Do you currently manage a community?
I partially do. I have a community manager on my team who does more on the day-to-day admin and moderation work than I do. I am focused on strategy, roll out and the functionality roadmap of the community. I’m also planning the next community for our brand, for a totally different target audience (which does not mesh with the current one and needs different functionality) and rolling out our social customer care initiative with the marketing and customer service teams.
What career path brought you to where you are now?
I spent most of my career in some capacity within digital marketing. Early in my career I was an ecommerce specialist in the United Kingdom. There I was in charge of the CMS, sales and customer service. I really loved this role because I got to help people and also got to be in charge of content on the website.
When I moved to Canada there were very few e-commerce jobs to be had, so I ended up doing more traditional marketing and PR work for tech companies. I moved back into digital marketing in 2013 when I joined a tech giant out of Seattle. I made a lot of connections across departments and when I found out that the community manager role was moved from customer service to marketing without an owner, I asked to be considered since I missed the days when I managed web properties.
With my network within the company overarching several departments and breaking down the communication silos that marketing often builds around itself (and its projects), I was well situated to build and grow the community with the help from my colleagues people.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Letting go of the smaller, tactical work, and focusing on big picture. I often feel that I don’t contribute to the success of the community, because I am further removed from it. I have a great team and a capable Community Manager leading the effort on a daily basis but I feel like a bad manager when I delegate the small and executionary work to her and remove myself from projects after the strategy is set.
What’s the best job you ever had that wasn’t in community management and does it inform your CM work in any way?
This is really hard. I had a lot of great jobs in my career and everything I have ever done informs my CM work, because it either directly gives me skills that are important or taught me how I never want to be treated or managed myself.
Ultimately every great job I ever had was because the team around me was amazing. People make or break the job you are in, and I am grateful to have had so many official and unofficial mentors who kept guiding me on the path of digital marketing and collaboration with other teams, which is the foundation of who I am today as a Community Manager.