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SMDAY-Webinar-Ad_06-19-14.jpgThe last 5 years, Mashable has celebrated Social Media Day as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. The best part about Social Media Day are the hundreds of meetups that happen all over the world. Want to get involved? Attend a Social Media Day Meetup near you and/or share why you love this day using #SMDay.

 

It's also a great time to stop and celebrate the awesome internal and external community managers, that are running the show across a variety of social platforms. The importance of and the number of community managers out there is growing and their skills are unique. They have to balance meeting their goals (growth, engagement, reach, ROI, closed tickets, etc) while making sure the story and personality shines through in content....and much, much more. See Community Manager Appreciation Day 2014.

 

It's imperative to stay on top of the evolving social media landscape, so here are some of the most fascinating changes recently for some of the more popular social media platforms:

 

 

Facebook:

  • It's all about the visual. Facebook's new layout affected the optimal photo sizing you're used to creating. Here's a new cheat sheet.
  • As Facebook is public (and because they can) brands are having to pay more and more in order for their content to be seen by even a portion of their community. Many users and brands are not happy with their new algorithm.
    "Only 43% of marketers feel like their Facebook efforts are working." - Social Media Examiner
  • On the other hand, Facebook Audience Insights have grown dramatically, and marketers are really able to fine tune their ad targeting, especially through Facebook's Power Editor Tool. I've seen great success using the Power Editor to create Dark Posts.

 

Twitter:

  • Twitter rolled out some interesting changes that make your profile more similar to Facebook: new header image, pinning a tweet to the top of your feed, and adding more info to your profile page. So now I can pin my Spurs tweet to the top of my page and share my UT pride in my header image. #GoSpursGo #Hookem

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LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn has recently rolled out Showcase Pages, removing the Product and Services tab on your Company Page. This allows people to follow certain initiatives, products or services of each company and these pages act as an extension of your Company Page. Though, it was a bummer to lose all of those product/service recommendations! I think the jury is still out on the success or effectiveness of Showcase Pages.
  • LinkedIn awards their Premium users a profile that looks very similar to Facebook's (do you see a trend here?) in order to help them stand out in searches and to allow them a more personal feel. As I'm not a Premium member, I'm very jealous of this new profile - but it will roll out to non-Premium members soon. I can't wait! See how awesome Deirdre Walsh's profile page looks?

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Google+:

  • Google+ has grown in importance in my eyes mainly because of the SEO value. In fact, I'm shifting time away from Facebook to Google+ because of Facebook's new algorithm.
  • +Post ads is a new program launched that allows brand pages with more than 1,000 followers to promote their Google+ content posts via Google's AdSense program. Learn more. I'm excited to try this program out!

 

Our awesome, new Senior Community Manager, Libby Taylor, elaborates on Online Communities:

More and more businesses and organizations are establishing online social collaboration communities for their customers, partners and employees. While these kinds of forums have been around for years, some new trends are emerging:

  • Moving to the cloud. With easier upgrades and the latest sets of features, the cloud has it all. Rather than hosting communities themselves, more companies are moving to cloud-based technologies.
  • Executive bloggers. Gone are the days when executives communicate only through a team of spokes-people creating press releases. Executive blogging is on the rise and customers and employees are connecting with them real-time.
  • Peer-to-peer support. Getting answers to questions is happening more than ever within online communities and can sometimes be faster and easier than getting support from the companies themselves.

 

I hope you find these social platform updates helpful. I could go on and on about updates and what the future holds, but I would love to hear what your favorites changes to social media are as well as how you're celebrating #SMDay!

Are you physically and emotionally drained just thinking about the implications of an internal community? If you're looking for a little bit of confirmation bias in an effort to avoid this mess they call "social intranet", I've got you covered. Here are five reasons you should wad up that Jive proposal (because printing emails is so you) and chunk it in the ol' round filing cabinet.

 

1. Opinions Are Like…

Seriously… everyone has one. And who needs them? You’re a leader because you have all the answers. An online community is a breeding ground for everyone thinking they might have a great solution to a problem. You can only imagine how uppity they’ll be when they feel like they are really a part of a big change. Autonomy is like the mother of innovation. Speaking of which…

 

2. Change Is Hard

Why all the fuss about being innovative? Your company is sailing just above water, and there’s no sense in changing things; you’ve always done it this way and it’s working out fine. When your customers asked for a website, you said, “Why don’t they pick up a phone and order from the catalog like everyone else?” I'd even wager that your office uses carbon copy memos instead of that email nonsense. You, my friend, are hardcore – a leader with conviction.

 

3. Early Birds Get The Worm, And Worms Are Gross

How can you possibly know if something will work for your company before you wait and see if it works for your competitors first? What are you – NUTS?! Patience is a virtue, and virtuous you shall remain – just like Blockbuster, Borders, and Kodak.

 

4. It’s Risky Business

Allowing your employees to say things is just an invitation for risk. By launching an internal collaboration platform, you’re basically inviting a law suit to come over for dinner and drink all of your most expensive brandy. You’re better than that, friend. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve never been sued. Meaningful outcomes, be damned! In your cost-benefit analysis, no risk is too small for determining that entire projects should be ceremoniously catapulted from the 6th floor balcony. Now that you think about all that risk … you shouldn't be letting any employees speak to any customers or clients. Or each other. Well ok, maybe they can talk to each other in a text-documented manner with supervision. Oh wait...

 

5. Online Community = Social Media

You’re no fool! You see what’s going on here. Your team just wants a company-sanctioned "FriendFace" group to talk about … whatever it is they talk about. You don’t have any need for that hubbub, so why should they? Just because mobile and social is how your employees naturally communicate, that doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Excuse me, but you are a LEADER, not a FOLLOWER, amiright?

 

If any of these five fears fit your style, then you’re absolutely right – an online internal collaboration platform is definitely not for you. But come to think of it, you may not be right for your company. The modern business environment doesn't seem to fit your management style.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 4.58.48 PM.pngI'm no stranger to the soccer field. My dad, whose college nickname was Elep (Pele backwards), spent many weekends teaching me the sport and cheering me on at games. While it has been many years since I've played, I’m still able to take the lessons learned on the grass and apply them to my role as a social strategist.

 

In honor of The World Cup kickoff and Father's Day, I've created this list of the top nine social lessons learned from soccer.

 

1. Master the Fundamentals

Just like players need to understand how to dribble, pass, and shoot, community managers must develop a core set of skills.  These talents include content creation, project management, and relationship building. Once you master these competences, you can move on to advanced techniques like gamification, business analytics, and platform optimization.

 

2. Listen to Your Coach

A strategic, passionate coach is a key to winning. Community managers must also have an executive sponsor who is vested in the success of the team. This leader authorizes funding and resources, approves key policies, and champions the success of the program among the e-staff. Most importantly, the executive sponsor has the strength to empower cultural change.

 

3. Have a Game Plan

In sports, every game plan is unique. Similarly, each roadmap to online community success varies. That’s because businesses use communities to accomplish a wide range of goals, such as customer support, strategic alignment, partner relationships, etc. Despite the variety, community managers must have a well-documented plan with measurable objectives, strategic use cases and technical features prioritized on potential impact to the business and ability to execute.

 

4. Be 100% Committed

Good soccer players are dedicated 24/7.  They practice, watch what they eat, and live and breathe the game. The same applies to social professionals.  It’s an “always on” job. There are no customer service timeouts or Twitter rainouts. When conversations spike or news breaks, the community manager has to be available.

 

5. Play with Passion

As with anything in life, you are more successful if you’re passionate. Luckily with both soccer and social that zeal comes naturally.

 

6. Keep a Level Head

Just like soccer opponents try to slide tackle you, online communities are full of strikes on the brand. It’s crucial for community managers to help alleviate tense situations and not fuel them.

 

7. Find Strength in Your Team

Many of the world’s leading soccer scorers have contributed their success to the pinpoint passing skills of their teammates. Likewise, good community managers rely on strong communication and collaboration with individuals across the organization. Everyone from legal to marketing has a position to play.

 

8. Appreciate Your Fans

Every soccer team has a set of rabid fans, but so do strong online communities. That’s because these online networks are more than just modern communication vehicles. They are made up of people who have a shared passion and shared “why.” Renowned community managers put their fans first; empowering, amplifying and rewarding them.

 

9. Celebrate Your Gooooaaaalllls!

In both soccer and social, numbers matter. Nothing is more rewarding then winning!

 

From kids playing in the streets of St. Louis to professionals duking it out in Brazil, soccer touches so many lives.  In the same light, so does social. I’ve watched as the role of community manager has evolved from something delegated to the intern into a respected profession sought out by the world’s most powerful brands. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of either, know that you are part of something big.

 

If you like this post, feel free to download the related SlideShare presentation, "Top 9 Social Lessons Learned from Soccer."

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