A Day in the Life: Content Marketing Institute’s Community Manager

The exhibition floor of Content Marketing World, an annual content marketing conference held in Cleveland, Ohio.

Monina Wagner is Social Media Community Manager for one of my favorite content brands, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). According to Monina’s LinkedIn Profile, she is “responsible for the day-to-day execution of social media content for the organization.” What does Monina’s job entail? Have a look at this video:

Note: Video sourced from this article at The Career Zoo.

What follows is an interview I conducted with Monina via email.

Let’s talk about your mornings. After you finish your coffee ☕ and check CMI’s social channels, what do you do next?

Once I’ve checked CMI’s social media channels and have scheduled any not-previously planned posts, I review my to-do list.

The fast-paced nature of social media means an ever-changing list of priorities. I live by sticky notes. I create a sticky note for each pressing item on my to-do list.

I hate clutter so I place the sticky notes in various spots, forcing me to plow through my day and clean up my desk! If we’re not hosting a Twitter chat or webinar, I spend much of the day writing posts for the blog or social media.

Related: On the Content Marketing World blog, get a glimpse of what’s on Monina’s desk.

What’s a typical afternoon like for you?

I love my afternoons because it’s when I get to do what I truly love about this job — community manage. Throughout the day, I am constantly answering questions from our followers about Content Marketing World or our blog.

But once my day starts to wind down, I can have true conversations with our community. I set up various lists for our influencers — Twitter chat participants, event attendees, speakers, and sponsors — and I can comment on items they’ve posted.

I’m the first on our team to know when one person accepted a new job and when another has a sick pet. Learning about our community members and being a part of their daily lives — it’s like being their nosy neighbor. But hopefully they see it as less nosy and more neighbor!

Remote work can be a challenge for some. How do you and the CMI team stay connected during the day?

The CMI team uses Skype for Business. This gives us the ability to instant message and place video calls. Even when we’re not under the same roof, we can see each other! When I first started with CMI, I hated telecommuting. It was not what I envisioned. I missed cubicle life.

But once I set up my office and learned how to use Skype for Business, I realized I was much more productive working from home (or even working from Starbucks) than I ever was in an office.

How do you blend after-hours work with your personal life?

Is it wrong to say that I don’t? 😊 There is no need to be always on. Social media is a 24/7 job, and yes, I am held accountable by our community and our thousands of followers. But I will allow myself two hours away from Twitter to enjoy my daughter’s basketball game uninterrupted, and I won’t feel bad about it.

There will inevitably be times when I must work on a weekend or in the middle of the night because of a social media crisis. It’s part of the job. But spending time away from the computer reinvigorates me; “real life” inspires my “social” life.

I’ve come up with different ideas on how to better serve our community because of activities I’ve taken part in after-work hours. And unplugging reminds me of how much I love social media and the relationships it brings.

What’s one thing you’d change about your job?

One thing I’d like to see changed is our internal team’s understanding and use of social media. Many times, my coworkers will tell me they see the importance of social media but aren’t sure how to best leverage it.

This year, I am working with our team members to audit their personal social media accounts, introduce them to online influencers, and answer any questions they may have. I’m grateful to work for an organization that is open to change and one that allows me to take ownership of such change.

A brand new social network emerges. How do you evaluate whether CMI should invest time and effort in it?

We wait. Because marketers are often the first to try new platforms, it would be easy for me to jump on the network and go all in. But we’ve seen the fleeting nature of platforms. Remember Ello? At CMI, we will secure an account, with a name consistent with our brand (often CMIContent).

Then we watch how our audience responds to the network. If it’s a network that marketers are taking to, we must now determine what kind of content would be of value to our audience and if we are able to offer that.

For example, I love Snapchat, but as a media company focusing on education and training, CMI hasn’t yet come up with the content formula that would work best there.

What’s the first thing a community manager must do to prepare for a face-to-face event?

Outside of setting up the event hashtag (and getting lots of sleep before the event), a community manager should think of every possible scenario for the conference, then determine how your brand would want to react.

I drafted a FAQ document based on what I believed to be typical questions asked by conference attendees:

1. What time does registration open?

2. Am I able to request a gluten-free meal?

3. Where can I charge my phone?

The FAQ included 140-character responses, perfect for use on any social media channel. Having pre-written answers saves time during busy event days. As important as the FAQ is a Crisis Communications Plan.

Our plan provided a response tree, identifying which key individuals should be involved in various hypothetical situations. It is then the job of that team to determine a plan of action for the crisis at hand. Social media is real-time but there is still preparation involved.

What’s the future of community management? 🔮

Community managers will have to be more creative in how they approach, engage, and nurture communities. Many brands will soon take online relationships offline. They will reward members for their support and feedback by hosting in-person events.

They will want to know members more intimately through local meetups. Online forums and social media can be the catalyst that starts relationships but a community manager can take it to the next level by fostering that relationship in unexpected ways offline.

I learned a lot. Thanks so much, Monina! 🙏

You’re welcome.

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