Jen Lopez will be speaking on Community Management at the Engage Conference, which will take place March 9, 2017 in Portland. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please click here.
Jen-Lopez - SEMpdx Engage 2017 Speaker

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
My background feels a bit backwards compared to many Marketing and Community professionals I work with. While I have a degree in Journalism, I became a web developer when I got out of college. I was always this developer who could talk to clients, give presentations, write blog posts, etc. I was active in IRC, was also the one organizing lunches, meet ups, etc. I moved into Lead and Management positions quickly because I was good at the people side of things.

When a huge SEO project dropped in my lap in 2006(ish?), I had this “aha” moment. I realized SEO was a combination of my technical and writing skills. I began to learn SEO with fervor, and take on side projects and clients in addition to the in-house work I was doing. Then in 2009, I got a job with, then SEOmoz, as an SEO consultant. Within only a few months of starting at Moz, we decided to stop doing consulting and focus on our tools.

At that point, I began focusing on building and growing the Moz Community. We started bi-weekly webinars, I ran the main blog and YouMoz, grew the social channels, started worldwide meet ups, and on and on. I built an incredible team that grew the community to over 600,000 marketers. The community is Moz’s most important asset, and I’ll always be proud of what we did as a team.

Currently, I’m the Director, Global Communities at Welocalize, a professional translation and localization service company. I manage a team of 10 folks in the EMEA and APAC regions. We focus on recruitment and management of freelance translators and linguists around the world. It’s an amazing combination of my past experience, with the ability to learn and grow in a new industry.

2) How did “leading” a prominent community of ex-Moz employees color your view of community management?

When Moz laid off ~60 people in August 2016, within just a couple days, a group of us had met up at a coffee shop to work on our resumes, collaborate, and commiserate. By then, we also had a Facebook group and Slack team set up. Normally when a large layoff happens, everyone sort of puts their heads down and goes their separate ways. But the thing Moz is great at is hiring amazing people. At this point, the group had banded together and formed a community, without even completely realizing it.

One of the product managers at Moz had started a google spreadsheet of open positions that people had started sending as soon as they heard about the layoffs. But as we, “The 28%” we coined ourselves, were helping each other with updating LinkedIn, reading resumes, sending jobs around, making introductions, etc. I realized what we were missing was a way to show off who we are.

I spent the weekend after the layoff creating, a site to promote the group that had been laid off. Having a spreadsheet of jobs was great, but possible employers kept asking who was laid off. I set up the site so any ex-Mozzer could create a profile and promote themselves. We had several industry blog posts written about the site, we were in a couple local Seattle articles, and even made it onto the local TV news! We’ve recently changed the site to allow other folks looking for jobs to promote themselves as well.

People on the site were getting contacted daily, and after a couple weeks we added the ability to post jobs to the site (which auto-posts the job to the #jobs channel in Slack). We began writing on the blog, and soon enough created a section called “Hired!” which showed off the folks as they got hired.

This experience solidified my love for community building, and the importance of community. Getting laid off is a horrible experience, but being a part of that community helped so many of us to get through it. I’m proud to have helped people find jobs, make connections, and generally “lead” that community. And thanks to this wonderful group, I’m now more bullish than ever on value of communities.

3) How can you optimally engage “haters” of your brand?

I love this question. People get really nervous and stressed when “haters” start talking about your brand on social or in the community in some way. But I always found it interesting, and a bit of a personal challenge, to see if we could change people’s minds. This isn’t always the case, but this is how I look at engaging “haters”:

Having people dislike your brand/product/service, is often a
sign that you’re succeeding. It will be a part of managing your community and brand, so prepare for it before it happens. Put in place escalation processes, voice guidelines, and such which will equip the people managing your brand on the front lines.

At best, remember the “haters” are just people, and they’re still a part of the community. Sometimes the best way to engage is to talk to them as a person at the company instead of as the company. If Jen from Welocalize replies to my complaint, it goes a lot further than if “random person behind the Welocalize brand” replies to my complaint.

If someone has a valid complaint/issue, but is doing it in a rude way, they’re not a hater. They likely have a good reason to be upset, and that’s when you should attempt to look past the rudeness, and focus on the complaint. Respond directly and honestly, put them in contact with the right person, if it’s not you, to help. Essentially, remember they’re human and show them you’re human too.

When a person is vulgar, whether it’s cursing, harassment, etc. I believe it’s best to ignore them. If someone has gotten to this point, any response you give will just be fuel to the fire. Sometimes you do need to respond at minimum to point them to your community guidelines and ask them to be professional to get a response. You have to put yourself and your teammates first, because people don’t deserve to be cussed at or harassed.

To round this out, haters are human and part of the community, and have guidelines in place to help you engage properly.

Todd Mintz
Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He is the SEM Consigliere for 3Q Digital and is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association, and he can be found here on Twitter and Facebook.
Todd Mintz

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