The Fetch Blog

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Interview: SF local, Jeremiah Owyang — January 28, 2013

Interview: SF local, Jeremiah Owyang

In celebration of Community Manager Appreciation Day, we chat to the day’s inventor – long-term digital influencer and web strategist, Jeremiah Owyang. If you don’t already, follow him on Twitter @jowyang.

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You published the Four Tenets of the Community Manager back in 2007 – do you think the role has changed much since then?

Essentially, no, those tenets still stand, but we’ve seen more tools emerge, and the demand for community managers has increased. It’s a common and acceptable role now, and they’re starting to be seated in customer support, product marketing, and corporate communications.

I’ve noticed a fair bit of discussion re: ‘social media’ verse ‘community’. How do you differentiate between the two and should it be a sperate role from a CM?

It’s all the same. Prior, online communities predated social networks, so the term Community Manager predated and stuck around. In the end of the day, community management teams must go where customers are, and that can’t be bound by a URL.

What companies do you think are doing community well?

Adobe has built a structure of community managers lead by Rachel Luxemburg and helped to unite many different community leads into a more solidified group. Also, The Home Depot has large scale communities that have Orange Apron specialists take time out from being on the show floor and have dedicated time in the community to help customers.

What metrics do you recommend from your research to measure the impact and success of community initiatives?

Here’s where the industry is falling down. Many are measuring simple engagement metrics (number of users, number of comments) but those mean little to nothing, outside of business context.

In the long run, companies must start measuring community based on the following: Increase in revenue (or assisting revenue), customer satisfaction, market share of voice, reduced support costs, and improved product innovation.

Anything else is just a variable that needs to feed into those formulas.

What is Community Management Appreciation Day and why did you set it up?

Community Manager Appreciation Day is a day to take time out and thank the hard working Community Managers around the globe that may have helped you as a customer, or someone you may work with. This role is changing the face of business, by providing a human aspect to formerly dry and boring static corporate websites. These folks are leading the charge to being engaged and listening to customers, making company and customer relations two-way and dynamic, all online.

How can people get involved in this year’s activities?

It’s simple, please thank a community manager for their help, there’s nothing else required, although some have received cakes, cards, thank you notes and meals. There are also events happening online, and in physical locations, all around the globe. To find out about these events, watch the #CMAD link on Twitter and see this list of events I’m tracking on my blog.

Jeremiah-SCS11Check out Jeremiah’s posts for more community and social updates ->

For a great round-up of upcoming community events and news from plus other related goodness, subscribe our free email digests via The Fetch.

About our Curator // Kate Kendall is the founder and CEO of The Fetch, a community where professionals can discover and share what’s happening in their city. Before this, Kate led product, content and digital at magazine companies, handled outreach for new startups and organised too many communities and events. Follow her on Twitter at @katekendall.

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