By this point, as a reader of this blog, it’s not unlikely that you’re familiar with my story. I was hired straight out of college as a community manager by Scoop.it and have spent the last few years diving into the worlds of community and content marketing on behalf of this awesome brand. As I prepare to move on to my life’s next adventure, I’d like to share some of my key learnings about community management and content marketing with you.
A majority of my day-to-day responsibilities at Scoop.it could fall under the umbrella of “non-traditional” marketing, which means that I put forth a lot of effort to learn about the space I had been thrown into. Today, I’ll share four key learnings and observations on community management and content marketing and I’d love to hear how you feel about them as well.
Community management still doesn’t have a universal definition
…and I think that’s okay. As someone who first heard the term community manager when it became her job title, I have done quite a bit of research into this field, participated in many discussions with other pros, attended and even spoken at related events. The one consistent takeaway always remains the same, though: every community manager is unique, and this is amazing.
Though this might be nothing more than my opinion, I think this is actually a key factor of any developing professional field, and budding – or expert – community managers shouldn’t forget it. The most important part of building a strategy is focusing on the goals of the business one is working for as a whole, as well as the goals of the program one specifically works on.
My definition of community management at Scoop.it has come to involve ambassador programs, customer support, and social media engagement, and more. Yours might be different, and that is completely awesome and in fact a big part of what makes this field so exciting and full of opportunity. Want to discuss this more? Let’s!
Trying too hard can hurt
As my good friend Ginny Torok recently put it, “When we overthink our online relationships and muddle the process with too much strategy, things start getting really inauthentic.” One thing I’ve managed to do over the last four years is to maintain my personality even when performing activities on behalf of a brand. While it’s important to maintain a balance between yourself as a person and yourself as a professional, at the end of the day you are one single person, and I’d highly recommend not losing sight of that.
When focusing on relationship and community building, don’t overthink it. Before social media took over the world, the “strategy” to build relationships with people was to be a human being and go from there. Now, there are hours’ worth of blog posts, podcasts, videos, tweetchats, and more just talking about how people can talk to people, and as Ginny puts it, this makes it feel so much less of a real relationship and more of a strategy. Remember your goals, but also remember that we’re all just people at the end of the day.
Aligning sales and marketing doesn’t have to be as hard as we thought
As a marketer who took somewhat of a journey from B2C to B2B, I’ve thought a lot about how to make sales and marketing get along. You may have heard the running joke that when sales is happy, marketing isn’t, and when marketing is happy, sales isn’t. We shouldn’t have to accept that! These ideas have inspired me to come up with what I think is one of the top most important things for content marketers to consider and leverage: the buyer cycle.
Content marketers, look at this beautiful chart! It is so simply and logically laid out, just like the foundations of a winning content strategy. If the goal of your content marketing is demand generation or otherwise business-related, involve members of the sales team in a brainstorming session for content ideas that fit into each of the buckets above (or modified to your company’s needs). Then, take those ideas, add your marketing expertise, and build a strategy that everyone can be on board with. Although this concept is a bit oversimplified, I really do think it can be applied to by content – and all – marketers successfully.
Influencer marketing is the real deal
The culture that has resulted from the popularity of social media certainly is an interesting one. If you’ve taken a look at any social media community, you might notice that there are clear leaders and clear followers. The leaders within these interest communities are what we sometimes call ‘influencers.’ These are the people who have built up an expertise on a topic, have an audience who enjoys their thoughts on said topic, make recommendations for different products to buy, movies to watch, things to do, etc, and are followed by the other 99% of the community of which they are a part.
Recently, thanks to experts (influencers) like Lee Odden, marketers have begun leveraging this concept as a part of content creation, promotion, and distribution efforts. There are a few different ways to involve ‘influencers’ in a marketing strategy including co-hosting events or webinars, and creating content either together with specific individuals or featuring multiple influencers’ input. Though it seems quite nontraditional, much like I mentioned before, lots of today’s marketing techniques are. I see marketers embracing and leveraging the natural tendency of people on social media to flock to other humans rather than brands and involving more relationships and individuals in their efforts.
Plus, it’s a proven fact that third party content is 4-7 times more trusted than your own. Having others on board is the way to win the masses.
If there’s anything that you actually take away from this post, make it this: never stop learning. I’m almost 25 years old, and I’m not even remotely close to being finished with my quest for knowledge. Whether you’re 25, 50, 80, or 175, it’s never too late to pick back up where you last left off.
I’d love to hear what you think, discuss some of the mentioned observations further, or hear what your learnings are. Let me know in the comments!