Archives for February 2009

Friday Email Flurries

I send a lot of emails on Fridays.  On the one day I get the fewest emails.  But there is a reason I send so many on Fridays.

On Fridays, I work at home, and try to dedicate the day to talking to potential customers.  The rest of the week I dedicate to helping current customers.

But Fridays are different – on Fridays I try to talk to the people that can influence other buyers – basically trying to extend my reach.

So I learn a lot on Fridays.  And that causes me to send a lot of emails that I am sure my bosses wish waited until Monday.  But I write them as they come in, and send them as I can.  Which generally means a flurry of late-night Friday emails on a number of different ideas/prospects.

Sorry, bosses.  But Friday is a good day for this.  People are willing to talk more on Fridays.

So You Want to be an Online Community Manager?

If that is really what you want, I really hope you get it.  It’s a complex position, at least in the role I fill for my company. But it can also be a great deal of fun.

I don’t “just do Twitter”, or “manage the blog”.  It isn’t a simple position.  It certainly isn’t as simple as that.

To be successful in this role you need a lot of things – like a voice.  If you can’t affect change within your organization, you can’t affect change for your customers.  Period.  If you take a Community position that does not allow you to control resources then you won’t win – you can’t win.  And you will be stealing money from your employer, since there is no chance you are actually earning it.

I spend a lot of time managing our corporate Twitter account – and a lot of time planning/writing/perfecting and posting to our blog.  But that honestly takes about 10% of my time.  Mandatory meetings take another 5-10% of my time.

That leaves me with 80-85% of my time that do NOT revolve around Twitter, or our blog.  So it seems I should have a lot of “free time”.

But guess what?  I don’t have much free time -  most of my time is spent doing plain old fashioned business – talking to customers, solving problems, and SELLING.  Yes, I am in Sales.  AND Marketing.  And Support, Engineering, Management, Finance… it is a complex role.

It can be amazingly rewarding.  If you are empowered to call in resources, even at 2am on a holiday weekend – if you have that level of trust and authority – within your own organization – then you might just do ok at this position.

If you absolutely love talking to customers – even the mad ones (especially the mad ones!) – then you may even love this job.

But don’t expect it to be MON-FRI 9-5.  You won’t win that way.  You need to be available for your customers when they want, how they want, and where they want.  And you need to talk to them about WHAT they want to talk about.

If you are the Community Manager it should never be about you.  And you should be able to call anyone – even the Chairman – even at 2am.  Whatever it takes to keep a customer happy.

I can – but have never needed to.  But if people KNOW you have that ability you will probably NEVER have to wake the Chairman 🙂