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Community Manager Appreciation DayToday marks the sixth annual Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD).

Originally created by Jeremiah Owyang, CMAD encourages companies and community members to express their gratitude to those responsible for the communities that they enjoy and receive value from.

It’s being celebrated online and in-person all around the world by many different groups and organizations. But the center of the festivities is the 24 hour live stream managed by My Community Manager. It began a few hours ago (at midnight GMT -5) and will continue until midnight tonight! Even if you miss a session, you can watch it later as it will be recorded and available immediately after.

Sherrie Rohde and Jonathan Brewer were kind enough to invite me to organize a session (and I also received an invitation from one of the panel organizers), but unfortunately, I had to decline. This is family time for me. I’m really sorry to have to miss this great event!

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Always Be Closing

Still Image from Glengarry Glen Ross

There is a famous scene in the film Glengarry Glen Ross, when a character played by Alec Baldwin attempts to motivate a team of salesmen. One of the most quoted lines is: “A-B-C. A – always, B – be, C – closing. Always be closing.” They are salesmen – they should always be closing sales.

However, there is another ABC that most people would probably be better served by: Always Build Community.

When I spoke at CNN, I told a group of professionals there that if they built community around their work at the company, it would not only be good for CNN – it would be good for all of them, as individuals. It is one of the most important ways for them to avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket. Most of them have CNN in their Twitter handle. What I asked them was this: when you leave CNN, and take that brand out of your Twitter handle, will anyone still care about you?

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My friend Jay Baer received a new leather backpack for Christmas. He discovered the bag because of a recommendation made by a mutual friend of ours, Rohit Bhargava. This recommendation was posted in a private Facebook group for frequent travelers. Both Jay and Rohit are members of this group.

He had never even heard of the brand (Piquadro) before Rohit mentioned it. But Jay knew he wanted it and sent the link to his wife, who bought it as a gift. Piquadro has no idea that the sale was primarily generated by a post in a private community of frequent travelers. That community receives no credit, nor does Facebook. To Piquadro, it will simply look like a direct referral.

Listen to Jay tell the story himself in the video below (or read his article, “Why Social Media Will Never Get the Credit it Deserves”).

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I was watching an episode of Shark Tank recently, and there was an investment opportunity that interested two sharks – Daymond John and Lori Greiner. The entrepreneur was negotiating and deciding which of the two sharks to go with.

The entrepreneur was doing what they should do and wasn’t really belaboring the process. But, suddenly, Mrs. Greiner said that if the entrepreneur didn’t choose her immediately, that she would take her offer off of the table. Instantly, I said out loud to the TV, “decision made – you choose John” (or something like that). And sure enough, the entrepreneur did. It was the right choice.

When you are engaging in a good faith manner, and someone threatens you with isolation if you don’t choose them, you should pretty much always not choose them.

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The Community Professionals I Listen to and Why

Posted by Patrick on January 8th, 2015 in Resources

In December, CMX’s Facebook group hosted a discussion about community management mentors. In addition, David Spinks asked people who they turned to, in order to learn about community strategy.

2015 marks 15 years of community management for me (17 years of moderation) and, when I say 15 years, what I really mean is 15 years of learning. That’s what experience should be. 15 years doesn’t just mean that I started managing communities in 2000. It means that I started learning about community in 2000 and have continued learning ever since.

At a tech support community that I once managed, I had a member who mocked a staff member of mine because they had asked for help with something. The implication was that, because they asked for help, they were not qualified to help others or to be an expert. To ask for help – to learn about something you were supposedly an expert in – was a weakness, to that person. What a sad way to be.

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FacebookUploading pirated “viral” videos to your Facebook page is not a smart way to increase your page’s reach. It may seem like a good idea, but in the end, it doesn’t really work. Unfortunately, far too many Facebook page managers believe that it does.

They see a cool video (usually on YouTube, but sometimes on Vine), and they download it from the site, using some third party software. Obviously, you can’t download a video from YouTube under normal circumstances. They use a tool or a browser add-on and rip the video that way. Then they upload the video to their Facebook page. Sometimes they provide some lame attribution; sometimes they don’t.

This isn’t a new problem. It’s been a constant in my Facebook news feed for several months. At pretty much any given time, I can visit Facebook and instantly pick out a pirated video. Mashable reported on the issue in August, as did The Daily Dot in October.

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Back in August, I wrote a long email to a couple of friends, discussing how I saw community working within their businesses. Here is one thing I told them:

“The point is that as [redacted] companies mature, they should do more than just talk about being a part of the community, they should hire people who can actively cultivate their community. It’ll give them a definitive advantage over others because this whole community thing isn’t going away.

‘Social media’ will go away, because social media just means communicating online, and those responsibilities will be shared and used by different departments based upon their needs, goals and desires. Marketing uses social media, community uses social media, recruiting/HR uses social media, but they all have different goals. Community is here to stay.”

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RetroHash by Asher RothIn April, rapper Asher Roth released his second album, RetroHash. His first album was released by a major label, but he put out this one independently, following an open letter explaining his desire to release music directly to his fans.

Asher is an acquaintance of mine and supremely talented. We came into contact when I was putting together a panel about fan interaction for a conference. He’s a digitally savvy, fan-centric artist, and I love watching him interact with his community via social media. He’s the opposite of arrogant.

I was really impressed with how RetroHash was distributed online, and I think the music industry as a whole should follow Asher’s lead. I would describe his strategy as a best-of-all-worlds approach that put the music in the places where people actually consume music, rather than forcing fans into a particular box. I want to walk through the layers of this strategy, as I see them.

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YouTube Isn’t a Copyright Launderer

Posted by Patrick on December 18th, 2014 in Managing the Community

Back in October, a few weeks before Halloween, a trending story on Facebook caught my eye. It said that all episodes of the 1990s Nickelodeon TV show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” were available on YouTube.

As a 90s kid, I loved the show. In fact, I own all 7 seasons on DVD. I purchased them because I wanted to re-watch the show with my brothers. My youngest brother had never seen them. It was a lot of fun.

When I saw the Facebook trending story, I immediately thought that something probably wasn’t right. Sure enough, that was the case. The clips that were being linked to were very clearly on unauthorized channels. For anyone who is familiar to show, that also possesses a modicum of common sense and internet savvy, it took only a few seconds to realize this.

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Happy Holidays!

Posted by Patrick on December 15th, 2014 in ManagingCommunities.com

It’s that time of the year again. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and a great 2015.

2014 has been a great year for our profession, and I’m grateful for that. I am also thankful for all of the fantastic professionals I bump into on a regular basis because of my writing and speaking. It’s a special feeling when people find value in my work. I love to be able to help people in this space.

If you have sent me a kind word, left a thoughtful comment, shared my work or simply appreciated something I’ve shared, I’d like to thank you because your support motivates me. I have a deep respect for the work that we do as community professionals. I believe it is important work that shouldn’t be undervalued.

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