As our Summer 2013 Community Management Training Program comes to a close, we brought in two local communications and strategy experts to provide insights and advice to students seeking careers in social media.
Paul Isakson, Co-founder and Partner in Strategy at MakeMatter, offered students a presentation on establishing a brand strategy and communicating with a particular audience. In addition, Chris Werle, Associate Athletic Director in communications at the University of Minnesota, spoke about the key to career successes and strategies for achieving personal goals.
Isakson knows the importance of both strategy and brand representation, which he says go hand-in-hand.
Knowing your brand’s voice, as well as the community you need to engage, is essential to any job in Community Management. As Isakson explained, “A brand is what a brand does,” also noting that when it comes to communicating on a brand’s behalf, great stories matter. Along with communication, content creation is at the forefront of a Community Manager’s job. And according to Isakson, that content should be a combination between content the community cares about, content the brand cares about, and content you can create or source.
“That’s the goal: To put stories and experiences in the world that make people want to talk about you.” #CMTP
— Jennifer Orr (@jennorr27) July 23, 2013
Creativity, of course, is important – but understanding and strategizing are “required wisdom.” Understanding the brand you represent as well as the people the brand wants to connect are keys to success and efficiency.
Understanding a brand means defining a brand, and Isakson defines a brand as, “an evolving story, collectively told over time by its makers and the people who come into contact with it.” Referencing Donald Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” he said that, “A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”
According to Isakson, Community Managers should think of brands as humans. Just as humans must communicate in order to establish relationships, trust, and character, so too must a brand.
Biggest takeaway from thinking about a brand as a human: “Listen twice as much as you talk” – Paul Isakson #CMTP
— Nick Mastodon (@nickmastodon) July 24, 2013
Understanding an audience is the other major component of brand representation. People have beliefs, aspirations, motivations, behaviors, and physical, digital, social and cultural connections – all of which define a brand’s audience and allow a Community Manager to tailor content specifically to them.
— Jane Lee (@Jane_ML) July 24, 2013
Isakson knows there’s a kind of psychology involved with a job in Community Management, which speaks volumes to his understanding of social media engagement. CMTP students were taught throughout the course that solid brand representation and communication were indispensable, but Isakson’s knowledge and passion for social media and strategy reaffirmed those facts.
Chris Werle spoke at the final CMTP class of the summer in a casual, round-table-discussion around careers and success. Among the insights he offered was the importance of:
- Hard work
— Maggie L. Hughes (@MaggieLHughes) July 24, 2013
“Keep your head down, be an adult, work hard, and you’ll do much better.” – Chris Werle #CMTP
— Jennifer Orr (@jennorr27) July 25, 2013
— Jane Lee (@Jane_ML) July 25, 2013