Cisco Blogs

Community Manager: Digital Maven

February 17, 2015 - 27 Comments

The expectations on the modern marketer are ever-increasing. 

The list of skills required includes the classics:

  • market research
  • creative writing
  • attractive branding
  • engaging event management
  • seamless customer support

Add these relatively newer skills:

  • crisp digital photography
  • smooth video
  • webpage coding
  • real-time social media listening
  • business analytics
Community Manager Appreciation Day

Cisco Community Managers sharing selfies on Community Manager Appreciation Day. #CMADselfie

The community managers behind the brands you continue to support are able to do all of the above.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be happy with the brand.  Branding is all about making you happy.


Evolution of the Digital Strategist

During my decade at Cisco, I’ve moved from database email marketing, to content development for worldwide sales, and back to marketing to help sell socially.  Many of my fellow community managers have made similar transitions. When recruiters say that they are looking for someone who can “wear many hats”, they mean it.

Our role as stewards of the brand is to try to anticipate what our audience wants, and to move quickly to resolve issues as they arise.  For those of us who publish anonymously in support of a brand, Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD) was a celebration of the teamwork that happens in the background.   We love our jobs, and find new ways to innovate and celebrate daily!


How do we at Cisco keep our skills sharp and relevant? 

We participate in company-wide training, as teachers and students.

We also support each other in the learning process, sharing best practices, and finding opportunities for improvement.

On Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD), we gave you a look behind the Cisco brand.  This is just a small part of our much larger team.

Did you find your favorite Community Manager (#CMGR) in this Twitter conversation? Add your comment below to let us know which Cisco channels you follow.  We’d love to introduce you to more people in the team.

Do you manage a social media channel or online community?  Share your story with us, so we can get to know the people behind your brand.


Follow Silvia Spiva @silviakspiva

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Great post, really hope that expectations match appreciations in this challenging role 🙂

  2. Great article and it’s so true. Social Media has taken an already fast moving field of IT to a whole new level. Since humans are creatures of habit, being adaptive and embracing rapid change is paramount to stay compeditve in this field. I also believe it is import to be ecosystem neutral. For example, I use a MAC and PC, as well as Android, iOS, and Microsoft for tablets and smartphones.

    Silvia, you have been instrumental with my honing of Social Media tools and content, as well as keeping me grounded when I get too bold. Thank you for being my Social Media inspiration and coach. 🙂

  3. I am thrilled to participate, learn, interact, explore, share and contribute for Cisco’s Brand Experience. This is just a baby step:)

  4. Well said Silvia. Another vital point to highlight is the collaboration driven by marketing leads to bring the ideal subject matter experts together. As solutions include a wider variety of technologies, the marketing lead may often be the collaborative glue. Just as importantly, given that not all experts have the same level of understanding and skill at social media, the “digital maven” plays an important “behind the scenes” coaching role to ensure high impact of the activity.

  5. Branding is really story telling and has to strike a chord with the listener on an emotional level to really get the message across. This is where the Cisco Human network messaging really gains momentum and relevance. I for one am a Brand Manager for one of Cisco’s Gold Partners and would love to connect with the brand team at Cisco to epxlore how we can symbiotically co-brand and move towards a model of mutual porofitability.

  6. What is remarkable about Cisco is that its own employees are the brand, and Cisco gives them all the tools to be the brand and make its customers happy. This is due in no small part to the sheer amount of quality marketing content and its distribution, but the role of Community Manager is to make sure that the right content is in the right channel at the right time.

    So add the “Quadra-C” to your list of skills: the Capable Content Curation according to Context.

    (OK, that was bad, but it’s a shout out to those community managers who worked on the early days of the Quad project…)

    Marketing makes the promise, the employees deliver it and make it real, and the community managers (in internal, public or hybrid clouds) make all of it possible with their unyielding support and love of service. That’s my appreciation for community managers in a nutshell.

    • Spoken like someone who’s really been there, Tony! Content curation is a crucial part of the Community Manager role. If all content is “created equal”…”Why isn’t my video featured on the homepage?”…”Why can’t I add a direct link to each of my white papers?”…”Why do we need to follow an editorial calendar?”. I’m using analytics to collect data as quickly as possible, to show which content performs best, and why. I appreciate your comment!

  7. Branding is Story Telling and if we as a company fail to connect to the listener on an emotional level no amount of advertising and marketing spend is going to make an iota of difference. I would really love to know more about he Cisco rebranding in 2006 as I am actualising something on those lines for my company these days too. Lets connect and talk…

    • I’m glad you remember the “Welcome to the Human Network” campaign, Vivek. You are correct, sometimes it is challenging to translate tech into business. The Human experience should always be top of mind.

  8. Kudos Silvia! I love the visual imagery the “stewards of the brand” brings to mind when I read this post. It’s so fitting! Ps- I want Jeanne’s socks! 🙂

  9. Awesome post Silvia! Having only been with Cisco and the IoE and Industries channel for a few months, you have given me lots of great insights into the role and I am looking forward to giving each other a helping hand as channel managers 🙂

  10. We all wear many hats… but I wear many SOCKS. 😉 Great post, Silvia!

  11. Great post, Silvia. It’s great that we have recently been helping each other develop our skills 🙂

  12. Well said Silvia – Marketing today has evolved significantly beyond the original “4 Ps” – product, Price, Promotion and Place. “Personalisation via Social Community Interaction” is another “P” I would add to that list.

  13. These are some great points within the post! To become a successful community manager/marketer, one has to have a good hands-on knowledge and understanding of these skillsets. Marketing has evolved into more of a data-driven business and knowing when and how to utilize each skillset will help in maximizing your results. Thanks Silvia!

    Luka Yang
    Cisco Mobility

  14. Excellent insights! The role of channel manager is ever changing, which certainly keeps our day to day very exciting. One thing remains consistent, our customers, both current and future, are our number one priority. I want to produce quality content that my audience finds both relevant and insightful.

    • You’re doing great work, Lisa! I look forward to learning more about how you are working to humanize the brand, and insert humor into tech.

  15. One challenge is keeping up our skills. First, though: which ones? Do I go deep into data science for marketing?, social engagement / listening / selling?, web user experience?, search engine optimization?, video production? … or do I skim across the top and become familiar with a broad set of things? Happily, the variety and the pace of change mean that there’s never time to get bored or stuck in a rut. It’s the best time ever to be a modern (digital) marketer.

  16. Well put Silvia – we not only have to wear different hats – we often have to wear them all at once. I sometimes myself posting on mobile and desktop at the same time when I am covering live events and want to get pictures up right away. I have found the 4 Cisco social and digital media certification programs that I have taken very helpful, especially in a profession with a rapid rate of change.

    • Excellent point, Jennifer. We not only test and optimize content for mobility, but also harness the power and speed of mobile devices for fast results. Bring all the devices!

  17. Cool post and totally agree with your insights! Also it’s so good that there are Community Manager Appreciation Days for us to recognize everyone’s efforts!

  18. Those are cool YouTube socks too, btw:)

  19. Great post, Silvia! I enjoy finding new ways to innovate across the Cisco security social channels every day 🙂

  20. Great insight on our ever evolving roles!

  21. Great post and right on about the balance and innovation that we bring forward.

  22. So true Silvia about the many hats. I’d add conversational communication to the skills being asked.