Have you ever thought about who responds to your messages in crypto or ICO chat rooms? All the correspondence in the network is handled by community managers. We asked industry professional Andrew Gurar of Karma about how specialists build their working day, cope with the negativity of users, and how much they earn.
Before we start the conversation, let's define the concept. Who is a community manager?
A community manager is a multipurpose fighter without a clear functional role, who can talk, and understands communication techniques. This person wants to develop in any area. It is desirable to have PR skills and social media marketing knowledge and know how to correctly place and issue publications. In addition, the community manager is the judge of the crypto industry who can resolve any disputes and questions.
So the community managers of blockchain startups are no different than the community managers of classical projects?
In fact, yes. There is a lot in common between the functional roles of these managers, except a startup in the field of blockchain is a double startup in the very blockchain industry and the project itself. The industry is so vibrant that something new is happening every day. Therefore, all employees need exposure and adaptability to change.
Can one do without a community manager?
If the crypto project does not have community management teams, the essence and idea of the company will need to be explained by the founders themselves, and this takes up their time from more important tasks.
What qualities should a professional community manager have?
They should have all the qualities that store sales consultants have. A good consultant in a store can talk about the choice of a particular product and, like a good psychologist, can also ask about your business and discuss the weather and other trivialities. A community manager should also be able to communicate on third-party topics and at the same time should understand the crypto industry and specialization of the project. For example, finance, cars, and medicine.
Are there enough specialists like this on the market?
There are not enough good ones; good ones are always in high demand. There are not enough broad area specialists. In general, all community managers can be divided into two groups: either they are very expensive, or they are very stupid.
How can one become an expert?
It is enough to start small by understanding cryptocurrency topics, understanding what a blockchain is, where this technology is being applied, how the ICO process works. Then you need to come to the employer and prove how useful you are to the project. You will be given a chance to converse in chat rooms, perhaps on a voluntary basis, to demonstrate your skillset, and after that, you will be heard and taken on as a member of the team.
You mentioned very expensive community managers. How much do these specialists earn?
This is a tricky question, not in terms of numbers, but in view of the fact that everyone earns differently depending on the project they work for. Plus, when discussing the issue of wages, you need to take into account the country in which the company is located. In India, for example, the fee will be small, but in the US, it will be more than decent. A novice specialist earns from $100 a month, and a professional with experience and their own customer base can receive on par with any developer. There is no salary ceiling.
How should the work schedule be arranged?
Everything depends on the policy that is adopted by the project. Some companies have very broad coverage with a massive audience around the world comprised of users from many different time zones. In such projects, the community manager should communicate with the audience and answer questions 24/7.
What is the standard working day for a community manager?
If we consider a community manager who should answer questions from users and popularize projects on various channels or conferences, then their day looks quite simple as they come to the office, complete their nine-hour shift, and leave like many employees in the labor system. You can also work remotely in the same position. This is convenient for the employer and the manager himself. By this principle, a person can work not nine hours, but 12 hours, and in parallel do their household chores.
What social networks do you recommend projects to use for communicating with audiences?
Many developers use Telegram. You can maintain a channel within the framework of this messenger and organize chat rooms for correspondence. There is Bitcointalk, a forum where all your records are visible. It does not have fast means of communication, but people write big posts explaining the reasons or narrow issues of the project. Facebook, as a rule, is used for personal correspondence between a community manager and an individual user with a specific problem. On Twitter, it is possible to enter into a mini correspondence with influential people of the industry, and view users' opinions. Therefore, I advise you to have channels on all these sites.
To date, many projects have several chats on different topics. How does a topic evolve into an independent group?
Usually, it happens this way. First, one chat is created in all languages, where people speak English. Once there is a large influx of users, the managers will analyze the needs of the audience and allocate separate chats for the predominant linguistic groups. For example, people start talking constantly about speculation in the general chat, discussing the volatility of the tokens. Stormy discussions lead to the cluttering of the chat, so separate rooms are created for such topics, and the people interested in these topics are redirected there. As a result, we receive several channels of correspondence from one project for the various needs of the community.
Often, heated discussions turn into insults. How do you deal with the negativity coming from users?
The volatility of the crypto market can negatively affect the emotional state of traders. If a person writes angry or lewd statements, then he should be politely calmed down and you should find out what exactly his discontent is connected with. If the user behaves inadequately, spits obscenities, spams every three seconds, then, in that case, you can use the "ban" button and temporarily take the person out of the public chat. Every person and case needs an individual approach.
But there are a lot of users, and the community manager is alone. . .
This is not so, he is not alone. There is the main community manager that we call the head of the department, and there are subordinate line specialists who are part of the department. Four such employees can simultaneously work in a chat room with 40 to 50 thousand users. Every employee has his own role. One answers questions, the second looks for spam, the third corresponds with users and solves their problems, the fourth takes care of the channel's progress. Therefore, there are four specialists in one working unit for one shift, for one ethnos. Let's say that four community managers work with Chinese users, four for an English speaking group, and four for a Russian speaking one. Management, focusing on the flow of users, creates chats that are necessary for their project. And then, either the managers themselves or their tasks change depending on the flow of users.
Can you tell us how you battled negative feedback on a concrete example?
I have two interesting examples. One day, a user sent money to the project during the ICO, and his payment provider, the intermediary, who had to transfer the amount to the project, performed the transaction with a zero outcome. The man cursed for a long time, asked why we were so bad, why we stole his money, and demanded a refund. For about two weeks in broken Portuguese/English, we all tried to find the problem that was the provider. We reached a point of fraternal explanations when I said "My friend, here's the link to the blockchain, here's your transaction, it says zero, and this is a problem in the payment service that you used. Write to their support service, because they did not send the money." In the end, his contribution was sent to another ICO round. We tossed bonus tokens in as a consolation because the zero transaction case was unique. After all was said and one, the man said thank you for having sorted things out and that we are not scammers.
The second story is related to a public chat with a large number of people. It was amusing to watch the flow of angry messages after the crypto kittens spammed the ether network, and people began to have big problems with transactions. To avoid panic, we had to write and attach large messages in the chat with a message "Dear all, do not worry, the problem is general, the whole ether network is down, wait a couple of days, everything will soon be back to normal." That is, community managers, including me, repeated the same thing to every person. It was the only way to calm everyone down. Without these monotonous explanatory messages, people were very angry and thought that the problems were in the project itself.
What are the indicators for assessing the effectiveness of a community manager?
It is difficult to evaluate only one employee. If you represent one person and the conversion in the form subscribers, then each community manager needs to be assigned a UTM tag, a unique link, by which you can understand that this person has attracted a subscriber, and each follower will need to be assigned an ID. The tools available on Facebook or Twitter do not provide such analysis opportunities. Therefore, the users either signed up, and the community department has done a good job, or not, and in this case, it is necessary to change the method of work and move on.
Do you think the blocking of Telegram in Russia will affect the popularity of this network?
We are in a situation like in China, where the firewall is blocking Telegram. The Chinese find ways to bypass it using the VPN. Russian ordinary Telegram users now feel uncomfortable, as they will have to return to the times of Jabber and ICQ.
It is much easier for community managers to administer Telegram than WhatsApp or WeChat, where there can only be one administrator with very limited functions. For example, you cannot delete a message there.
What alternatives to Telegram do you see for the crypto community?
There are plenty of alternatives to instant messengers. There’s Jabber, and Discord is a popular chat in the West for ICOs, where you can parallelize all the topics on the channels. I think that all ICOs will switch to this format of communication. People are reluctant, but they will get used to it. There will also be some kind of underground chatting in Telegram via VPN or Proxy; it’s just that it will not be very convenient to enter chats from phones.
The blocking of Telegram will affect the crypto market. People will need to spend more time and effort to reach the information, so they will have to adapt. But, on the other hand, there will be fewer scammers in chats, because in Discord there are no bots that can steal your money at the moment.
How do you see the future of the entire crypto industry? Are there any prospects?
Of course there are. Bitcoin will change and evolve based on legislative norms and technological factors. While the whole industry is imperfect, there are loopholes that hackers use to steal coins. But, if everything is done right by making friends with regulators and taking into account the wishes of the interested parties, everything will be fine.