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A Community Managers Perspective on Community Manager Appreciation Day, January 24th.

If you have you seen Jeremiah Owyang’s rally around Second Annual Community Manager Appreciation Day on January 24th, you know it has grown some momentum since last year. Now cities like Boston, New York City and Burlingame, CA are hosting in-real-life events to give Community Managers a pat on the back.

Being the Community Manager for Social Media Club, I wanted to tap on a few shoulders and see what other Community Managers perspectives were on having an entire day dedicate to appreciating us....

I posed a few questions to following Community Managers (CM’s),

Elysa Rice has been a CM since July of 2010 with growing startup Bizzy, she is also on the leadership team of Social Media Club of Dallas. Elysa also  volunteers as Community Manager in the Gen Y/20something community online for fun and as a side effect of her blog.

Robyn Tippins first community experience was as a volunteer for AOL in 1996.  She started a company in 1998, selling cloth diapers and marketed it via message boards and an early 'blog'.  Within a year Robyn closed the company because she had so many people asking me how we generated the large sales figures with no marketing budget (early 'social media').  She became a marketing consultant, and went on to work with companies like MTV, ATT, Fleishman Hillard, Behr Paints and Intel. Robyn began work as an official Community Manager in 2007 at Yahoo's MyBlogLog and is now the Sr. Community Manager at Current TV.

Kelly Lux has been Community Manager for Syracuse University and the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University since June 30.  Prior to that she worked in SU's Career Services connecting alumni & students for networking purposes, largely via social media.  Kelly also did a stint at Anheuser-Busch, Inc. as Community Relations Coordinator, prior to receiving a graduate degree in education.  She continues to work on her education at SU, having completed several post-grad courses, and looks forward to completing a CAS in Social Media and Innovation in the near future.

Emily Hurley serves as Community Manager for Bizzy, a personalized local recommendation engine for the best places to eat, shop and play.  An entomologist by education, and a Community Manager since before that was a job title, she loves fondue, flip-flops, and zombie movies.

Lea Marino has been a community manager at Bizzy (@BizzyLea - NYC) for six months and, previously, experimented with community management during her first job at a small, boutique digital ad agency. She is a co-organizer for CMmeetup and also enjoys community noms with macaroni & cheese fans through @MacCheesy twitter account. 

How do you & those around you perceive this appreciation day? 

Hurley says,

by making an "Appreciation Day" we kind of marginalize what we do the other 364 days of the year.

 

Fact, a CM's job is never over at 6pm Monday through Friday, and don't even think you can be mentally offline on Saturday and Sunday's.  If there is ever a company crisis or community members need an answer and need it fast, who do you think they most often seek first?  You guessed it.  CM's have a never ending task list.  

Here's an idea of the responsibilities Community Managers have, 

via JMorgan Marketing

Do you think it increases the credibility of our professional roles, by offering more visibility to what we do?

Elysa says it best, 

Being a Community Manager can easily be a 24/7 job. I also love that the #CMAD is having the community reach out to the CM when usually we (as managers) are watching alerts, RSS, twitter, email, Facebook, etc etc to make sure our community is well taken care of. I do wonder though if the appreciation day will help people understand what a CM does.

Lea, co-organizer of #CMAD in New York City, clarified  

All of us fit into the company puzzle. I wouldn't have a CM job at
Bizzy without the amazing people that lead the charge, create the apps and design the site...I'm one of the co-organizers for #CMmeetup. The group was created in the Fall with an aim to bring the NYC community builders together.

It makes sense bringing those who provide the glue for our communities, to meet and exchange best practices and hopefully, explore better ways to engage and unite their communities.  

Have you seen your duties expand over the last year+ with more awareness/understanding the purpose your role serves the greater community?

Robyn has positively been impacted by the expansion of her  CM duties, 

My role is much more strategy oriented than ever. I see a shift from CM's being heavy on customer service, to planning  and executing real projects that actually affect the bottom line.  I see people treating my position now as vital, which is a bit of a shift.

Have you seen growth within your company, in regards to hiring more community manager positions?

Kelly is the first CM at the Syracuse University and is currently exploring the possibility of adding another CM to her team, but is actively expanding their student involvement in engaging the University community. 

 

 

While all the above CM’s enjoy the idea of a community manager appreciate day, in true community manager fashion, don’t want all the attention to distract from their purpose, serving the organizations and community needs first.

Main takeaway, Take the day for what’s worth and just have fun with it. Many employers have or are just beginning to realize the importance of having a go-to person, often the face of the organization, empowered enough where they can take action on behalf of the organization and its customers.

So, if you have a community manager role/s in your organization, tell them thank you for serving the needs of so many and their hard word doesn’t go un-noticed...and you shouldn’t need a holiday to tell them that!  

 

Hat tip to Lea, Emily, Robyn, Kelly and Elysa for helping me with this blog! 

 

[Creative Commons Image Credit: Community Bulletin Board]

[Creative Commons Image Credit: Community Manager Job Graph]

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