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Social Media Club of Chicago Redefines Community Management

Colleen Patterson

Last Monday, the Walker Sands Social Media Team headed to Rockit Bar & Grill for a Social Media Club mixer sponsored by Sprout Social.  The focus of the event was community management in honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day.

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SMC Chicago brought in a panel of community managers from different backgrounds to discuss their work and field questions. In that regard, I think the panel did a great job describing their personal passions within the social media arena. There was no real discussion of job function, nor any mention of career advice.  At the end of the night each panelist offered up his or her predictions for the future of the industry, but the conversation primarily revolved around testimony: how each guest had entered the field of social media and found their vocation.

John Armstrong, a senior community manager for Astek initiated the digression because he doesn’t consider himself a community manager. He’s a strategist who facilities community building. His love of social media stems from analytics. He loves quantification and monetization. He said it fuels his competitive drive.  His end game is sales. That’s why he loves social media.

Annie Elzey is Senior Account Supervisor with Edelman Digital with a background in public relations.  She’s found social media to be the best means of parlaying her “passion for connecting” into a career.  She even referred to her ROI as the emotional payoff she gets from becoming personally invested in her clients and their audiences.

Sami Ari, a social media manager for BCV came into the business from a consulting angle. He would go to events and envision ways to “make them better.”

Piper Beckwith-Collins , a digital manager for GolinHarris also considers herself as an analytics geek who loves the challenge of producing content.

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Each panelist had their own motives and interests along with a unique means of leveraging social media to meet those ends. If anything, I learned that social media is an incredibly flexible and expansive tool and the possibilities surrounding its use appeal to the creative and passionate.