Some interesting stats about email viewing across platforms:
At the moment, I manage three online communities for three different brands. My job is to be the bridge between brand and community. I need to understand these communities; understand what that they like/dislike, understand how they like to consume information, and most importantly, understand how I can engage them in an ongoing conversation. Sure, it gets a little messy sometimes, managing three (and I was up to five a month ago), but with a solid work process, one can easily work community management around his or her day without worrying about having to spend 5, 6 or even 12 hours on the computer running searches, tweeting and Facebooking daily.
There are three basic steps in my day that is key to any community manager role: social listening, engagement and scheduling.
I spend half-an-hour at the start and end of every working day on social listening. I use tools like Hootsuite and Social Mention to track what people around the world are saying about the brand, as well as look up related news that I can possibly share with the community. I run a search through social networks and blogs and keep an eye on trending news in that specific area. In some cases, I check for any negative feedback a brand may be receiving and action it efficiently.
I use Sprout Social and Edgerank Checker to track engagement. These tools give me stats on how well my posts are doing. It tells me whether it’s effective, and gives valuable suggestions on how I can improve, in terms of timing, and content. I spend a fair amount of time going through newsfeeds, and responding to @s, RTs and FFs. The “Human Touch” is key, here.
If you’re reading this blog, you will not be a stranger to the idea of scheduling content. It’s a very basic and effective tool that should be at the fingertips of any community manager. After a few hours of social listening and engagement, I spend the rest of the day creating relevant and quality content for the audience. This all goes into a post-dated scheduling system. Hootsuite works beautifully for me. This way, I don’t need to be sitting at my computer at all hours, posting content. Through Sprout Social, I would have a list of the best times in the day and week that my audience is reading my content (usually at around midday and midweek). This goes right into my schedule. In hours, I would have developed and post-dated content for the entire week.
I’ve found that structuring my working day around these three basic steps has thoroughly improved my time management. I actually have time to have a day job, now! Imagine. What are some of your tricks of the community managing trade?
Chris Anderson, also of Wired magazine, wrote a very interesting article about the business of “free”. He says, “Once a marketing gimmick, free has emerged as a full-fledged economy”. He attributes this to the falling costs of producing digital content.
“The Web is all about scale, finding ways to attract the most users for centralized resources, spreading those costs over larger and larger audiences as the technology gets more and more capable. It’s not about the cost of the equipment in the racks at the data centre; it’s about what that equipment can do. And every year, like some sort of magic clockwork, it does more and more for less and less, bringing the marginal costs of technology in the units that we individuals consume closer to zero.”
A fantastic example of this would be Radiohead’s album titled In Rainbows that was released in 2007. The band allowed their fans to pay any amount they liked. And yes, that also included $0.00. While official figures were never released by the band’s management, Owsinski’s book on Music 3.0 quoted market research company comScore’s findings to be: 48% of the downloads were paid for, 4% of which paid $20 (the retail cost of a CD) and 12% paid between $8 to $12. These are some pretty telling statistics, that remind us that the True Fan does exist.
In the article, he reminds us that offering a product (such as an audio file, in this case) for free does not mean that you have absolutely zero profits. Instead, he encourages us to consider the idea that providing something for free can lead to something else. Perhaps linking this to Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans Theory, Lesser Fans may be nurtured into True Fans by feeding them with free content; telling them that the artist cares about their fans by rewarding them for supporting their music.
Kevin Kelly of Wired magazine wrote about the 1,000 fans theory, where he claims that an artist only needs 1,000 “true fans” to be successful, and maintain that success. He says:
“A creator, such as [a]… musician… needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy te super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shrt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”
He reminds us that this number is not that difficult to achieve because through social media marketing in Music 3.0, the artist has access to a global audience.
Aside from the True Fans, Kelly reminds us that there will also be a group of Lesser Fans. These people might not need or want to follow your every move, or purchase every single thing that you put out, but they are not to be neglected as Lesser Fans can always be nurtured to become True Fans. He suggests that artists do this by connecting and interacting with their fans via networks like blogs, Facebook and MySpace. Work archives may be stored on websites that can easily be referred to by any interested party.
Indie-pop stars Arcade Fire will be playing live at Madison Square Garden tonight, as a part of the release of their new album The Suburbs (BTW, the album will be released in EIGHT different and absolutely amazing album covers). Us folk from down under, living a full day ahead of them Yanks will not be forgotten! The band has kindly thought to consider streaming the gig live (directed by Terry Gilliam, no less!) on YouTube at 10PM ET/7PM PT. Awesome.