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Community Manager Spotlight: Jason Hill

Retired Community Manager

Many of you have seen @JasonHill around the community—after all, he was consistently one of our top contributors in 2015! Jason is currently the Community Manager at Bunnings. With his vast knowledge and experience, and with Community Manager Appreciation Day this week, we thought it would be a good idea to spotlight Jason. Keep reading to learn more about Jason’s experience, as well as his tips for community managers! 

 

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How did you become a community manager?

My background is newspaper journalism. After several years as a reporter, I spent over 10 years specialising in technology coverage. I became passionate about online community after starting a blog called Screen Play for one of our newspaper groups here in Australia. I soon realised that the audience were no longer just readers, they were active participants contributing a great deal to the daily conversation. I learned that people sharing their own unique insights and experiences and knowledge was far more powerful than a single so-called expert. And I got really excited when the Screen Play readers started establishing community rules and culture, organising meet-ups and building relationships with each other.

 

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To get more community management experience, I left newspapers and worked with the Victorian Government to establish an online community for people with a disability, which was a challenging and rewarding project. My first experience with the Lithium platform was with Australian software company MYOB, managing a very active support-based community. My team at MYOB managed some brilliant results, but I’m really excited now about my challenge of starting a new community from scratch.

 

What does your typical day look like?

I’m a hands-on style of community manager so a big part of my day is spent on Workshop. I spend time seeding discussions, participating in conversations, thanking users and encouraging them to continue to share their experiences. We’re still in the soft launch phase, so I’m also on other social networks reaching out to potential community founders and inviting them to Workshop. I use a social media listening tool to help identify people from Australia and New Zealand who are actively talking about subjects like home improvement, renovation, gardening and outdoor living. Other activities might include jumping on the Lithium Community to learn something new, working with our design and programming team to build new Workshop functionality, planning for our full launch, writing blogs or member profiles, and data analysis and reporting. I also spend some a little spare time each day on the Screen Play community, which I resurrected as a bit of a passion project.

 

What’s your favourite part of being a community manager?

I never fail to be impressed at the power of community—how everyone has unique experiences and insights that they can share. I’m often impressed at how generous people can be in sharing their time and knowledge. It’s very satisfying helping to facilitate that.

 

What resources do you turn to to grow as a community manager?

The Lithium Community is a fantastic resource that I turn to daily. I’m always learning from my colleagues here. Similarly, I participate in a lively Facebook group for Australian Community Managers that is a great source of information, advice and support. Many of the group attend the annual Swarm conference which I always find energising and educational. The recent Swarm included brilliant sessions by Lithium’s Joe Cothrel (@JoeC) and Square’s Head of Community Caty Kobe (@Caty). I encourage all community managers to check out FeverBee’s resources, which now include a public forum.

 

What are your top 3 tips for community managers?

 

  1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. There is almost always an endless list of tasks that you could be doing. Make sure you prioritise your time and decide what is truly important. Don’t fall into the trap of only doing things that seem urgent and neglecting the tasks that will truly have an important and lasting impact in helping to grow your community.

 

  1. Data is your friend. You need to always know the health of your community. The metrics you value most will obviously depend on your community’s goals, but most community managers will have to justify their community’s (and their own) existence with hard data. Know who your most important members are, including those who have the potential to be superusers, so you can build relationships with them, recognise them and reward them.

 

  1. Get your hands dirty! You are certainly not the star of the show, but you are an important member of the community. Yes, some community managers are too quick to jump into solution mode and answer questions on their communities. But I’m always surprised when I see a community manager who doesn’t post much at all on their site. Starting conversations, thanking users, inviting experts into discussions, asking follow-up questions, welcoming newbies, ensuring that questions get fully answered, and even just having some fun banter are all important. Model how you want other community members to act, help facilitate discussion and ensure that your community members feel valued.

 


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Jenn Chen is the Community Manager for Lithium, and is responsible for developing the community's strategy and content. She has held previous roles at Google and Intuit. You may also recognize her as jchen, where she was recognized as an All Star in 2014 and a Rockstar in 2015. Jenn is proud to hold three certifications from Lithium in Community Management I & II, as well as Social Response. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, eating, and reading.

 

Follow her on Twitter @jenntothechen

 

4 Comments
Trusted Contributor

Ah, @JasonHill, were you at Swarm?! I would have loved to have met you in person! If you're ever in SF, let me know. I'd love to have coffee and catch up! 😄

Honored Contributor

We did have a chat in one of the breaks on Day 2 at Swarm @Caty but you might have been a little too jetlagged to remember! I was with my former colleague @Suja at the time. Hoping to get to San Francisco this year for LiNC and would love to take you up on your offer. Cat Very Happy

Honored Contributor

Jason! Great story. I hope to meet you this year at LinC! Love your tips!!

Honored Contributor

Great read thanks for sharing!!