Guess Who’s Back…Katie’s Back… In Milwaukee!

Change isn’t easy, but sometimes you just know when something feels right.  This feels right, and I couldn’t be more excited for the future…

I’m thrilled to share this with all of you: as of the 12th of this month I’ve joined Translator, an experience design agency based in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Our agency is focused on strategy, planning, program management and experience thinking for clients and startups alike. We continue our relationships with maintaining involvement with concepting, user experience design, visual design, and storytelling for the online and offline worlds.  We work with a variety of local and national clients who come to us with business and marketing problems both large and small.

For those of you who know me well, and know that I have admired Mark Fairbanks and Cindi Thomas and what they are building with Translator since day one, you can only imagine my excitement to get the opportunity to be an “Official Member of the Translator Team” and work with my good friends.

This truly is an opportunity where my love for digital/marketing/social and getting to work with brilliant people came together at the perfect time, and I’m grateful I was standing at that intersection when it did. I will be wasting no time getting my feet wet in my new position.

One feature of our agency is the open lab we have every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.  Anyone from the community is invited to visit and discuss the posted idea for the morning or bring any idea of your own to discuss.  This occurs in a very relaxed, casual setting with free coffee.

We aim to open the conversation to a larger audience, embrace the art of experience and bring an entirely new way of thinking and connecting to the community. Our goal is to create a reason and place for like minds to come together across industries, genres and backgrounds.

It was difficult to leave Hashable after building their community from scratch.  However, this is a natural step forward for my career: giving me the opportunity to continually challenge myself in whole new ways, and provide me with a chance to experience another professional environment.

To everyone who helped me achieve this new goal and advance my career to the next level, I truly appreciate it.

I hope you’ll all continue to follow my journey and to learn a little more about our agency please visit one of our open lab sessions on a Tuesday or Thursday morning between 8am and 10am.

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Community Manager: Evangelists vs. Influencers

FEBRUARY 28, 2012 BY LARRY JENNINGS (As posted on

The first session at the Community Manager Unconference was about the differences between Evangelists and Influencers, led by Katie Felten (@KatieFelten) from Hashable.  She did a great job starting the conversation by explaining the main differences between these two groups.

After that, the topics turned into identifying these users, ways to bring them deeper into the fold – and lastly, how employees can be utilized for both [evangelists and influencers] as well! Having been to a few UNconferences before, credit needs to go to Katie’s great discussion leadership, and also to the attendees, for the engagement.

Let’s start by defining each of these:

  • Evangelists - People that love your product or service inside and out and talk about it constantly, but not because you asked them to.  They might already be influential.
  • Influencers - People with lots of followers. They have more visibility and a large reach, but they may only make a statement about your product or service, then move on.

How are these users identified?

  • Influencers - Number of connections (Followers, Friends, etc,); Blogs or Periodicals that they author.
  • Evangelists - Blogs with a small audience,  generate comments; Watch the people on Twitter and Facebook and wherever else that truly love your product.

How can you get them to help?

Katie related how Hashable took a small group of evangelists  and created a small private user group and gave them beta access – invited them to live events to discuss – what they were already discussing already.

Favorite Quotes and General Tips:

  • Make sure that you have a plan for reaching your community. Know what your looking for and how to measure it!
  • ‘No one wants 40,000 followers anymore, they want 4,000 REALLY GOOD followers!’ – Megan (@meganlarsen4)
  • ‘Would this Twitter post make the news with this headline?’ – Megan (@meganlarsen4 &@SeanMcGinnis):[Image]
  • Make Interacting as simple as you can but, be as specific as you can be with them.
  • Don’t be afraid to engage and ask your community for help!
  • Be sure to follow-up with your community. Even if to say, “we saw this, we will have a better reply later.”
  • ‘You need to take care of those that like your brand; you also need to take care of those that don’t!’ -Therez (@TerezBaskin)
  • Find 5 people a day and thank them for something!

Those users were our only hope…. NO! There is another (Group of Evangelists):

Employees! Employees LOVE to talk about what they are working on. If they aren’t socially savvy, one tip that we got from US Cellular (@USCellular):

US Cellular employees have a toolkit of premade messages that they can post to social media networks when they are proud of something!

A solid social media network for a company can be a very beneficial tool if used correctly. In order to avoid missteps when “disaster” strikes, a suggestion was offered to help role play some of the situations that occur internally so that people are prepared when an actual event occurs. Having an internal Social Media Champion (A Community Manager perhaps?) would help as well.

As a way to keep employees keep in touch with what the customers are saying – make sure the employees have exposure to them. Someone mentioned that at Etsy (@Etsy), EVERYONE is required to have so many hours a year doing or monitoring support. That is a great idea!

Final Goals:

  • Try to convert your evangelists into influencers by becoming evangelists for them!
  • When your Community starts answering questions for themselves, there is no greater feeling!

What did you get out of this session? Tell us in the comments below! Please and Thank You.

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Demystifying Community Management

By: Katie Felten – First Published in Milwaukee Biz Times

The need for community management has been stretching father and wider recently, touching industries from technology to banking. As a community manager myself, not a day goes by where I don’t end up explaining the role to someone.

Today, I am going to demystify what community managers actually do. As a community manager, your responsibilities are divided between servicing the external community and the internal team. Essentially, you must act as the external voice of the company and the internal advocate of the users.

Externally speaking, you have three roles:

  1. Brand Ambassador – Act as a face of the company.
  2. Brand Monitor – Become the eyes and ears of the company
  3. Brand Communicator – Communicate the brand to others.

Internally speaking, you ought to start by reporting to the CEO directly. Then, try to focus on three things:

A) Always Communicate. Be available to everyone in the company. Establish clear lines of communication with each department in the company so you can smoothly interface with them (and vice versa).

B) Be everywhere. Attend all major discussions within the company – even if you remain silent. You need to know what’s going on internally, and sometimes the only way to know is to be present.

C) Create and share notes. Work regularly with department heads to ensure your community outreach is not misrepresenting (or, over–sharing!) their work.

It is important that you provide insight to the product team based on your knowledge of what the users want. Lastly, I created a checklist that I review daily to keep myself on track:

  • Daily Reflections: Start and end each day with thoughtful reflection.
  • Strategy: Help establish and communicate the future direction of the community.
  • Content: Create and edit material to educate users on the product.
  • Relationships: Build strong relationships with the top users, welcome new users to the community, and recruit/manage those who volunteer to help test and evangelize the product.
  • Events/Activities: Plan and execute events and fun activities for the community.
  • Recruitment: Persuade more people to become brand evangelists.
  • Moderation: Remove bad content and encourage good behavior by initiating conversations.
  • Business: Integrate the community with the overall business. Fight for resources, ensuring community objectives are met while expectations are realistic.
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Meet Katie Felten, Community Manager, Hashable

This was originally posted on the Hashable blog

Meet Katie Felten, Community Manager

There’s really no other way to put it – her story is one of a small town heroine making it happen in the Big Apple. Hers is the tale of a woman who built a lovable personal brand in Milwaukee and then leveraged it to evangelize her favorite networking app – all the way to landing a dream job in Manhattan. Let’s get to it!

Meet Hashable’s Community Manager, Katie Felten

Today, Katie will shed some light on the community manager’s role…and stand up for her home city of Milwaukee. Before we get to the interview, here’s the lowdown on Katie:

Follow Katie on Twitter here

Check out Katie’s blog here

City of Katie: Milwaukee, WI…sometimes Midtown, NYC

A short bio: “Social Media junky with a passion for living life. Red wine drinker, traveler, voracious reader, trance enthusiast, 101 days Bikram Yoga, #ungeeked conference geek.”

1. What were you up to before joining Hashable?

I was running MKELive, a Milwaukee-based company that hosted events and offered social media training. MKElive also consulted for companies on how to create a social strategy.

2. Community Management is a role that is becoming more prevalent in companies everywhere. Can you explain what a typical week looks like for Katie Felten?

Wow, that’s a tough one! The community manager role can be all over the board. However, first and foremost, it is about establishing (and maintaining!) a connection with your users. You have to act as both the external voice of the company and the internal advocate of the users (to the company). Beyond that, community managers spend a lot of time creating content for their company’s blog, email newsletters, white papers, how-to guides, Twitter and Facebook presence, and video explaining the product.
3.     What is the biggest difference between the tech/social media ecosystem in NYC versus that of Milwaukee?

I think the biggest difference is simply how the rest of the world perceives the two cities. Without question, NYC is huge and one of the meccas of technology. However, Milwaukee is a market that often gets overlooked! When it comes down to the people, I think that the cities have a lot in common. Both of the tech communities are relatively small in that everyone seems to know (or have heard of!) each other. I think there is a lot of passion and collaboration in both markets. Frankly, as much as I love being a part of the NYC tech/social media community…I really, really love Milwaukee! I think people would be surprised at the talent there.

THE FINALE: Get To Know Katie In Five Fast Questions

1.     What was your favorite TV show growing up?

I grew up in the countryside and beyond PBS, I didn’t get to watch much TV. I still don’t watch that much TV today! Looking back though, I loved Nova and Jacques Cousteau. As for today…most of what I watch is on either the History, Discovery, or National Geography channel.

2.     What do you think is the most number of tweets you’ve sent in one day?

Ha! I am not sure…maybe 40-50? I attend a lot of conferences, and it’s easy to get carried away when you are tweeting from interesting sessions! Also, I was a #hashvangelist at SxSW earlier this year…safe to say I got a little crazy tweeting all of the #justmets.

3.     As a community manager, which do you prefer: TweetDeck or Hoot-not-sweet (inside joke!)?

You are funny, John. I love Hootsuite! I started out using it simply because it was browser-based. You see, we weren’t allowed to download anything onto our laptops at the last company I worked for. With all the traveling I was doing, I needed a Twitter fix frequently! Once I started using Hootsuite, I fell in love with all that you could do from the dashboard.

4.     If you could recommend one person for everyone to follow on Twitter, who would it be?

That’s a little bit of a loaded question – I have a lot of favorites! Can I do my 3 favorite blogs instead? Julien Smith’s blog is in my top 3 simply because he keeps it real. I also love Fred Wilson‘s blog AVC because he shares awesome information on being a venture capitalist. Fred writes in an easy-to-understand way and shares personal stuff as well, so his readers have the feeling that they know him personally! My 3rd favorite blog is Mashable, mostly because I am a tech junkie.

5.     What is your favorite all-time song?

To be honest, I really don’t have a favorite song. I grew up listening to Amy Grant, and I still listen to her occasionally…but these days I am a huge trance and house nut.


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Tech Talk with Katie #15: How a Local Business is using Social Media with Chris Sherman Part 2

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Tech Talk with Katie #14: How a Local Business is using Social Media with Chris Sherman Part 1

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Tech Talk with Katie #13: Chad Schulz and Tim Grove — TagUpWith part 2

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Tech Talk with Katie #12: Chad Schulz and Tim Grove — Yammer

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Tech Talk with Katie #11: Chad Schulz and Tim Grove – TagUpWith

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Tech Talk with Katie #10: Mark Gilbreth – Liquid Space

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