businesses in your area or neighbourhood in your Twitter or LinkedIn accounts. I’m not talking about multinationals, but rather local businesses.
  • Use Foursquare or Yelp to leave tips or reviews about these businesses and share them with your community so that people know about them. Checking-in and sharing on Twitter will also help. Tip: it doesn’t take an invitation on their behalf for you to recommend them or post a picture on Instagram. You may offer before getting anything from them; it’s a great way of helping.
  • You can use a hashtag on Instagram to upload pictures of places, people or businesses you love and that you believe others should know about and visit.
  • Go all-out and gather stories, experiences, thoughts and practices from ordinary extraordinary people who wish to inspire and equip other people through such personal and professional narratives.
  • #FF people who’ve helped you in your work during the week or more anonymous people who’ve made you change the way you interact significantly, or simply people who’ve had a special consideration towards you, someone from your team or professionals who’re doing their job well. I’d love to see more #FF for “ordinary/extraordinary” people and not so many rock stars!
  • When you want to help by sharing, don’t just RT or ‘share’; this requires a special gesture. Explain why you’re sharing, offer a personal reason why others should pay attention to it. This is the fun part, you can’t do this truthfully if you don’t read or pay attention to what you share. This is what leaves many “influencers” out of the game.
  • Use LinkedIn to recommend those service providers, workers, employees or entrepreneurs with whom you’ve had a satisfactory professional transaction or interaction.
  • Create an eBook about the people who help you in your day, month and year; publish it as a blog, on Twitter or other places. And please, keep it free of charge; getting to know these people should be a right, not a privilege.

Self-absorbed or change?

One more thing before we finish: there’s a good number of ideas to make the most of your influence to favour others in a positive way.

So, as you can see, there are myriad ways to do it. What we’re sometimes lacking is intention and purpose in using influence as a way to funnel change and not as a resource for personal gain, becoming increasingly self-absorbed. Being that kind of influencer is clearly overrated.

I’d love you to share with us any ideas that come to mind to make the most of online influence, helping to make a difference in other people. Thank you.

Photo credit: Stuart Foster.

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Responsibilities and tasks of a social media professional

social media checklistMany still believe that a the job of a social media professional is simply to tweet once in a while, upload pictures to Facebook or videos to YouTube… but it’s much more than that! Moreover, I usually think that what people have in mind is a robot, not a person. Furthermore, if such a professional goes on and on about how cool they are and how great they are at their work (though not really working for anyone else but their own brand,) then it’s a #smokemaker we’d be talking about.

Tasks and Responsibilities in the Social Web

I think this is something that must be talked about. This will help clear our path, make it easier to understand for others. The following are some of the basic responsibilities, starting from a strategic standpoint towards one that is more actionable:

– Social Media Marketing: optimise, maintain, monitor and lead the platforms and any marketing strategies carried out in them: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Pinterest, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Google+, Flickr, etc.

– Content creation and management: content marketing.

– Interaction with users: community engagement.

– Social commerce: leads, calls to action and conversions in social media.

– Monitoring: online media, information sources and social channels.

– Measurements and follow-up: determining the ROI of the work carried out, justifying the quality of the actions taken and, of course, the results thereof.

– Fan building: based on achieving specific ROI objectives.

– Contests and campaigns: creative input, development, starting up and monitoring.

– Qualitative aspects: Sentiment reports, strengths, scope, virality, passion and effects for the brand online.

– SEO: website, blog and social platform (social search) optimisation, aimed at improving search results.

– Keyword optimisation and improvement in new SEO/SEM opportunities

– Email marketing: development, creative input, running, results and campaigns.

– Database: creation, management and maintenance of the database, making it larger and more streamlined.

– Website: content optimisation and stimulation, improvements within the website structure: functionality, usability, navigation by users. Developing and launching a mobile version. Promoting, marketing and communicating all the website’s contents. Measurements, monitoring and follow-up of results.

– Coordination and management of press and communication tasks: contents, interviews, website news, exclusive acts, etc.

– Video-marketing: optimisation, search, keywords, sponsored videos, marketing.

– e-Commerce: creation and generation of online sales opportunities.

– Reports: online sales, online positioning, online reputation, online results.

– Community: leading online communities, brand representation in different forums and communities.

– Online branding: searching, identifying and improving all brand-related aspects in social media.

– Adviser: playing a brand consulting/advising role with regard to the online environment: opportunities, threats, new initiatives, development of digital identity and online presence, identification of potential business and new digital transactions.

I told you we’d go in at the deep end! It involves much more than what people usually believe; I wish I was wrong about this last statement. This is a proper job. As such, it requires sacrifice, excellence, determination, passion, excitement, initiative and conviction. All this certainly leaves many so-called “gurus” out of the game!

I’m very possibly leaving something out. Will you help me complete this list?

Photo credit: webbr.

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We Are Social Media Adventurers

Are We Social Media Adventurers?

Yes, we’re, indeed! Why? Because, I believe it’s exactly what we do, we are social media adventurers searching for new paths that lead to revitalizing and energizing experiences. We not only play strong, have fun and try, but we do all this things in a very different way, every time we face challenges and most of the times with uncertainty, fear and risk, isn’t it exciting?

As social media adventurers
, we believe that in today’s world a single person can make a difference, we’re IRREVERENT by nature and also, determined to at least try to make things happen, and… If we fail, be sure we’ll get up and “try different” – again and again – until we make it possible.

We are here to say YES, where everyone else says NO
, but also showing them that we’re able to engage communities through Social Media marketing. With Social Media, we can create movements and start leading small communities or bigger ones. But more important than this, it makes people believe that the change is possible. We have a big responsibility that goes far from our daily job in the office. We’ve the opportunity to tell others how to change the world!

As brave adventurers, we know where we are going and how to get there, but this isn’t enough for us, we always like to transcend our limits and go beyond the common communication and marketing barriers, so we will be able to offer an unforgettable interaction experience to our audience.

Undoubtedly, Social Media is a new world to explore and discover. I believe that as Social Media adventurers, we’re always looking to open new footpaths, we’re in a continuous search of new stimulus and excitements that makes feel us “hooked” to the Social Media adrenaline! This at the same time causes an irreversible addiction, which always claims for more and more challenges and breathtaking experiences – heck, I can’t wait for more! –

As Social Media Adventurers, we’re comfortable and familiar with taking great risks, we embrace change, mainly because we believe that the only constant thing it’s the change itself, no matter if the result wasn’t the expected outcome, we’re ready to take the lead and keep on playing, even harder than ever, because…have I mentioned it before? We deeply believe in ourselves every day of our lives and it turns being the best strategy!

As Social Media Adventurers, we are naturally irreverent – Yeah, I love being irreverent and I’ve mentioned this above – we’re eager to stand out from the crowd and challenge the Status-quo with our visions, beliefs and principles, but above all, doing this with an unstoppable wish to help the community and brand compelling reasons to believe in themselves. At the end, change’s made by changing, so we won’t hesitate to go the extra-mile for establishing human relationships and tying brand and communities.

As Social Media Adventurers, we are all struggling in the jungle and resisting the supernatural forces of change. However, what makes us unique is – in words of my friend Enrico, “we’re fans of the flexible planning“. That is to say, we move at the same time as trends and market opportunities, evolving at the same time as the social media ecosystem. We’re ready to ride the waves, we’re ready to take positions and emerge from the bottom as Social Media Adventurers who are willing to take the pulse of this new communication and marketing reality. Nevertheless, we can’t do it alone, we need you, we need you to join us and be our sidekick, our wing man. We want to share what we’ve learned, because as Social Media Adventurers – who have get through endless successes and failures – we all we know that, no matter how unbelievable and breathless our journey is, it doesn’t make any sense if we cannot share this experiences and adventures with somebody, this is the best gift that we can deliver, share both successes and failures… And not only share them, but celebrate them too. Okay, it’s obvious that successes are celebrated. Now have you failed? Great! Heck with the failure itself, celebrate it! Failure means the opportunity to learn something new.

As Social Media Adventurers, we serve to a cause, you! So, despite the depth of the gap, we’re determined to dig in the online world to find the best opportunities that can guide you to build a better future for yourself, your brand and those around you.

As Seth Godin said: “Good enough has stopped being good enough long time ago, now we´ve the opportunity of being great”! Let me add: “With Social Media, Yes! So…Why don’t we take it?”

Are you with me? What do you think?

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