Posted April 12, 2011 1:07 am by with 6 comments

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(The following post was written by Jen Lopez of SEOmoz, the Marketing Pilgrim SEO Channel sponsor. If there was ever a discipline that was community oriented it’s SEO. Here’s how one of the top players in the industry handles it.)

As the Community Manager for SEOmoz, I see our community as a number of areas: Any interactions that take place with members on our own site, on Social Media sites (mainly Facebook and Twitter) and in-person. So when it comes to how to “manage” the community it’s not totally cut and dry. As most Community Managers do, I find myself putting on my Customer Service hat one second and my Marketing hat the next. It’s a role that changes almost constantly and I rarely finish tasks I set for myself the first day I set them, as the community always comes first.

But there has to be a method to my madness right? Well, as much as there can be, there is. There are certain tools that I use every single day, that help to keep me sane. Some of them help me to manage some of our Social Media efforts; others keep me informed on who’s talking about our brand (some do both ☺).

Let me jump right in and explain the tools I use, why I use them and how they help me manage the SEOmoz community. I’ve also tried to do this in a somewhat chronological order of what I use first, although I use all of these at various times throughout the day.

HootSuite for Android
This is how I kick my day off before I get into the office. I have several searches set up in HootSuite and as I ride the bus to work in the morning, I start to monitor Twitter for mentions, posts I want to read, in general just to keep up. Being in the Pacific time zone I’m already behind most of the rest of the world (or so it seems) so the quicker I can get myself “in the know” for the day, the better.

This is also where I start to favorite tweets that I’ll come back to later in the day when I want to catch up on great posts. Once I make it into work, my Google dashboard, is first on the list.

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Google Alerts + iGoogle Dashboard
My lovely Google Alerts! Once upon a time Marty Weintraub from Aimclear wrote this killer article “How to Build a Reputation Monitoring Dashboard” and although it was written a couple years ago, it’s still quite useful. This is how I initially got the idea for my own dashboard, which consists of a few Google Alert queries, my Google Reader list, a Twitter search and Google Translate. I use the last one often because our community is quite international so I often have to translate items.

This is the first thing I check every morning to see what’s going on. It’s not entirely comprehensive, but it shows me a great snapshot. Once I check out the dashboard and have made sure nothing is blowing up (usually figuratively ;)), I jump straight into Twitter.

When it comes to Twitter and managing our accounts, I think of it the same way I do my email inbox… my Twitter inbox if you will. What I love about CoTweet, is that it has functionality that is already intuitive to your email inbox, with the added bonus of letting other people see your same inbox.

My CoTweet Inbox

From this display I can assign a tweet to someone, translate it, email it, retweet, archive it or reply to the person. You can also see on the left I have my followers’ updates, my outbox, follow ups, lots of saved searches and lists. It’s like a one-stop-shop for Twitter! If you click on a specific user, it brings up their profile on the right of the page and you can see their conversations with you, other Tweets, bio and even their Klout score.

Finally, the search functionality in CoTweet is excellent. I set up a number of searches and check them throughout the day. For example the main search is for “seomoz -rt -via -“daily is out”” to give me the real tweets without retweets and extra stuff. This is a similar set up to my Google Alert Dashboard I talk more about below, but this is specific to Twitter.

When it comes to managing Facebook, there’s just something about being right on the Facebook page that makes me feel more connected. There are tools to manage Facebook like with CoTweet Enterprise (above is showing the free, standard version), mediafeedia (which I’ve tried out in the past) or HootSuite. I prefer to hand-post status updates and respond to comments directly on the page. This is a little boring and some of you may laugh at me for not using something more automated, but this is my preference.

I’d love to hear how you manage your Facebook page though! I’m always open to trying new things; I just haven’t found anything I love. Plus I’m a Facebook junkie so I’m always in there all day anyway. ☺

PostRank helps keep me up-to-date on what’s happening with our latest blog posts by showing traffic and engagement metrics for our content. It’s simple to hook up your RSS feed (or you can identify specific pages outside of the feed) and within minutes you’ll start seeing the number of tweets, comments, Delicious saves, trackbacks and many other social sites.

What I love about it is that it shows me visually what’s going on with a specific post. Obviously if I want to find out more information about tweets that are happening, or what’s going on in the comments, I’ll need to dig deeper outside of the tool. I also use this to report every week to our list of SEOmoz bloggers so they can see how their posts are doing compared to others.

Plus, as with any other marketing channel, social media has KPIs. Here at SEOmoz, PostRank helps me report our successes and challenges associated with my weekly and monthly KPIs. Hooray for reporting!

Backend Monitoring + Mozzer Power
Ok sure so all of tools above help to monitor the community and our brand outside of our website. But what about what happens on the blog, in YOUmoz, Q&A and anywhere else the community can have discussions? Well we have a number of ways to check for spammy comments, “thumb spam” [yes we have a problem with this now and then] and this sort of thing.

The greatest tools that we have working behind the scenes are the actual SEOmoz team and Associates. Sometimes there just isn’t a tool that can determine if a user is getting out of hand in Q&A or if a link is pertinent to the post at hand and people power is the best way to go.

It’s important to train others in your company/organization to help manage different aspects whenever it makes sense. All of our associates are trained on editing and deleting spam comments and I definitely rely on their help. When managing such a large community, it’s always better to ask for help than to get inundated. [I won’t go on and on too much here, as this topic alone is it’s own post ☺]

The Community!
Don’t forget that your community will help keep you up-to-date on what’s going on. I often get emails or Private Messages through our website letting me know about a spammy comment, or from someone who has a question about YOUmoz (our community driven blog). Just as I rely on our staff, I rely on the community just as much if not more!

As an example, there are often times when a new community member will leave a well thought out comment, but will also leave a link to their website (that has nothing to do with the comment). Since we go in and delete links that aren’t of value to the post at hand, other community members will reply to the author in the comment and let them know the rules. Sometimes the author will change their comment before an admin even gets a chance to. I love the power of community. ☺

Now this may seem like a fairly lame tool, but honestly I send a ton of emails every day. Whether it’s connecting with a community member who hasn’t been around lately sending a great tweet to the whole staff or emailing the marketing team about a controversial blog post, email is necessary.

These are the tools I use every day to manage the amazing and ever changing SEOmoz Community. I’d love to hear what tools you use and why!

Jen Lopez is the Community Manager at SEOmoz and a devotee of the fine arts of Twitter, Facebook and all things social media. She has a background in web development and will always be an SEO at heart. Follow her on Twitter @jennita.

The opinions expressed by the author of this post are their own and not necessarily those of Marketing Pilgrim.

  • Ben K.

    Why not TweetTwain, manages multiple accounts, works on Ubuntu.

    • Hi Ben, I’ve never tried TweetTwain, I’ll check it out. But I also don’t use Ubuntu. 😉 Thanks for the recommendation!

  • How come you don’t rely completely on the collabo features built-in with Hootsuite?

    I will check out PostRank, but I installed RSS Lounge as a web tool on our primary domain to get more control over feeds. Better labeling, priority scores (think high priority for “Official Sources” ie. Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) it’s easy to do everything with your own self-hosted RSS aggregator.

    Cotweet looks cool!

    Do you guys use anything more like a traditional Social CRM? I’d love to hear insights from you guys on those toolsets.

    • Hi Brent,
      I found that CoTweet just worked really well with our internal processes and the types of tweets that we get. I’ve used Hootsuite in the past and tried it out on our accounts but for our use, CoTweet flows easier.

      I’d love to check out RSS Lounge, I’ve never heard of it before! Thanks 🙂

      We’ve tried a few things but I always come back to these same tools. Like I mentioned with Facebook, I just feel more connected going in there directly and talking with people. As our brand grows though it will make more sense for me to start digging in more and testing out more of the Social CRMs.

  • thanks, nice blogpost!

    @ben k.: could you please tell me more about tweettwain? never heard about this.

    thanks & best regards

  • Love how our readers are interested in the way a market leader handles this important part of the marketing equation. Community management can make or break an organization in the age of the social web. Thanks to Jen for her insights!

    Please be sure to try out the 30 day free trial offered by SEOmoz to see why so many people depend on the community to learn the latest and greatest in the SEO world and beyond.