I met Sherrie Rohde during preparations for Community Manager Appreciation Day 2014. I was invited to speak in one of the Hangouts and Sherrie helped coordinate activities among the participants. Sherrie is the
eCommerce Program Manager at
Rebellion Media and Producer of mycmgr.com, a resource for
community managers. You can connect with Sherrie on Twitter as
@sherrierohde or Google+.
Community Management Q&A
Q: Tell us about yourself, Sherrie?
A: Hi, my name is Sherrie and
I’m addicted to Twitter. No, but really. As my
Twitter bio currently says, I’m
terrified of status quo and motivated by adventure. I think the combination of
the two, with a dash of
ENFP and amazing friends, has led me to where I am
today. I’m an expat, American living in Canada, working in a blend of the
eCommerce, Community and User Experience worlds. If by some chance I’m not off
exploring the next random corner of the universe, and by some miracle it’s not
cold outside, you’ll probably find me running or biking on our local trails.
The Community Manager Role
Image source: La Fabrique de Blogs on
Q: How is the community manager role (in 2014) different from the role in 2010?
A: I think the biggest
difference for the Community Manager role in 2014 vs. 2010 is the
attention it’s receiving. Community Management isn’t new, despite common
belief. We all owe the gaming industry a huge thank you for teaching us the
power of community. On a semi-related note, community has been around longer
than the Internet. I know
Sarah Robinson, for example, tracks her
experience in community management back to her time as a Community Development
Coordinator in a college residence hall.
My hope is that in 2014 there
more recognition that social media is not a mystical creature or magic wand,
it’s simply another communication channel. This realization would allow us to
stop having the “Social Media Manager” vs. “Community Manager” debate and just
focus on bringing people together in ways that benefit everyone and meet
Q: What’s the one thing community managers don’t spend enough time doing?
A: It’s important that as
Community Managers, we spend more time
studying psychology and sociology. I
think we often get caught up in trivial things such as the best time to post on
Facebook, the latest forum technologies or which hashtags we’re missing out on
without understanding our community’s root needs.
Image source: Inf-Life Teacher on
"People are drawn to communities out of a desire to belong."
Our methodology often reminds
me of the medical world when a patient’s symptoms are treated instead of the
actual disease causing the issue. We know from
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that people are drawn to
communities out of a desire to belong. Understanding what drives someone helps
us know how to craft the experience they both need and want, which, in turn,
benefits our goals.
Q: If you’re launching a new community next week, what’s the one thing to focus on first?
"When building a new community, the first thing to do is: listen."
A: The first thing anyone, or
any organization, should do when building a new community is
listen. In the
case of eCommerce, your community is likely to start with your customers. Who’s
already talking? What are their needs? If you seek out how you can help them,
getting them to help you is easy.
Community is a symbiotic relationship.
Community Management Resources
Q: What are the top three community management blogs that you visit the most?
A: I subscribe to and
Feverbee, The Community
and Community Spark. Lighthouse.IO does a pretty good job at
curating some of the best Community Management related posts.
I’ve also fine-tuned Twitter,
with whom I follow as well as lists, to make sure I have a heads up on the best
posts from around the web. It’s important to
research beyond just the community
As I already mentioned, psychology and sociology tips are
key as well as knowing what’s going on in your community’s industry space. For
example, if you’re managing an eCommerce community, you better be keeping in
touch with eCommerce news and practices.
Q: Have you read any good books recently that help inform your role as a community manager?
A: Unfortunately, I’m
embarrassingly far behind in my reading list. I did recently read
You Get What You Give by Merlin U Ward. Next in my queue are a few user experience
and psychology based books recommended by friend and psychology in eCommerce
Q: Tell us some community managers whom you respect the most?
A: I consider it a privilege and
honor that I’ve been able to closely learn from
Rhonda Rondeau, Sarah Robinson and Tim McDonald early on. Their mentorship
largely shaped my perception and understanding of Community Management early
I also have a lot of respect
David DeWald, Sue John and Patrick
three of them are a huge wealth of wisdom for community and play their role in
improving the space in their individual areas of expertise.
CMAD and #CMGRHangout
Q: You were part of the team who managed Communication Manager Appreciation Day. In terms of logistics and event planning, what did you learn from it?
A: When organizing 135 panelists
from over 15 different countries, delegation is key. Having helpful,
self-motivated people with a willingness to take ownership of individual panels
was essential. I am so grateful for every single blogger and panelist that made
that day possible but we could not have done it without those organizers stepping
up and taking leadership roles.
us about the weekly #CMGRHangout?
MyCMGR.com (hi, Tim!)
A: Every Friday at 2pm ET, Brew and I produce a combination Google Hangout on
Air and Twitter Chat called
#CMGRHangout. Sarah Mordis and Carrie Keenan make sure everyone is
welcome and involved in the Twitterverse.
Each week we have a panel of
3-5 Community Managers guided by 5-7 discussion questions based around a
specific topic in the community management space. It makes my day whenever
someone lets us know they learned something. That is why we do this. It’s a
community by and for Community Managers.
If you ever have a topic
suggestion, we’re all ears.
The Future of Community Management
does the future hold for community management?
"Let's educate the world on the importance and value of community."
A: I’m always intrigued at how
others answer this question. I think the future of community management is
largely dependent on our ability to
educate our world on the importance and
value of community. For example, engagement isn’t a magic answer by itself, we
need to be able to define our success in terms of business objectives.
Whether or not Facebook
exists 10 years from now doesn’t matter for community. What is important is our
ability to innovate and adapt to new technologies learning how we can leverage
them to continually help others connect with each other and move forwards
Did you know that DNN has an
online community solution? Have a look at these pages for more information:
- Create engagement and loyalty via gamification.
- Elicit product ideas from community members with ideation.
- Have community members ask and answer questions via Q&A.
- Monitor the health of your community with Analytics.