25th Jan 2021

Staff Spotlight: Community Management Appreciation Day

Today is Community Management Appreciation Day and here at Keywords Studios, it is a day we relish.

To celebrate, we are taking a sneak peek into our Player Support Service Line and, specifically, the Community Management department. We would like to introduce two of our Community Managers to help give an insight into what it’s like working in the role and what a typical day looks like.

Anja Eichler has worked at Keywords Studios for six years, having previously been at Alchemic Dream, Keywords’ first acquisition in video games customer support services. Anja is Community Management Specialist and part of her job is to supervise a team of community and social media managers working on client projects.

Rachel Gravelle is Community Manager and has been working in player or customer support for seven years. She also started in Alchemic Dream, as a player support agent, and then shifted to the Community Management role.

Here’s what they had to say:

What does a typical day at work involve?

Anja: Since my team is spread over various time zones, I usually start and end my day checking in with my team or a client to discuss the tasks of the day.

In between, anything can happen really. Not one single day is like the other when working in Community and Social Media Management.

Many of my tasks depend on how a game and its community evolve but also on new technology to test, new social media features to try, feedback to provide to a client, or training to provide to my team.

Rachel: In most cases, I work directly with the development team and meet with them often to make sure that their players and community maintain a good rapport with one another.

In the general day-to-day, I handle both scheduling and curating of client content for social media platforms, their social presence and maintaining their reputation on Discords and Reddit.

I also connect the team with important influencers and being the cool intermediary between the two entities.

There’s also video editing and Photoshop skills required and sometimes even animation or voicework.

Do you have a specific area in your role you enjoy focusing on?

Anja: I’m a creative person. I love to brainstorm new content ideas, to flesh out player engagement concepts or to work on creative assets in Photoshop. I probably spend too much time browsing memes.

Rachel: Helping indie teams discover their perfect brand tone. Many clients have a general idea of how they want to be perceived but it does not always resonate with their community. 

In some cases, they may not be up to date with current memes or internet culture (which is very important in this field) – or even understand what makes certain strategies successful.

I love being able to openly communicate with their player base in my own personal way and help build clients a brand persona that makes them genuinely iconic.

Anja & Rachel from Player Support
Anja Eicher and Rachel Gravelle

Talking about games … What is your favourite video game?

Anja: The game I put most time in in 2020 is Mario Kart on the Switch as my five-year-old daughter is always looking for a challenge in between home schooling tasks.

Hopefully 2021 will leave me with some more play time than last year. I have Journey and Morkredd on my wish list. I’m drawn in by the minimalist look of these games.

Rachel: Sonic the Hedgehog! From classic to modern, from the TV series, to the movies and even the comics.

I personally connect with his attitude and perspective on life; he does things proudly his own way and always makes it to the end goal. I love it all, honestly.

How did you get into video games and, more in detail, in Community Management? What inspired your career path?

Anja: I used to work as a project manager for a German web portal when I came across a recruitment ad from Owlient, a Ubisoft studio in France. They were looking for a German community manager to join their team in Paris, which had been a dream destination for me.

During the interview, I discovered that project management and community management have many things in common. I was willing to try it and so was Owlient.

I relocated to Paris and started to manage three online communities, which turned out to be very kind and caring, which was ideal for a first community management experience.

Rachel: When you’re young, video games are a wonderful experience to lose yourself in. I do this now, even as an adult and it’s always been one of my favourite hobbies.

However, as I got older, I found myself frustrated or unhappy at times that the players – people who emotionally and financially dedicate themselves to a game’s community – sometimes didn’t feel like their voice mattered.

More and more through the years, I began to see cases where events could have been handled more professionally. I never had an interest in coding games but what I wanted was to work in a position that broke the traditional mindset that players are seen, not as a source of critical feedback for improvement, but simply walking profit.

I take pride in not only advocating for the fair treatment and transparency of player communities but also helping clients make the best decisions possible toward building community trust and respect. It goes both ways.

Given your experience, what advice would you give to job seekers considering a career in Community Management?

Anja: Show off your understanding of the digital world and your soft skills. You do not necessarily need to have studied communications.

Many of my colleagues got into Community Management by being actively involved in a gaming community in their leisure time (as players or moderators). Others started to build their own online brand and gained a good followership on social media through Twitch streams for example, which put them on the radar of our recruitment team.

Rachel: Thick skin, patience and emotional stability. It’s one of the most fun and rewarding career experiences but it does often mean being the shield that protects a client when a poor decision is made or the community is in an uproar over something they dislike.

You have to be ready and able to creatively problem solve at a moment’s notice and put out social fires on Twitter or Discord in real time when necessary.

It requires quick thinking and the skill to never lose your cool under times of stress. But when things are going well and the community is happy? How cool is it to hang out and talk about the game with its fans as the representative of a company they love?

To be able to tell them that a suggestion they made to the dev team was not only heard but added as a new feature? It warms the heart.

Who are your favourite Community Managers in the industry?

Anja: I’d like to give a shoutout to Victoria Tran (twitter.com/TheVTran), who recently switched jobs and is now Community Director at Innersloth.

Victoria has been great to watch while making herself a name in the indie dev scene. She’s on a mission to foster kindness in communities and I like how she’s always ready to jump on new trends, like TikTok in 2020.

Rachel: One of these isn’t directly industry related, but worth noting simply because of its brilliant approach to social strategy.

  1. Aaron Webber. He’s the social media genius behind the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter. Before he came along, their Twitter account was mostly used for announcements and news updates. Now it’s a hysterical mix of memes, sonic related trend humour and likable content.
  2. Amy Brown of the Wendy’s twitter account. This girl legit roasts other brands in a friendly, yet still antagonizing way. It’s common to see Wendy’s throw shade while @’ing McDonalds or other competitors about their quality of burger.

And finally, what words of support would you give to your fellow community managers for Community Management Appreciation Day?

Anja: Dare new things. Be creative. And don’t take it personal if a game isn’t a hit.

Rachel: As odd as it sounds, push and don’t be afraid to. Don’t immediately take ‘no’ as an answer. The difference between a good Community Manager and a great one, is that one thinks outside the box.

They encourage (and sometimes have to verbally convince) clients and coworkers to try new approaches and wild strategies, even when they ‘like things the way they are’.

Trends change.  Current events change.  Thus, we have to evolve with them or we stagnate.

If you are interested in a Player Support role at Keywords Studios, you can find current open positions on our Careers page.

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