Industry Debate: The Value of Community Managers

Businessman Worshipping Man on Computer MonitorAs the role of communications and public relations professionals continues to evolve, PRBC bloggers Keith Trivitt and Danny Brown examine an offshoot of the profession, the community manager. Used by many websites, message boards and blogs to manage online engagement, relations and communications with key audiences, the role of a community manager is one cloaked with some confusion, particularly on the executive level.

We welcome your thoughts on the evolving role of community managers in the comments below.

Should community managers be forward-facing managers of a company’s online customer service, or should their roles evolve into more of a strategic position? In other words, are community managers anything more than glorified customer service reps? Continue reading

Dreaded Auto-DM #Fails

Two people balancing on envelopes; letters flying between themWe’ve all gotten them – those dreaded auto direct messages – Those automatically generated messages that you get as soon as you follow a new person on Twitter.  I am guilty of having used them for about a week around 18 months ago, until I realized it was a pretty crappy way to interact and didn’t actually save me any time or anything else.

Yet, no matter how much we all complain about them they seem inescapable.  Hoping to cast a spotlight on this wretched behaviour I’ve compiled, with the help of some friends, some of the most rude, bizarre, and simply unexplainable auto-dms we’ve received — all neatly categorized for your reading pleasure…with the occasional editorial comment from me… Continue reading

Walk the Line

Young Woman Jogging Across StreetI recently read a blog post from Dave Fleet that really put words to something that I had been pondering for a bit. The piece was entitled Are you creating social media scorched earth? It focused on companies that burn bridges with customers with one-off social media accounts.

There is no question that social media is the hotness for the 2010-2011 fiscal years for companies. Communications and customer service folks have been utilizing tools and building communities and brand awareness while driving revenue as a secondary benefit. The dollars brought in from people who are generally not seen as revenue drivers has given marketers a set of green blinders. You know the ones, where money clouds one’s thoughts, especially when the entry point into a medium is virtually free and is a direct outlet to customers. Continue reading

Anecdotal Evidence Suggests PR On the Right Path

A woman giving a speech at a podiumOver the past year, we have talked a lot on PRBC about the changing role of a PR practitioner, how the profession is perceived by reporters, bloggers, executives and the public and some of the backlash the PR business has received due to a multitude of issues.

Through all of these changes, I’m still very optimistic that the profession is progressing along the right path; that we’re taking strides toward becoming more transparent, more focused on helping companies build their businesses (rather than building our own egos) and more in line with the goals of our clients and their key audiences and constituents.

My optimism is enhanced by recent anecdotal evidence noting how others, many of whom were once staunch opponents of the value of PR, view the strategic value of retaining PR counsel. Specifically, a post on blogger relations by Gizmodo UK editor Kat Hannaford, and another post by Jennifer Walzer of Backup My Info! leave me with the impression that our profession, as a whole, is beginning to learn from its mistakes. And while we certainly have many areas in need of improvement (media relations, agency turnover rates, mentorship, etc.), I feel we are beginning to see the hard work of many to reshape the public’s perception of the value of public relations taking hold. Continue reading