One of the questions I’m commonly asked is “What does a community manager do?” More often than not, this is followed by “Don’t you basically just hang out on Facebook and Twitter all day?” Although I’m sure the role differs from company to company, being a community manager at EA is sort of like being an air traffic controller. Massive amounts of communication flow through the community manager, and a key part of our job is to ensure we deliver those messages on time and without flaw.
Of course that’s only one facet of the job. While coordinating messages across various teams is a crucial part of the process, we also have many other tasks and responsibilities to attend to. So, for those interested in a future of community management, I’m lifting the veil and offering an inside peek into my world. Below you will find documentation of a day in my life on the job.
tl;dr – No, we don’t just basically hang out on Facebook and Twitter all day.
November 4, 2014
Hour 1: 7:00am – 8:00am
- Check email: 71 new messages overnight. Our business is global, which means the other side of the world is working while those of us in North America sleep. I log all my action items on a “To Do” list. Notepads are your friend in this line of work.
- Review daily reports: Waiting in my inbox every morning is a report that recaps the past 24 hours on our social media channels. This is where fan feedback really comes into play. Who is talking about us? What are they saying? Are there any topics that need to be escalated to the broader team?
- Review performance metrics: I look at yesterday’s content on our social media channels and take note of their performance. How many people did it reach? Did people seem to like the posts? Did they share the content? Can our team learn anything from this to create even cooler content in the future?
- Prep YouTube video: It’s a bit busier morning than usual because we have a new video going up at 9am. At this point, I perform the final checks to ensure that the video is ready to go live on time for both social media and the website.
- Submit a blog to International team: As community manager, I am sometimes asked to write blogs for various outlets across the globe. For today’s video release, I’ve written a short article for Sony’s European PlayStation blog. I use this time to review final edits, give it one last read, and then pass along to our European team.
- Check-in with mods: A team of diligent and friendly folks help us moderate our social channels to ensure that two-way communication is always available to our fans. Some of them work overseas to cover the channels during North American off hours, so I check-in during the shift change and exchange updates.
Hour 2: 8:00am – 9:00am
- Submit a new blog to Editing: I’ve just received approval on a proposed blog I’ve written, so now I submit it to the extremely talented Editing team for a final coat of polish. Remember this, writers: Hug your editors. They bring your best qualities forward and prevent your worst from ever seeing the light of day.
- Review upcoming merchandise calendar: New items are added to the BioWare store each week, and during the holiday season especially, it’s more important than ever to maintain an accurate snapshot of what’s coming and when to communicate it. This week is extremely active because Friday is N7 Day, and we’re debuting new products every day until then!
- Send a personal tweet: Since we’re releasing a new video, I like to tweet my followers on Twitter to give them a heads up. Because it’s my personal account, I can speak more casually, and do things like give spoiler warnings. I enjoy being able to interact with our community by exchanging memes, or just listening all about Cullen.
- Check-in with graphic designer: While reviewing our weekly content schedule, I create a list of custom assets needed for our social channels. This work is done by an amazing designer named Christie. Why is she so amazing, you ask? Because I am a terrible art director, and yet she still manages to create stellar pieces of work!
Hour 3: 9:00am – 10:00am
- Set video live: With all preparations complete, the time has come to set the video live on YouTube, and get the word out across our social channels. Right on schedule! Following that, I add the video to our ever-growing DAI playlist.
- Check fan messages: Now that the video is live, I have some free time to check all of our private messages on Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve ever wondered who replies to those, hello! Pleased to meet you. Remember, when you send feedback, keep in mind that it does get read by a real person that wants to listen, so as best you can, please be nice. We have feelings, too.
Hour 4: 10:00am – 11:00am
- Content review meeting – This is where team leads assemble and review the plan for the upcoming week together. Did we capture everything? Is everyone clear on the plan? Are there any new opportunities for our teams to explore together? The call wrapped ahead of schedule, so we took a few minutes to review the latest #AlexAtTarget memes. You know, for research purposes, of course. Side note: Turns out that whole #AlexAtTarget thing was a viral marketing campaign. Who knew?
- Review new screenshots – Our marketing team supplied a fresh batch of screens to use. I sift through them and look for ways to incorporate them into our social media content plan. What is the best way to use these? What kind of story can we tell with them? Which ones should be added to the website?
- Test new video file – Today we’re trying something new: adding custom DAI videos to Instagram. In particular, we’ve created a short clip showing off the Sword & Shield of the Dragon from the Flames of the Inquisition arsenal pack. The first attempt needs some additional optimization, which I communicate back to the video team and await an updated version.
- Finalize blog – The Editing team has returned the blog I submitted earlier this morning. Through tracked changes, I quickly review the recommended edits and update the text. As usual, the Editing team has worked their magic and made it better.
Hour 5: 11:00am – 12:00pm
- Instagram update – A new version of the Instagram test video has been received from the video team. Nailed it! I post it to Instagram and keep an eye on the reaction of our community.
- UGC review – BioWare fans create some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. No joke. We’re always on the lookout for things that we think our broader community would be interested in seeing as well. Today we came across an Inquisition rap song. Pretty amazing quality, even if rap music is not your thing.
Hour 6: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
- Lunch – Even during a busy time such as a title launch, it’s important to always take your breaks. Sitting in front of your computer all day is not healthy, and I’ve got bills from my massage therapist to prove it. Eating a sandwich while continuing to work is not good enough. The work will still be there when you get back. Stand up, stretch, go eat lunch, and relax for an hour. That’s what it’s there for.
Hour 7: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
- Odds and ends – Many of my co-workers have taken a later lunch today, so it’s relatively quiet right now. I use this time to review works-in-progress, and complete my portion before passing along to the next person.
Hour 8: 2:00pm – 3:00pm
- N7 Day meeting – Dragon Age: Inquisition may be coming, but we’ve still got N7 Day to prepare for before it gets here. The community team reviews the agenda for this year’s N7 Day festivities, and makes sure we’re all aligned on the same page.
- BioWare Austin meeting – Every two weeks, I meet with my counterparts at BioWare Austin to catch up, review upcoming plans, and talk shop. Eric, Courtney, and Tait are all awesome folks!
- Revisit direct messages – With all my meetings over for the day, I have some time to go back and check new messages from our social media channels. We receive over a hundred per day, so it’s important to check them as frequently as possible.
Hour 9: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
- Revise drafts of works-in-progress – Projects I’m working on have been sent back to me with suggested revisions. That’s one of the best parts about working as a team: everyone lends their talents to ensure that each project is representing the best quality we’re capable of.
- Award prizes for giveaways – We do a lot of contests and giveaways on our social channels, and each week I award prizes to the latest batch of winners. If that includes you, congratulations!
Hour 10: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
- Catching up – As the workday draws to a close, I use the last bit of daylight to catch up on any new business that has come up throughout the day. This typically includes smaller tasks such as sending screenshots to partners, answering emails, confirming details on upcoming initiatives, and general preparation for the next 24 hours.
So, there you have it. Just a typical Tuesday in the world of community management. I hope you’ve found it educational. Got questions for me? Leave them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.