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Monday
May272013

Community Managers can make or break your Brand »

I'm currently looking for a new mobile as my HTC I use for work is leaking memory (this is the second HTC mobile I have had that has developed exactly the same problem) and I wanted to know more about the new Samsung Galaxy S4.

Surfing a well known search engine I came across this article from PC Advisor "Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5 comparison review" written by Chris Martin, a staff writer at PC Advisor.

The article contains facts about some of the tests that were done by PC Advisor comparing the Samsung S4 to the iPhone 5, however once I had finished reading it I was left with a feeling that the article had a clear under tone of bias towards Apple. Reading it again and ignoring the writers biased under-tones, for me the Samsung S4 came out a fairly clear winner and yet the overall verdict was still in favour of the Apple iPhone5.

What I was expecting was an independent review from such a reputable brand as PC Advisor to help me make an informed decision, but instead I was left confused, frustrated and questioning the Brand's ability to be fair and transparent.

So I left a polite and humorous comment to the fact that I wonder if Chris Martin (the writer of the article) owns an iPhone 5 to which Matt Egan (PC Advisor Editor and star of this blog post) responded with the following comment:

From a community manager / editor representing a Brand I thought this response was a little strong and very provocative.

I then read other comments of the article left by consumers and I guess it wasn't surprising to see many had exactly the same opinion as myself that they felt this article was biased towards Apple. But what was surprising (well, more shocking) were some of Matt's responses to those comments:

 ...and I'm saving the best to last...
[Edited: The below comment was actually taken from a different article on PC Advisor] 

 

If you are representing a Brand you just cannot behave in this way. Not only will you alienate your consumers but you are damaging the Brand. So here are my top tips on how to be a great Community Manager:

Top 10 Tips that make a Great Community Manager

  1. Remember you represent the Brand not yourself
  2. Always be polite and respectful to your consumers, even if you don't agree or like their comments
  3. Don't take comments personally
  4. Engage with those that leave comments and thank them for their insights and time
  5. Where people disagree or have an issue, politely find out any information you can that can help them and your Brand in the future
  6. Listen to what your consumers have to say and feedback to your Brand
  7. If comments are offensive, remove them. Public battles are not pleasant reading and ultimately damaging to your Brand
  8. Don't use foul or offensive language yourself
  9. Learn from the experts and other community practitioners. I highly recommend joining the #CmgrChat Twitter Chat community (co-founder Jenn Pedde) and listening into Tim McDonalds #cmgrhangout
  10. Remember you represent the Brand not yourself (repeated for effect)

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Reader Comments (8)

And as the community manager, all of your actions do represent your Brand. Everything that you do is *mostly public or can be made public so ALWAYS be sure to walk the right path, regardless of whether it is work-related or not. In this age of social sharing, there's really no such thing as privacy. Are community managers celebrities then? Some might be; but either way, you are a spokesperson.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGarick

Couldn't agree more Garick. One bad comment can go viral and over shadow 100 great comments.

May 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Christopher

It's all fair comment and I am not about to tell you that your opinion is wrong. But I do need to point out a couple of salient facts.

Firstly, you have carefully selected only three comments from a thread that has literally dozens of interactions between the audience and me. (The post in which I use the phrase 'are you really that ignorant' was in response to a poster who said of the article author 'are you really that stupid' - you don't have to agree with my post, but you may understand the response better in context.)

Secondly, your 'humorous' initial post read like this:

"I actually find the language in this article a little biased towards Apple...does Chris Martin have an iPhone 5 i wonder ;-)

When Android wins against Apple in a specific test, just state it's a win not a "small win for Android".

Just stick to the facts Chris, just the facts..."

Again, it's fair comment. Humorous is a matter of taste but I take your point. However the *facts* are that Chris doesn't own an iPhone. Never has in fact. And we are an objective, independent title whose business model is based on being entirely unbiased, and being seen to be so. So I will always take issue with anyone who accuses us of bias and corruption. Ultimately the good name of PC Advisor is more important than my personal popularity, although I regret any occasion on which any poster has taken offence. Surprisingly it is often the most abrasive posters who are the most delicate. Go figure...

Most importantly your blog is your business and I am not going to argue with it: all I would ask of readers is that if you have read this post you take the time to read *all* the comments on that story. Then make up your own mind. I'll be watching for further feedback with genuine interest.

(And I would have appreciated right to reply before this post was published, but I realise there is a significant difference between journalism and blogging.)

Right, it's way too sunny to be doing this...

Matt

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Egan

Firstly, apologies for dragging you away from a sunny day. We don't get many...

Thank you also for taking the time to respond Matt, and providing a measured response. I also agree with you that others should read the article in it's entirety and respond in kind like so many before me did.

Whether you found my comment humorous (and the fact that you put ' ' around the word humorous suggests a sarcastic response that you didn't, though I thought the wink was a dead give away) is irrelevant. I am the consumer and a potential customer. Is it ok for a shop assistant to be so sarcastic and abrasive to it's customers and how long do you think that company will be in business if it did? So why should it be acceptable to do this online?

However, I do want to touch on what this post is really about and that is a Community Manager / Editor also has the responsibility of being a Brand Ambassador as do all employees of a company. What you say and how you say it in is a reflection on the Brand, and in a world where social is so interlinked with business that reflection is intensified. Let's take this blog for example, 350+ unique viewings in just a couple of hours from a few tweets.

The role of the Community Manager / Editor has changed over the last few years with the explosion of social media which is why this is a really interesting topic, and why it will be our next topic for discussion on our show and Twitter chat next week.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Christopher

I am not a shop assistant - I am the public face of the brand. It's more akin to being a PR manager, in that respect. And here's the point: it is *much* more important that I defend our objectivity than that I am nice to people who are rude to us. With respect, many more than 200,000 people will view PC Advisor today, and I would far rather be criticised on your blog than allow to remain unchallenged comments posted on that site accusing us of bias. I could of course delete all such comments (we get a staggering number, often accusing us of bias and/or corruption in two different directions on the same piece). But that's hardly social, is it? You can argue that my tone is wrong on occasion, and I can't argue against your opinion on that score. But I know better than you what is important for our business, and it is that our objectivity and independence is depended against unfair accusation. The customer is not always right!

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Egan

Thanks again Matt for dropping by and sharing your insights. You've provided lots of interesting discussion points for our panellists next week.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Christopher

Wow!! I'm a public relations student and we were discussing in class how to respond to negatives posts.
I'm with you David Christopher. I think as a brand manager you can't respond so aggressive to the clients or people in general. @Boop28kim.
Great tips for a community Manager.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Sounds like you will make a great PR Manager when you graduate Kimberly. Out of interest what was the outcome of your discussions in class?

May 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Christopher

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