Melanie Baker talks about the role of Community Manager at AideRSS

More and more companies are adding Community Managers to their executive ranks.

Melanie BakerMelanie Baker, joined AideRSS as Community Manager earlier this year. During my recent visit to AideRSS in Waterloo, Melanie talked with me about the Community Manager role.

Melle sees the community manager providing a bridge between the different functions within a company and its community of users. In doing this, her first objective is to help users develop a sense of community with the company and one another. “Having a users base doesn’t necessarily mean you have a community,” Melanie pointed out. “If you can get a community going, then you know you are on the right track.”

Melanie has been impressed with the AideRSS users she’s met so far, “with the amount of passion they have, what they’re willing to do for you, the lengths they’re willing to go to try to make something work.” She notes that such dedicated users are valuable to a company like AideRSS. “You’d have to have an entire Quality Assurance department for that kind of stuff or massive amounts of developers hours to solve some of those things.”

Helping these supportive users also has a reputational benefit to the company. Says Melanie, “If you listen to them, if you try to help them solve a problem or get them up and running … they become passionate. And as soon as they become passionate, they help evangelize for you. … The word of mouth of your friends is the most powerful influence there is. It’s fantastic.”

How does Melle connect with the community? “I have to be one of those early adopters who jumps on everything.” She writes for the AideRSS blog, maintains an AideRSS Facebook page and two Twitter accounts – AideRSS and Melle. She’s also a big fan of Get Satisfaction, where AideRSS maintains an active support forum.  “It’s really effective for connecting with people, whether they have a question, just want to tell us something, or have a problem.”

And as new social apps appear, Melle believes she needs to “try them out, see if people are migrating there, and see if they want to talk to you there. If that’s where people are going to hang out, then that’s where you need to be.”

On a day to day basis, Melle sees different social apps working together in combination. “Twitter is easy for someone to ask me a quick question or mention a problem. Then … it migrates to a different format. It either goes into Get Satisfaction where it is officially logged. Or someone may have a longer question, so they email me. Or we start up an Instant Messenger chat. … That combination of tools is how things realy end up working. It’s important to be on a variety of platforms. It’s also important to be flexible to move between them to whichever format [of communication] is most comfortable for people.”

Other posts about AideRSS

AideRSS’ Journey from Founders’ Dream to Professional Leadership

Ilya Grigorik explains PostRank

AideRSS’ PostRank Measures Engagement

AideRSS at DemoCampToronto14

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  • This is a role that we’re starting to see a lot more of, these days. Fortunately for many of the HR and management people that are tryign to figure out just exactly what this role entails, those most interested in it are social media types that are generating a lot of discussion about what someone in this role is supposed to be doing.

  • Thanks for posting this, Joe. I’m excited to be starting in a similar role at Tucows in a few weeks so this was enlightening, as well as giving me a connection to someone else who’s doing what I’ll be doing.

  • I liked Melanie’s point about “word of mouth being the most influential tool” an organization has. This really is where social media shines.

  • Hodan Nursed

    I have recently started up a community youth organzation and i can relate to a lot of points that Melanie makes on this article. Melanie spoke about connecting with communites by participating on blogs, active fourms, and facebook and I really believe that is the way to go in this day and age. A lot of our target audiences are involved in these discussions. I also have to agree with Brandon as well. Word of mouth is the most influential tool an organzation has and melaine hit that point dead on.