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A Day in the Life of a Community Manager

by Trish Fontanilla, Community Manager at Vsnap

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(this guy lives on Social Fresh’s 2012 Community Manager Report)


In 2010, Jeremiah Owyang decided that every fourth Monday in January, should be Community Manager Appreciation Day. A day to recognize community managers and how they’re shaping the customer experience. But what is a community manager? For me, CMs are company evangelists. They’re not sales or marketing, but it can definitely be an offshoot because they believe in their company’s mission so much and that draws people in. They’re helpful and do some troubleshooting with the community, but if you’re a big enough company they’re not solely customer support. This is actually a big misconception I’ve seen in the industry and has led to a lot of CM dropoff. They’re good at social IF that’s where their community is (CM does not always equal social media manager). They are good with content though, from writing to filming to tweeting. They’re incredible multi-taskers. And they’re advocates for the community internally and for the company externally.

So what does a day in their life look like?

Depending on where a community is based, a CM will probably wake up pretty early to check email, customer inquiries, and social. Listening is paramount. I am lucky enough to be able to work at home some mornings, so there’s no rush to hurry up and get to the office. The morning can be any combination of…

  • Prioritizing my day. What are the “need to dos”? What are the “well it’s nice if I did this”? As a CM you usually try to knock out your whole to do list. Making the customer experience extraordinary is an all the time thing.
  • Checking out the site report data and passing a mini version along to Dave, our CEO. I also do this for our Google Analytics. This is far more important than number of followers or fans.
  • Listing out the people I want to vsnap and sending. I actually do live off the “11 Ways I Use Vsnap” post. Oh and something I started doing after I wrote that, was piece together a monthly timeline using Dipity to show highs and lows in engagement, along with milestones. Then I attach that once a month to my weekly update to the team.
  • Skimming through Google alerts to see what folks are saying and what’s going on in the different spaces we’re in. I also look at daily analytics from SumAll, brand mentions on a few different apps and social. A lot of our community is on Twitter and I rely heavily on HootSuite, but as a backup I have 3 other Twitter apps on my phone. One is for my personal account only, just to avoid any accidental company tweets.
  • Reading the headlines for industry papers through either Flipboard or newsletters. I’ll also read a few blogs from folks like Mark Suster or Fred Wilson. I like hearing the investor perspective along with all the other stuff I read like The Community Manager, My Community Manager, The Community Roundtable and the Shareaholic Blog, to name a few.
  • Having a quick chat with Dave or Joe (our Business Evangelist) about any pressing issues


I usually go out for lunch so I can get some air or read a book (right now it’s Satisfaction: How Every Great Company Listens to the Voice of the Customer). A couple times a week I’ll try and meet up with someone from the Boston tech/startup community or a friend.

When I get back it’s usually…

  • Writing up content for the blog.
  • Finding content to share with our community.
  • Listening. This is an all the time thing, but important to point out. So if someone in the community is having a bad day, I send them a musical or funny vsnap. If someone’s tweeting about their birthday/anniversary/promotion, I usually send them something too. It’s important for our community to know we’re paying attention and want to grow with them.
  • Team (product/community/events/etc) or external meetings.
  • Finishing up anything I didn’t get to in the morning.


The afternoon is also when I check out my personal social accounts - Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. My brain needs a breather and maintaining personal relationships are super important to me. I also believe the best community managers, are ones that are evangelists or super users in communities other than their own.

Most weeknights I try to go to events, either to demo or get in some networking/learning/community-ing. And if I’m not at an event, I’m checking out different social calendars and Eventbrite. I still monitor email, social, and alerts throughout the evening. Social never sleeps, so sometimes CMs have wonky sleep schedules.

Again, days vary and as any other startupper, I juggle a few other hats too. It is important to try to have some work/life balance. It’ll never be 50/50, but that’s okay. For me, I like to have some goal oriented activities. I’m training for a triathlon and like to volunteer. I also take time out of the workday to mentor for Technovation Challenge a few months out of the year.

So for the non-CMs out there, I hope you take a minute to thank your community managers. Also, think about those folks that act as community managers but may not have the title. Send a note, chocolates, a vsnap, or a big ol THANK YOU (caps and all). I’m absolutely positive, it will mean the world to them.

Filed under cmad cmgr community manager trish blogs vsnap video message

  1. crystalsocialmedia reblogged this from vsnap and added:
    Love this daily snapshot from Trish. Community Managers are the unsung heros of the internet.
  2. vsnap posted this