This morning I rediscovered this (previously unpublished) transcript from February 2008 in my archives.
I was Product Manager of Compete.com at the time, and it goes into how we managed and thought about our user community at Compete, a critical component that helped us surpass 1 million monthly unique visitors to Compete.com very quickly. I’ve carried much of this thinking over to Shareaholic, a tool that has been used by over 1 million people. At Shareaholic we obsess over our users, always putting our users first.
Hope you find this to be a useful read. Enjoy!
1. Who do you work for, what do they do, and what is your official job title?
Compete, Inc is a competitive web analytics company. We have a diverse sample of over two million U.S. internet users that have given us permission to aggregate and analyze all the web pages they visit and ask them questions via surveys. We believe that web analytics means analyzing what consumers do across the entire web, not just what they do within a particular site, and that marketers can use this rich information across the entire company, not just for online media planning or site design decisions.
We’ve been doing custom web analytics work for big brands such as Verizon, Chrysler and Wells Fargo for over 7 years now. Just over 13 months ago we launched compete.com. Compete.com is targeted towards the millions of people dependent upon their website/online presence to drive their business. Up until the launch of compete.com there really was no affordable, reliable and consistent source of competitive web analytics for the average marketer.
As for my own role with Compete, I’ve been with the company for just over 3 years, and my official job title is – Product Manager, Compete.com
2. Now that you have experience actually doing it, what does community management mean at Compete?
We won’t be satisfied until compete.com is the go-to industry source for the most precise competitive web analytics data available. For this to happen, we need to build a large community users that regularly use, trust and recommend Compete data – our advocates.
Generally, communities do not build themselves. They need some nurturing. I like Chris Brogan’s description of the role:
“The people gathered before you aren’t an orchestra and you are not a conductor. At best, you are a jam manager. You are the person helping bring about the experience, but with your hands as far off the overall end results as possible.”
At Compete, community management/evangelism translates to encouraging and supporting early users, enabling two-way transparent conversations about Compete, looking for and enabling people who might be interested in what we do, listening and responding to feedback (the good and the bad), setting up and managing user expectations, integrating user feedback into product roadmap decisions, being the customer’s voice within Compete, and generally being available, easy to reach, and responsive.
3. If a community manager does their job well, what happens as a result?
We hope good things 🙂 In all seriousness, in my experience users tend to feel a greater sense of ownership of the product. This leads to our users being happier, they engage more with the product, tend to talk more favorably about their experiences, and give us more (constructive) feedback in return. They become our advocates.