Tag Archives: Media

The Practical Steps From: My Road to Becoming a Community Manager

So in my last post, I talked a lot about my personal journey on becoming a Community Manager in the gaming industry. Looking back and wanting to provide something for the community, I wanted to make a posting with some actual practical steps that can be taken from my story.

1. Be Active, if even on a volunteer basis.

I started out by just volunteering my time on a forum. Others I know started by writing reviews on community gaming sites. Being active and staying involved helps to show a passion towards being part of a community and the industry.

2. Get on Twitter/Facebook & Network!

If you’re not using Social Media (TwitterFacebookGoogle+, etc.), you should be. Brands and their respective Community Managers all use these as tools to reach their audience. Most of them also have their own accounts that can be followed. When I began branching out and following other Community Managers, I used Social Media to talk to them about what things they were posting.

[Edit: Starting up on Social Media can probably be a whole blog by itself…]

If you’re able to attend a gaming convention like PAX, attend those panels run by Community Managers! They provide some great insight on their own journeys and what game companies are looking at for new hires. The best thing to do is also stay around after the panel and try and get some face to face time with those CMs. Follow up with them on Twitter saying how you attended their panel and it was great to meet them.

3. Be a “Jack of all Trades”

Today’s community manager isn’t hired just to handle the social media for a company (or if they are, they’re really more so a Social Media Strategist). Instead, we’re asked upon to gauge the voice of our communities, keep track of our competing companies, delivery engaging content, market our own brand/products, and much more. It would be great if we were an expert at all things, but that’s impractical. Instead, if you’re well rounded at all of these things, it helps you to shine that much more.

Don’t forget that this applies to playing games as well! You could very well pigeon hole yourself by being a Halo fan, dedicating all your expert knowledge into what Bungie and 343i has done with the series, but be waiting on the sidelines so long because they already have a Community Manager. Sure, you could wait around for that CM to move on (or up) and the space to open up, but be aware of the other companies that do have open positions.

4. Always Keep Gaining Knowledge

Even if we’re hired into a Community Manager role already, there’s still so much we can learn. Keep up with what other CMs are doing, what tools they’re using, and what they’re finding is difficult. If you need some paid training for a certain area (writing, social media, creating graphics, etc.) find a mentor, or there’s also workshops and classes for these things. Justin Korthof and Jon Long, aka SixOkay and Weezul, have a series of 100 podcasts, 15 Minutes of Game, focused on the CM role with lots of great knowledge. There’s also “My Community Manager” a very active community for CMs of all industries. They provide a lot of great articles relating to the CM role.

These are just some basic things, but I hope that they help some of you out there wanting to become Community Managers. I’m no expert (I’m really just 4 months into my role), but love being able to share and talk about these things. Feel free to leave a comment on the blog, or hit me up on Twitter with comments: @randalw.

Update: Kickstarter / CustomSLR & The Power of Social Media

So I posted my last blog entry “Kickstarter: Great idea, bad experience” today at around 1pm.

I also send out a tweet to my followers highlighting this blog entry.

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By now, we all know the power of social media, and just some of the stories that were picked up by the media in which customer’s posted to media outlets in order to receive coverage and attention to what was going on. There was the AirBNB scandal where a customer trashed and robbed a home-owner in San Francisco. There’s also the Ocean Marketing blunder where the PR representative/”CEO” went off on not only the customer, but also Mike, the co-creator of Penny-Arcade and received tons of backlash from the gaming community.

No, my story was not covered like that, but it did gain a response from CustomSLR today. Around 3 hours ago, CustomSLR posted this to the comments section of the M-Plate project.

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This is a great move by CustomSLR as it helps for those of us who funded the higher tiered package for the extras. It’s great that CustomSLR is listening to their customers and want to make things right for those who need the equipment sooner than later. Being part of a marketing team for company that sells mainly online, I know it was a hard decision to offer early shipments (due to finances), but it is the right decision.

For Kickstarter and the case of other projects by other companies, what are they doing to help those with vapor-ware projects that get funded? According to their HELP section on their website, not much.

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No where else in their HELP section do they offer a way to receive a refund once the project is funded. Sure, they point out that you should trust companies that have a better track record, etc, but who’s to stop a renegade company from doing one last swansong of a project, offering something really cool, getting people to back their project, then run away with the money once the funds are released?

I hope that there doesn’t end up being a company like this to smear the Kickstarter name, as they do have some great companies with some neat products (Case in point, there’s the “Elevation Dock” for iPhone by Casey Hopkins that has raised an astounding $767, 803 as of today, with 9 days left to funding), but I feel it’s almost inevitable for some bad apple of a company to come along and break this system. Perhaps Kickstarter will take heart, read posts like these of the community and make some changes to the way accountability is held.