Alex - What has been the most surprising thing in your community-building journey?
Oooo, good question. The first thing that came to mind: The number of different jobs that are all called "Community Managers".
Also, just how cross-functional being a community builder is. You have to work with literally every team from Marketing to Product to Legal and everyone in between. I don't think there's a single team I haven't worked with yet.
Heather - What's been the biggest shift for you being in a senior manager role vs. your more junior positions?
The biggest shift has been the type of work or thinking that I do on a daily basis. It changed from chatting with community members and working with them on a daily basis to thinking way more big picture about our roadmaps, 3-5 year plans, hiring, budgeting, etc. There really is just a lot more thinking involved (vs doing).
I still execute on some projects, usually new ideas that we want to MVP / prove value before we ask for headcount. It's still a little strange to me when my manager is like "This isn't a good use of your time. Let's think about hiring someone to do this so you can work on XYZ."
Another thing that I've been working on as a manager is how to best mentor my team and help them grow! I'm really responsive on Slack (to a fault sometimes) and I'm learning to step back and give my team the opportunity to shine and get more visibility. Also, trying to figure out how to best teach them and guide them without telling them exactly what to do.
Rachael - What has been the best teaching tool you've found? I think there's so many resources out there for starting community folks, it's tough to know where to send them.
It depends on what they need help with! One of my direct reports is actually going to attend C School in the upcoming cohort 😄
Outside of that, it's more how I explain certain concepts to them and why it's important that we do something. I try to take the time to walk them through their work: what they did well, where we can improve (and why), who the intended audience is, etc.
Kirsti - In a #ClubChat on our forum ages ago, you mentioned an engagement ritual where you talk about the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ of something. I’d love to know more about that!
Oh yeah! That's an idea one of our community members came up with. Once a month, there's a theme and then they discuss things that are dark in that theme and light in that theme.
So for example, they'll share a "dark book" or a "light song" and why. It's to help them get the creative juices flowing and share inspo as they're all artists!
Willa - What has been the most powerful thing that you've learned from the PicsArt community that you've been able to use to spark action / change at the company?
There was a period of time when Picsart was crashing a little too frequently and many of our creators were losing their work. Some of them got really, really frustrated and angry and threatened to leave Picsart and our community.
I shared their direct quote with our team, our CEO saw it and asked me to share it with the entire company. He followed up by emphasizing quality and app stability.
It really put our community and the value of our community's feedback on the map. We were asked to present at their weekly Prod & Eng leads meetings and continue to do so.
Somewhat related, but not directly tied to my role, I also chair the DEI taskforce at Picsart.
Our creators really care about diversity, equity & inclusion so it was very powerful to include their artwork promoting social causes and quotes directly from them to show why the company also had to care and build inclusive products.
Cole - I'd love to hear what your favorite engagement play is!
Honestly, I love AMAs like this! Especially when you can bring in decisions makers from your company.
It gives key stakeholders a better understanding of where our customers are coming from and they get a sense of what community work is like.
And it gives members an exclusive opportunity to talk to PMs, VPs, etc. so they feel special and they can learn a lot about where the company is going (and why, to a degree).
Jamie - What's your strategy for working with marketing/sales? How do you balance what you know is best for your community with what motivates the marketing & sales teams?
I try to find the overlap. We work the most closely with our social media team. They're always looking for creative, organic content to share on our social accounts and our community members love being featured.
Same with our blog! Our team is always looking for more content ideas, so we pitch content from the community. It's a win-win! Our members feel the love and our marketing team has less content to create.