New Year, New Job: How to become a community manager

Capcom UK’s social and community manager Neil Gorton tells us how producing videos on YouTube helped him get his job today and what challenges his role involves.

How would you summarise your role?

As social and community manager for Capcom UK I’m in charge of creating community-focused content, as well as relaying communication back and forth between the business and its fans.

What are your main responsibilities?

Filtering important feedback to the producers as well as providing customer service. Imparting information back to the fans such as sales and release info. On top of that there are the brand pages to police and keep fresh with official and fan-created content.

Additional to this is meeting the fans face to face at events – whether they’re public expos or ones I have created to celebrate game launches and anniversaries. To top it all off, there is my own created content to make and hope that fans will interact with.

How did you get your job?

Oh boy. I’d worked in television for a few years producing scripts and shows about video games. When I was let go it was crushing, but I was determined to keep going. Between odd jobs to pay the rent, I started a YouTube show with my pal Tom and thanks to our contacts we got invited to some great industry events where we made fun video content out of them. They may not have set the world on fire in terms of views but the energy was there and Capcom took notice, so I was invited to interview and now here I am.

What special skills or qualifications did you need?

Well you have to be able to understand social media, sort out which sentiments are sincere and know what would make a useful asset and why. Also, brazen confidence (or a complete disregard for ego) is essential – you will often be placed in front of hundreds of people in real life as well as being the ‘face’ for the company online. The work/life balance becomes quite difficult because you really need to be able to work around the clock so making sure you’re comfortable with those demands is key.

Describe a normal day. What do you do?

No such thing! But there are subsets.

One day will involve a morning preparing reports to various departments advising how the brands are being received and in turn we are promoting them. This leads to meetings and strategy building.

The afternoon will be spent policing brand pages and creating/collecting assets – Twitter is in the background at all times and helps me spot potential problems as they occur and thus I can act accordingly and address them.

On another day I will be making video content, playthroughs, countdowns and nostalgia pieces, these can be YouTube videos, streams or Vines etc.

What’s important to note is it never ends. I’m glued to the company accounts – every watchful, reading everything that pops up.

What are the best and worst parts of your role?

Seeing your feedback shine through in game development it’s those little one of one moments where you know your interaction has made someone’s day

The worst part is learning to disconnect. It can be a real struggle shutting off your phone and laptop despite your American counterparts taking over when the clock allows – it is nevertheless hard to relax.

What tips would you give to someone applying for a similar position?

There’s no room for fakery here, you have to be the real deal –most of all you have to want to help. You have to be a gamer to empathise with gamers – it’s kind of like Blade Runner but played out on Twitter.

What are your long-term career plans?

Well, eventually I’ll be too old to keep up with ever emerging trends and changes in social media so perhaps I’ll ascend and oversee a team of my own community managers, more likely I would imagine I will move into product management working ever closer with game producers and bringing the fans the games they really want to play.

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