Interview With a MoGi Community Manager
Over the last number of years, we’ve noticed a huge increase in the popularity of community management, along with a major spike in the demand for it. Despite this, we still get the same question all the time: ‘what is community management anyway?’. A reasonable question.
In relative terms, community management is still a very new field, and though its one we’re constantly striving to contribute to and pioneer in, we’re very aware that the nature of it might still be unclear to some. In order to give you a better idea of just how it works, we caught up with one of our top community managers, Linda Clery. Here’s what she had to say…
How would you describe an average day in community management?
Fast-paced but energising. I know it sounds like a cliché, but we work on a pretty huge portfolio of projects so really no two days are ever the same around here. But a typical day? That could range to anything from project management, monitoring social media platforms or creating analysis reports on growth and community sentiment trends to creating editorial calendars, liaising with community ambassadors, or really just assisting players with whatever issue might be important to them that day. My motto is “brace yourself”, because with a community you never know what you might be doing that day!
Have you always wanted to work in the video games industry?
Absolutely. From a very young age I’ve always been crazy about gaming and the games industry, so it was always clear to me that I wanted to be part of that in any way I could. As a person who has always been part of gaming communities myself, community management is something that comes very naturally to me. Being a community manager really brings out my creative side, whether its writing editorials or interacting one-to-one with players. I adore helping people and I’m very passionate about gaming, so it’s a perfect fit for me.
Why is good community management so important for video games?
Community management at its best is a symbiotic exchange. Online communities are more popular now than ever before – especially in the gaming industry. Community management bridges the gap between developers and players. It brings them together in a digital space and allows very real exchanges.
It’s important because it combines the passion developers put into designing a game with the passion players feel when playing it. Good community management allows players to express themselves and creates a space where they feel comfortable doing so in an online environment. This, of course, has the added bonus of making them far more likely to positively receive messages a developer might wish to deliver. It all comes down to three core things: listening, engaging, and facilitating a safe space to grow and create.
What qualities or skills does a person need to be a community manager?
In the most basic sense, every community manager needs excellent communication skills and a good grasp of social media. Beyond that, and maybe more important, is empathy, patience, and tact. It also doesn’t hurt to have a good sense of humour. Sometimes a well-timed joke is exactly what is called for in a tricky situation! Creativity is important too, it can be a lot of fun developing a ‘voice’ for each unique project and how that asserts itself with players. Other times, the most important quality can be a thick skin. It’s often the case that some players don’t realise how cutting they might sound in trying to communicate their frustrations, it’s important to be able to disassociate these kinds of comments.
What do developers stand to lose by not engaging in an active social strategy?
Players who are enthusiastic about games join online communities because they ‘re interested in the game and everything that comes with it. A large amount of the world and the mythos of a game come from what the players themselves put into it.
If developers don’t interact using a solid social strategy, they could well be losing out on the chance to interact with their core audience and create a really valuable feedback structure. Engaged players play for longer and tell more people about their positive experiences, community management facilitates that.
How important is it that your team get to know the games they’re working on ?
Extremely important. Getting to know, and in a way bond with, the game you’re working on really allows you to develop the game’s social voice. We always encourage people on the team to spend time playing each game to understand what players mean when we interact with them. As I mentioned before, empathy is important, and understanding is the key to that. You have to understand the game to understand the player. It also helps in creating editorial content, allowing more creativity in grounding interactions in the world of the game.
What are the biggest challenges that community mangers face?
A lack of resources can sometimes be a big challenge. Without proper resources it can be difficult to create content, generate ideas, or answer player questions effectively. Sometimes challenges can be more organic, for example an update is released that not every player is happy with – finding the silver lining and best approaches to situations like this can be tough.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I love working on so many exciting projects. I come into the office with a smile on my face every morning. The idea of working on games that I enjoy, with people that I love working with, helping players enjoy their gaming experience is a very rewarding one for me. We’re constantly trying out new ways to improve the work we do here, to make things more efficient for ourselves and the client, which means that I’m constantly learning new things. I suppose my favourite thing about the job is that I get to do it.
How do you see community management growing in the future?
My feeling is that as social media platforms grow and develop, community management will grow and develop alongside them. As new paths and platforms appear, new techniques and practices will emerge from them. It’s our job in a way to constantly keep on top of these trends and try and initiate these new changes, rather than just reacting to and embracing them. Changes can always be positive and can allow us as community managers to do more to interact and engage with players and bring information to them in new and exciting ways.