For this week’s installment of Community Manager Monday, I decided to turn it over to a CM who’s been in the industry for six years. I had the great pleasure of chatting with Josh Olin, former CM of video game studios like Treyarch Studios. While a Community Manager at Treyarch, Josh helped coordinate major game launches like Call of Duty. During his time as a community manager, Josh has grown two Facebook Pages from 0 to over 6 million fans. We were fortunate enough to pick Josh’s brain for community management insight, advice, and strategy:
How does community benefit your company as a whole?
Community is everything to any video game company, whether they see it or not. Yeah you answer to your boss, and your boss answers to his boss, all the way up to the CEO… But ultimately, everyone in that food chain answers to the Player. The players decide if you will remain employed or not. So my advice is to listen to them, and learn everything you can about how they interact with your brands and build programs and strategies to supplement that passion.
What are some of tools you use to make building a community more efficient / easy?
When referring to social media, certainly tools like SimplyMeasured are imperative in measuring engagement across the ecosystem. For websites, of course it’s Google Analytics or Omniture. Data-informed decision making is important. But while monitoring the data trends is important, the crucial x-factor comes in the form of strategic intuition. Something you only develop thru experience.
What do you have to provide to a community to foster growth?
More than just providing interesting, relevant content – you need to empower the users to establish connections between one another. This is what Facebook does fairly well, and maybe not so much Twitter (natively speaking, anyhow). But it’s important not to be paralyzed by the platforms. There are things you can do with your content and community to make those interpersonal connections more frequent and meaningful. Through the types of content, engagement programs you run, etc – You can maximize growth by removing the barriers to messages and interactions spreading.
What are some common mistakes that are made on social and how do you work to avoid them?
The most noticeable mistakes are those tasteless, untimely attempt at jumping on the bandwagon of something else that’s going viral. It’s social media 101 to keep your plan organic. You need to live in the moment, and always contextualize your message to the world around you. But when a bomb goes off somewhere and people are hurt, it may not be the best time to tweet out about how “BOMB” your breakfast burritos are with a winky-face….
The more common mistake is simply not understanding your audience, or losing sight of the big picture for even a moment. Social media especially is all about “what’s happening NOW”, Twitter more so than any other, so tweeting to 2 Million followers in the middle of the night when most everyone is asleep and only getting 30 Re-Tweets is a silly mistake, and a missed opportunity.
What in your opinion is the most satisfying thing about being a CM?
It’s without a doubt the privilege and ability to interact with the consumer on a daily basis. Beyond just gaming, so many people pour their blood sweat and tears into delivering a product or service to a consumer that they may never get the chance to meet. Never see the smile it puts on their face. Never hear the heartwarming story about how it changed their life forever. As a community manager, it’s easy to take that privilege for granted.