#CMAD: How Cisco is Defining the Role of a Community Manager

January 28, 2013 - 2 Comments

Thanks to Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang, today marks the third anniversary of Community Manager Appreciation Day.  While there is not a lot of available data on the job outlook for a community manager, you only need to look at the job growth for a social media manager to know the trend is still on the incline. Community managers are the connectors between the community they cultivate and the brands they represent. They are creative individuals who push the envelope in how content and information is shared with their communities. They are analytical – sifting through a multitude of data and using a plethora of social tools to assess on an almost daily basis, how people are engaging with the brand.  They are strategic thinkers who translate often complex business and technology concepts into rich and engaging content that creates meaningful dialogue. At Cisco, they are all of these things and much, much more.

A HUGE thanks to our Community Managers at Cisco globally (approximately 150 total), for continuing to move the needle and advancing the role of community management.  I’ve talked to several of them recently to get their thoughts on what it means to be a community manager at Cisco and of course, their celebratory plans for Community Manager Appreciation Day.

What does it mean to be a community manager at Cisco?

  • Thinking strategically about how and where to effectively communicate our messages, collaborating with other community managers to combine brainpower and synchronize efforts, planning a cadence of social activities for the year, and responding appropriately to open questions and comments on our social channels.
  • Listening to customers to help inform our social media strategy and how we engage with them.
  • Developing, engaging and nurturing a community of people of all different backgrounds and demographics that share one common interest: Cisco.
  • Being extremely alert, organized, creative and engaged to meet the needs of a growing community of partners and customers opting into social networks to learn more about Cisco.
  • Connecting with Cisco fans and employees globally in real-time and 24/7.

How are you celebrating Community Manager Appreciation Day?

  • Go through some social metrics reports and analyzing the effectiveness of social media tactics and performance of the social channels. Hopefully, I’ll be sipping on a cup of Chai Latte while doing that to celebrate!
  • Thanking our community on Twitter and Facebook for giving me the best job ever!
  • Thanking our Cisco Corporate social communities for allowing me to have a role at Cisco that is ever-changing, exciting and challenging all at once.
  • Thanking our Cisco fans for their continual support positive engagement!


Check out our short list of community managers and the Cisco social channels they manage:

Laura Babbili, Collaboration Solutions Marketing


Cisco Collaboration Facebook Page

Ying Shen, Service Provider Marketing

@CiscoSP360, @CiscoSPVideo, @CiscoSPMobility, @CiscoVideo

Cisco SP360 Facebook Page

Cisco SP Blog


CiscoSP360 SlideShare, CiscoMobilityCommunity SlideShare

Didier Rombaut, Data Center Marketing

Data Center and Cloud  Blogs

Data Center and Cloud  Facebook

Data Center and Cloud  Twitter

Data Center and Cloud  Slideshare

Lindsay Kniffin, Global Corporate Communications

Cisco Facebook Page

@CiscoSystems Twitter 

Cisco LinkedIn Company Page

Kati Dahm, Global Corporate Communications

Cisco Google+

Cisco Instagram

Cisco Pinterest

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  1. Autumn, it seems that we tend to use the term “community manager” very loosely at Cisco, but then so does Jeremiah Owyang.

    Moreover, a lot of the real engagement and meaningful dialogue between Cisco employees and our stakeholders doesn’t happen on company-centric social channels.

    Maybe that’s why the “informal” representation of our brand is actually viewed as being more authentic and credible when it’s shared on a public channel — such as a topical telecom oriented peer-group within the LinkedIn site.

    Besides, I believe that in an industry as complex as ours, you really need substantive domain experience to be able to fully engage with your stakeholders on a broad cross-section of topics. That practitioner insight gives you the confidence to interact, rather than simple pushing out “approved” content.

    My point: I’m guessing you’ve touched on a small subset of the many ways that passionate Cisco employees manage and develop the interaction with their broad-based stakeholder groups online.

    • Dean – It depends on how you define “meaningful”. As you know, social media has changed the way we engage with our stakeholders. Social provides access and enables real-time feedback. So while some may view an in-person meeting as more meaningful, some of those connections may not be possible without the connections made on the social channels. If you look at it this way, community managers are creating those connections. If they don’t have the domain expertise, they are connecting stakeholders with those that do. And that is of course as you pointed out, part of the authenticity and credibility of extending our brand in social. 🙂