Amber Naslund is like the post-modern, social media version of that girl in high school that everyone loved. The geeks. the stoners. The jocks. The auto-shop dudes. The home economics apron-wearers. The goths. The teachers. Social media is about people and connections, and like Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk, Amber’s passion for people shines through in everything she does, and folks gravitate toward her accordingly.
She’s now putting that human touch to work as Director of Community for Radian6, an outstanding social media software company that practices what it preaches.
Here are Amber’s thoughts (many of which are of the “wow, I’m taping that to my desk” variety) on social media, customer-centrism, community management, and loving the peeps. She was interviewed live on Twitter on May 21, 2009. (#twt20)
- @ambercadabra: I try and stay ruthlessly organized, and I keep my eye on the proverbial ball. It’s about my clients and customers first.
- I also have a bit of a system of tools I use when online. That helps. Posted about it a while back.
2. @jaybaer: Speaking of customers, you moved from consulting life to a serious job with @radian6 (director of community). Why?
- @ambercadabra: I loved the idea of being able to do and drive social media from the inside, out. Put my money where my mouth was.
- And I loved working with them when I was independent, so it was a really natural transition. They’re an awesome bunch.
3. @jaybaer: Does your social capital help @radian6, or the other way around? Or both? Are you the @scottmonty of software?
- @ambercadabra: It’s absolutely symbiotic. Social capital is driven by doing good work. Period. You can’t fake that for long.
4. @jaybaer: Community management is a burgeoning job category. What makes a good community manager?
- @ambercadabra: Being flexible, passionate, and above all being a bridge-builder between people and organizations, always.
- It’s a combination of communications, biz development, cust. service, and the willingness to be what your community needs.
5. @jaybaer: Lots of talk about social media metrics. How do you gauge effectiveness of a community manager/community strategy?
- @ambercadabra: The level of engagement I have with people, either in person or online. It’s more qualitative than quantitative.
6. @jaybaer: Interesting re: biz dev role for community managers. Doesn’t that soil the customer-centric nature of it a bit?
- @ambercadabra: Heck no it doesn’t. Good biz dev is about solving problems for ppl, and connecting with them before they need you.
- Biz dev isn’t about the transaction. It IS about the community and finding ways to meet their needs.
7. @jaybaer: Is social media morphing into customer experience? Is the focus on “marketing” and monetization misplaced?
- @ambercadabra: Partly. Social media is about positively impacting the likelihood of sales for many reasons. Not necessarily being the sales channel.
- Nothing wrong with making money, but SM is about better communication. That’s a driver for better biz altogether.
8. @jaybaer: How do you see @radian6 and other listening tools fitting into the social media big picture?
- @ambercadabra: I see listening as the foundation for SM. It informs everything, from strategy to tactics. Biz intel at its best.
9. @jaybaer: Advice for smaller biz that want to be involved in SM, but when they listen don’t hear much chatter? (h/t @emailman)
- @ambercadabra: Start participating. Find conversations bigger than your brand: about your industry or field, and contribute. Share knowledge.
10. @jaybaer: Because it involves marketing, Ops, customer service, etc. can social media cut through organizational clutter?
- @ambercadabra: Absolutely. I think in order for orgs to embrace it successfully, it has to. SM is as much about culture as operations.
11. @jaybaer: What’s the biggest shortcoming with social media listening tools now? What needs to improve to drive wide adoption?
- @ambercadabra: We need to keep helping orgs integrate listening across the enterprise and enable them to more easily act on what they find.
- Having the info is step 1, but streamlining and empowering the engagement piece in many areas is critical.
12. @jaybaer: What do you see as the PR/ad/digital agency’s role in listening and social media?
- @ambercadabra: ranslating intelligence into strategy and action. Being a guidepost and putting execution in the hands of the company.
13. @jaybaer: You are (rightfully) beloved on Twitter like Julia Roberts or Martha Washington. How do U feel about the ++ growth?
- @ambercadabra: HA! I think it’s great. It’s opt-in. Build your own experience, however it works for you, and the hell with the rest.
14. @jaybaer: Since it transcends marketing, will there be a point when it’s not “social media” it’s just the way companies operate?
- @ambercadabra: Yep. For some, it already is. The label is misleading sometimes. Again, it’s about a culture. Not a marketing “channel”.
15. @jaybaer: You started your career as a fundraiser. How is social media transforming causes and giving?
- @ambercadabra: Fundraising has always been about community building. Now, causes travel faster and farther than ever thanks to the Web.
- And it’s uniting causes and encouraging collaboration more than ever. Helpful for those nonprofit budgets, too.
16. @jaybaer: How did you jump from fundraising, to marketing, to social media? Your advice for people wanting to get involved?
- @ambercadabra: Accidentally. My advice? Work hard, learn all you can, and never miss the chance to connect with someone new.
- We underestimate the amount of work social media takes. It’s not easy. It takes dedication and focus like anything else.
17. @jaybaer: You seemingly have a great job. But it can’t all be perfect. What’s the toughest part of your gig? Canadians?
- @ambercadabra: Um, @davidalston? (I kid). Definitely scaling the work. It can be demanding to be “on” all the time, and find balance.
- But I *do* have a great job. This is the role in business I’ve been looking for, with an awesome company.
18. @jaybaer: Your blog is consistently incredible. Advice for how can people stand out in a sea of content?
- @ambercadabra: Write about what you know and are passionate about. Give it away, relentlessly. And never think you have nothing to say.
19. @jaybaer: You’ve written about “just now coming into your own.” Why do you feel that? Job change, or the daily flux of social media?
- @ambercadabra: A combination of personal and professional transition. And finding the confidence to go after what I’m passionate about.
20. @jaybaer: Certainly, social media has been a boon for you professionally. What have you gained from it personally?
- @ambercadabra: My friends are no longer dictated by geography and circumstance. I meet amazing people daily that truly impact my life.
- Oh, and I’m free to be every bit the nerd that I am. And people think that’s okay.
What’s your one takeaway from Amber’s terrific advice? For me, it’s “Social media is about positively impacting the likelihood of sales for many reasons. Not necessarily being the sales channel.” – but it’s close. How about you?