As part of our Community Managers “Doing It Right” series, I had the great privilege of chatting with Carrie Jones, CM of textbook rental trailblazers, Chegg.
Accompanied by a strong background in organizing communities, Carrie has honed in on Chegg’s young demographic. We picked Carrie’s brain about what it takes to manage social media, create a community and curate content.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a CM?
My main challenge is bringing people in academia together online. As you may have guessed, many academics don’t use social media outlets like Twitter or Facebook, so we have to go where they are. I have the added challenge of creating cohesive, offline events for an international community. I’ve found a happy medium with Google Hangouts. They make everyone feel like we’re in the room together.
What are some tools you use to make building a community more efficient and easy?
First and foremost, I would say the community of Community Managers is the best tool I can imagine. I participate in at least one Twitter chat per week (usually Wednesday’s #cmgrchat) and that has provided me with endless inspiration. There are also a couple programs I use that I’m sure any CM would recommend. These are your absolute basics: Mailchimp for newsletters, a program for social listening (there are tons out there), tracking links, Google Hangouts, Evernote all day every day, and Google Docs for my content calendar.
What do you have to provide to a community to foster growth?
Give them clear calls to action (CTAs) and the ability to share your content. That is first and foremost. If they don’t know how to help you reach your goals, they aren’t able to. People generally want to help out a community they feel a part of, so make it easy as cake to share and invite others. Incentivize them with prizes and effective contests if you don’t get traction at first.
Does size matter?
Size is relative. Engagement is crucial.
Who are some Community Managers / Strategists that you admire?
So many! Emily Castor of Lyft, Tim McDonald of Huffington Post, Maria Ogneva of Salesforce, Crystal Coleman of Ning, Rachel King of Sidecar, and lots more… They’re all doing next-level outreach and taking their communities into creative places, which is what we should all aim to do.
What in your opinion is the most satisfying thing about being a Community Manager?
I love bringing people together. I also love that this is such a new concept for many larger companies, so I feel like I’m trailblazing. Show people your victories, command respect, and get ready to be the go-to person for product updates, outreach, customer service, and policy changes.