Meet Shira Levine, U.S. community maven who now calls Australia home.
Shira is new to the Australian community management scene, having moved here recently from the U.S. Stateside, she’s been a community stalwart, working in senior roles for over 15 years. Shira has plenty of stories and insights to share after spearheading community at eBay, Zynga, Sephora and more. We pinned her down for a quick chat before the Swarm gathers this August.
Are you seeing differences between the community space in Australia versus the States?
No and yes. No because the desire to connect with customers and have them connect with each other is universal and cuts across all businesses, all time zones, and in all verticals.
Yes because many Australian companies are in growth mode. They’re focused on acquisition without building the infrastructure, data mapping, and support to guarantee retention of the customers they’re acquiring.
I’m here to help Australian companies think post-acquisition community programs through.
What’s your favourite community right now and why?
I’m currently obsessed with a few Facebook Groups. I regularly check in with “Americans in Melbourne,” for obvious reasons.
The number one topic that comes up, again and again, is where to find decent Mexican food. I personally could chat about this all day.
The other community I follow closely is based on a beauty podcast called Forever35. I’ve always loved how communities galvanise around content.
Podcasts are enjoying a moment in the spotlight as specialty content, meaning whatever you’re into, you can find a podcast about it, and then join a community about the podcast uniting people like you online.
Forever35 is aimed at women over 35 and the discussions in the Facebook group are honest and naked, supportive and helpful.
My third favorite is called Furniture Junk’n International, and it’s a community of primarily Australian women in Queensland who refurbish old furniture with chalk paint and sell it for crazy profits. I’m blown away by the creativity in this group.
What do you consider the most exciting thing about the community management space today?
I think we’re entering the Community 3.0 era. If you believe 1.0 was chat rooms and forums on desktop, and 2.0 is social media and smartphone, then 3.0 is a big question — where do we go from here?
I feel very lucky to have been a pioneer during 1.0 and 2.0, and I’m thrilled to shape 3.0 with the attendees at SWARM. It is ours for the defining. Let’s decide and define its capabilities and then bring the gospel to our work.
My ultimate goal is that the Community function in any organisation becomes a C level role: I look forward to the day when Chief Community Officer (CCO) is a title.
And the biggest challenge?
Online community management as a profession is still in its early stages.
Our challenge is to stake a claim, manage and teach organisations the impact of engaging customers, in a way that’s good for them and good for the company.
In my talk at SWARM, we’ll discuss the five ways in which everyone can show up as Chief Community Officer– to win over organisations to the magic of online community.
What’s the most common mistake you see community managers make?
Results. Not tying their work to a widely accepted data result within the company.
Deriving an ROI is necessary to have a seat at the table. If you cannot prove or even approximate an ROI, rethink whether it should be done.
What are you reading/watching/listening to right now that all community professionals should read/watch/listen to?
I am struck by how every living creature seeks community. Even trees in forests “talk” to each other through their roots, according to this article in The New York Times.
When I learn facts such as these, I feel a great sense of purpose and satisfaction. This fundamental desire for connection at the DNA level reinforces the work we do is very basic, necessary, and innate. It’s powerful stuff, and it helps explain what we do when asked at parties and family gatherings.
Why should community peeps come to Swarm?
Just like every other living creature, community people need community! Come meet me and your future community besties at SWARM.