Growing as a Community Manager with Maral Balayan

Episode Thumbnail
This is a podcast episode titled, Growing as a Community Manager with Maral Balayan. The summary for this episode is: <p>In today's episode, Maral Balayan discusses how she got started in the online community as manager. The skills she has developed being an online community manager, HTML knowledge or CSS and some design. But, the main key is how Higher Logic functions. There are challenges being discussed as a community manager like the interest or approvals from stakeholders, board members and C-level executives; you should have a strategy for yourself.</p><p><br></p>
Maral getting started in the online community
00:42 MIN
Skills that have developed being an online community manager
00:43 MIN
The biggest challenge as a community manager
00:44 MIN
Having a strategy for yourself as a community manager
00:37 MIN
Promoting within their online community
00:38 MIN

Alex Mastrianni: Welcome to the Member Engagement Show with Higher Logic, the podcast for association professionals looking to boost retention, gain new members and deepen member involvement.

Heather McNair: Throughout our show, we'll bring on some experts, talk shop about engagement and you'll walk away with strategies proven to transform your organization. I'm Heather McNair.

Alex Mastrianni: I'm Alex Mastrianni, and we're happy you're here.

Jeff: Hey there, you've got Jeff, the director of customer experience here at Higher Logic and we just dropped some big news. And I'm excited for our annual conference. Our keynote for Super Forum this year will be Guy Kawasaki. He's the former chief evangelist at Apple. He's currently at Canva. He's the author of best- selling books. He's been an entrepreneur. And so he's been all around. He's going to be sharing insights on how to build online communities of maximum value and impact. So make sure to drop into the description of this episode and register for Super Forum 2021, to hear him speak.

Heather McNair: Hi, this is Heather McNair, chief customer officer at Cloud Generation. And welcome to another episode of the Member Engagement Show. We're really excited today to be continuing our series about community managers and community management, how we all got into this crazy new world. And it's been growing in leaps and bounds, and I personally have been really excited to see that all of a sudden in the last year or so people actually know what community management is. And so I'm excited to have Maral Balayan, join us today. And let's see Maral and I have known each other for many years now. She was a client of Higher Logic's similar to me, before joining the team a couple of years ago. And so Maral with that, you want to say hi to everyone?

Maral Balayan: Yes. Thank you, Heather. And it's really great to be here with you. Because like you said, I met you at my first Super forum, so I remember you're also wearing an orange skirt, represents Orange Army, right? And I have a vivid memory of our first meeting. It was the first get together before the meeting starts and yes. And I'm really excited to be doing this podcast with you. So yes, this is really exciting.

Heather McNair: Yeah, absolutely. Yes, and I was very excited that my new company, Cloud Generation also picked orange as one of their colors, so I didn't have to abandon my whole wardrobe.

Maral Balayan: Oh, that's great.

Heather McNair: So why don't you tell the listeners a little bit about who you are, what you do currently for Higher Logic? Some fun fact about what you do in your spare time, if there is any?

Maral Balayan: Yeah, I was going to say, do we have spare time? Can I say this on the podcast? So yes. I'm a Maral Balayan, I've been in DC for about 10 years. Just probably like everyone maybe, very typical for me to move to DC for politics. And I look back and now I do nothing of that, which I'm really happy. And I'm really excited. And I love where my journey led me, mainly because almost six years ago, I started learning about Higher Logic and it became an online community, so this is where that journey led me. And right now I am part of the Orange Army or part of Higher Logic as staff. And I've been here for about a year and couple months. I am a project manager in the integration's team. My main role is really to work with existing customers who are changing their AMSs to a different AMS or they're having an upgrade within the same AMS, update or an upgrade. And we work with them as a project manager, but we also work with the internal resources, with the engineers to make sure that these customers and their online community or the other products informs our real magnet, their marketing automation stays functioning. And from the end user experience, they don't really feel that the client actually had a change in their databases.

Heather McNair: Which is critical. Yeah.

Maral Balayan: You're right. Yes. crosstalk. Yes. We like to keep the site on, the online community, because we know how important that is. Especially, like you said, this past year of how everything has become online. And I think we've seen a great boost of interest and engagement and people really understanding the value of the online community and having that platform, where their members are able to have that two- way conversation, not only one- way, which is usually what the marketing tools do, but that full circle as we call it, of conversations. And so yeah. So in my spare time, if I have any, I actually love to go running and because of the pandemic I was able to go back. So one good thing for me that happened is, because everything else was shut down, I was able to go outside in DC and start running. So that's my de- stressor, that's my me time. And yeah, I like to cook, I like to read and just be engaged online, just like I was as a community manager.

Heather McNair: That's fantastic. People give me a hard time about not being engaged in social media. And I'm like, " Ah, yeah. Cobbler's children have no shoes. This is what I do all day." So I will admit I'm really bad about being on the other social channels. So you mentioned politics, but that's what brought you to DC. So talk to us about what your career has looked like. You came up through the association side. And so did that journey start with the politics side, with crosstalk or?

Maral Balayan: I would say where I am now, it has a little bit of... there has to be a little bit of luck, a little bit of trust in my previous boss or manager, in my ability to learn new things and my interest in learning new things and venturing into a world that I had zero knowledge of. I never studied computer science, I never studied even anything with volunteers. I never worked with volunteers or anything of that, but I was in an association and I was working in the event's department. And that association was just about to launch their online community. They had the sense of the communities in the sense of, there were interest groups and they met through, at the time WebEx and they were doing Zoom or Webinars. And that was it. But they had signed with Higher Logic and they were launching their community. So that director, the director of membership and engagement reached out to me and said, " Would you be interested in this new role that we're starting at the organization as the online community manager?" And at first I was like, " I don't even know what that means. What is an online community manager?" And I had to Google it and I had to look up Higher Logic, I had to look up everything. But all of that is history now, and now I know of course an online community manager has multiple descriptions and it's never defined, especially from one association to the other. And then you go to corporate side, it's different meanings. So, but that led me to Higher Logic, to start getting trained on the software or using the website. And I was really interested, and that trust in that director that I had, that I was going to be able because I was a people's person or I am a people's person, but I'd never really worked one- on- one with volunteers or thought leaders. So that was new, and I definitely found that very interesting. And the more I learned more about Higher Logic or they're doing, I attended within, what was it, four or five months after I started my role, I attended my first Super Forum. Back then also Super Forum was slightly smaller than it was the last time it was in person but, and that's where I met you, Heather. But it was the connections that I made at Super Forum and having those conversations. And at that point, I was also on HUG, the Higher Logic User Group. And I saw that sense of helping each other and engaging with each other and supporting each other, whether it was Higher Logic staff or it was the other community managers, we're all kind of in it together, so we were all sharing our knowledge. I was learning a lot during those few first months in the first years, of course, and that's really got me engaged. And it led me to two other associations, a corporation, all of which I've done. And I got the roles specifically because of my Higher Logic knowledge of the software of being an online community manager. So that journey has led me in a great way to where I am now. Like I said, I don't miss the politics or why I moved to Higher Logic, I'm more than happy where I am now. But five years ago, if you'd asked me, I would have not ever known that I would be doing what I am now or working for Higher Logic, even.

Heather McNair: Sure. Yeah. It's funny, funny the twists and turns our careers keep taking. So along those lines, you've always struck me from the beginning, you are super organized and I think that that has served you very well in your community management career, and also plays extremely well into what you're doing at Higher Logic today as an implementation manager. What other skills have you picked up along the way, did you come into your first community management role with, that you think are critical in this role? You also mentioned being a people person, which I think is huge too.

Maral Balayan: Yes. I think you named it. I would say having organizational skills or developing them is a major critical skill to have as a community manager. Because like I said, everyone I've met through HUG or at Super Forums, and whether they're a community manager or they have a different title... my first title was membership and engagement project manager. So it had nothing to do with community, the word itself. But we all have one thing in common, that often we wear multiple hats and we're doing different things. And of course it matters the size of the association, the size of the organization, and the smaller they are, then more hats that you wear of doing different things. But having that organizational skill of being organized in managing the different tasks that you're doing. So when it comes to online community manager, I think the first thing I would say is, definitely you have to understand how Higher Logic functions and works and knowing the basic or the main functionality is the key, because you need to understand that. Even if you're going to rely on Higher Logic support or you're in a hope that nothing is going to go wrong, but you definitely need to know the backend. You need to understand how this functions and be up to date actually, every time there's a new release or there's an update to, or enhancement to a functionality. The other skills that have developed throughout being an online community manager is... and this is because of my own interests, not that a community manager has to have them, is having HTML knowledge or CSS, a little bit of design. And I say this because... and I completely understand not everyone is a developer, I'm not a developer, not yet at least. But having to be able to read some code and an edit or understand if something is off or wrong is extremely helpful when something goes wrong and something gets screwed on your site, so that you don't have to wait, even as a critical support ticket or anything, or even if you have in- house developer. But I am one that likes to know how things work, even if I'm not going to be an expert in that, but at least I have a basic understanding. So I think that's one of the more technical skills that I took upon myself to look into. And at the time, my organization had also professional advancement skills budget kind of thing. So I went and took some classes. Again, basic knowledge, nothing more. Understanding how your organization's AMS or CRM works, also how your database is saved, how your members database is saved and what you have in terms of data. Because often we get someone say, " Oh, I know we store member's names and emails and companies, but I don't know what else or how those function, does fields function." Well, all of those do little things, and I know it's a little bit, again, more technical, but having the knowledge will help you a lot to troubleshoot, even with Higher Logic's help. And I think, I was focused mostly for the online community product because that was my main role in the different roles I've had in different associations. But I have worked in an association where they did have a marketing automation product from Higher Logic as well. So when I first joined, I said, " I've never used that, but I would like to learn it." And I knew there was a whole different department, marketing department that were working in it with that. But I just wanted to understand how that worked, because again, it gives you a little bit of knowledge when that department comes in, starts wanting to use the community or vice versa. So again, just knowledge. And I think the interest of learning more is a skill as a community manager you should have, because often enough you're not only managing the community.

Heather McNair: Yeah, absolutely. And I know the audience can't see me vigorously nodding as you're saying all of this stuff. Because the thing is, if you can understand even a little bit, like you were saying, the database structure, HTML, CSS. If you just know a tiny bit, you can help troubleshoot, you can...

Maral Balayan: Correct.

Heather McNair: Yeah. If you have to put in a support to get in, not just with Higher Logic, whatever community software you're using, you can get them started on the path, like say, " Hey, I tried this, I tried this, this is looking like where the problem might be." And that's a massive help to whomever you might be working with. Yeah, and I-

Maral Balayan: I agree. Yes.

Heather McNair: Yeah. And you know what I will say, you're talking about learning these things and I did a little bit of recon before we were talking, and I noticed you actually started as a translator in your career, right?

Maral Balayan: Started, yes. Languages not code.

Heather McNair: Yeah. Well, but when you say that... but I've often said to people, they're all languages and so people actually get very intimidated when they look at HTML and they look at CSS, it's just another language. It's syntax and it's structure and it's understanding. And so if you have any propensity whatsoever to understanding another language, it's the same idea. And so I think if you think of it in those terms, it does make it a little less intimidating.

Maral Balayan: Sure. Yes. Yeah, of course it has this structure, you can learn it, it's a skill that can be taught and can be learned. So yes. I never thought of it that way, but yes, maybe I had the prerequisite to learning a little bit of code and understanding the backend of Higher Logic.

Heather McNair: Yeah. And I do think having that curiosity is major and it's awesome that your organization had the resources to crosstalk.

Maral Balayan: Yes. Of course.

Heather McNair: I'll say I am mostly self- taught with... and we're probably a similar... I will never say that I'm a developer by any stretch, but I understand enough and I learned a lot. There're some great online resources, like W3 Schools...

Maral Balayan: Yes.

Heather McNair: Yeah, so-

Maral Balayan: That's how I started too. You Google, and again, it's not I'm plugging it, but HUG, I went there and I asked, or at Super Forum, I went to a session and it was all about design and I had no idea what they were talking about, but I was like, " Well, I can still ask questions." And one of my questions was, where can I get basic knowledge? And they told me where to go and look online just to get my interest. And that's a starting point, really. Because you can test your yourself and see if your are interested and then take it to the next level, if your organization has the funds or upon yourself to even further your knowledge. For sure.

Heather McNair: Yep. Absolutely.

Maral Balayan: And one thing you touched on on the volunteers or being a people's person. So again, it comes with the territory of being an online community manager. It depends on the association of how much you're actually interacting with the members because not every role will have... Okay, you are the front runner or the point of contact with your members or the stakeholders external, and I don't mean internally, but just external. But even if you're not, you're still working with internal staff that are working with your volunteers or leaders, or chapter leaders or whoever. And I think you still need to be able to do that. No matter how much of you say, " Oh, but it's not my responsibility to be the moderator of the communities, or I'm not really interacting day- to- day or engaging with these leaders or volunteers." But you're still interacting with someone who's managing them or working with them. And so having that is really crucial because that's really... especially if it's the stakeholders internally that you're working with, internal staff, you definitely need their buy- in. You want to be able to work with them, so that the community and the strategy that you have is kept as the business needs goes. But also with the definition of what a community is, not tiered towards something else that was not meant for the online community to be.

Heather McNair: Yes. Oh yeah. Could not agree with that more. And to build on that too, I think another piece of it where being a people person comes into play with the community is, to get people to participate in the community, you have to understand what motivates people, what makes people tick. And I think one of the things that I've always said to people, you have to have if not a psychology background, you have to understand some basic psychology. And that feeds into that too. Even if you don't necessarily like getting out there and talking to people, you have to understand what makes them tick.

Maral Balayan: Of course. Yes. I couldn't agree more. Yes, I am nodding. So 100%. You don't need to be 100% a people person, but you need to understand their needs and what is going to make them engaged, and everyone every different level of structure. Whether it's C- level executives or board members or internal staff, or just volunteers that are in a pure sense of a volunteer, not getting paid, nothing, just they're doing this for their interest within the association for some reason. You have to know how to engage and have a conversation with them based on their interest and based on what's going to make them come to this community and have a conversation. And stay also engage, not just start and then leave or disappear.

Heather McNair: Yep. Post and ghost as like to crosstalk very appropriate time of year to say that.

Maral Balayan: Yes.

Heather McNair: So you mentioned a little bit ago that being a community manager in a corporate environment is different than being one in an association environment, and you've done both. So is there a key difference or are there several key differences that you would mention? Or is it just kind of... Yeah.

Maral Balayan: In my experience, it wasn't that different between an association and a corporate because just... And again, this is my experience. In the corporate, the buy- in was already there in the sense of the community. So they already had the strategy, the communities existed long before I joined the company. And so I wasn't part of the strategy per se. it was just more of the management side of things. Of course, you still work within this strategy and keeping everyone engaged and try to come up with new tactics or engagement methods. One of them was, okay, they hadn't launched a volunteer module at that point for all of their... because they do have micro- sites and several tenants, but they hadn't launched the volunteer manager on all of them. So you got to come up with strategy for the different uses of the volunteer manager. But then the association world, the one thing I found is, definitely getting the buy- in or the interest or the approval of the stakeholders, of board members and C- level executives, I would say that's one of the biggest challenge as a community manager I've faced. And I think a lot of other fellow community managers or engagement project managers or so, or membership that come across. And I think that's where it gets a little bit difficult or challenging, and you try to maneuver that and find the best way to get people engaged. So in the corporate world, like I said, there was a buy- in and so I didn't have to worry so much about the strategy itself.

Heather McNair: Yeah. And I think... It's funny because there's this age old, especially within Higher Logic, kind of an age old debate about how different the corporate environment really is from the association environment. I'm like, " Yeah, I think there are kind of the same, they just call it different stuff." Because on both sides you have to convince people what's in it for them. Yeah.

Maral Balayan: Correct. That's the end question, right?

Heather McNair: Yeah.

Maral Balayan: Why is this important? Why is this going to work? Why are we investing in this? But to your point a little bit earlier, if anything, the last year and a half has taught us that having an online site, having an online engagement community is extremely helpful when it comes to everything becoming virtual. Or canceling your most profitable annual meeting, whether it's an association or corporate, everyone loses money on turning things into virtual. And so having that community and the sense, and everyone's buy- in or their interests to have the community and having it developed or putting the effort to make it that it's presentable to your members and the end user at the end, is something that we've seen. Yeah. Great. That's an important thing, especially in the last year and a half. And I'm pretty sure that it's going to continue this way, even as things move slightly back to normal.

Heather McNair: Yeah. I think people have now gotten used to this idea of self service and the immediacy of it, and that's really hard to take away.

Maral Balayan: Yes.

Heather McNair: Yeah, absolutely. And we did see it, organizations who already had online communities, who already had these infrastructures in place, when everything went down last year, they hardly missed a beat and versus organizations who were like, " Oh, kind of caught with our pants down," so to speak. Yeah. crosstalk.

Maral Balayan: Of course.

Heather McNair: ...running to play catch up a little bit, so. Yeah. So after launching, you've done this with three times?

Maral Balayan: Two launches, I would say.

Heather McNair: Okay, two launches, three communities.

Maral Balayan: Yes.

Heather McNair: What are your biggest pearls of wisdom for people? crosstalk question.

Maral Balayan: I think a little bit like what we touched on earlier, having the organization skill, having the different conversations with the different stakeholders, or the people involved with the community, and asking, what are we trying to do? Often, a lot of times I've seen this in associations, I've worked with and also talking to other community managers where, " Oh yeah, we don't have a specific strategy. Or our strategy is the organization strategy, just to engage." Sure. That's all great. But I've learned the hard way that you need to have a strategy yourself as a community manager. Even if your organization doesn't have one for you or for your department per se, or what you're trying to do with the community site, have one, just write it down for yourself on a piece of paper. And so that you can look and say, " How am I going to stay within that strategy? How am I going to achieve that goal of getting the strategy to complete or accomplishment?" And finally, " How am I going to measure that?" And I like the measure part because I also like to think of analytical. And a lot of times when it comes to skeptical individuals, whether it's within your organizations or outside, people are convinced when they see numbers, people are convinced when they see data. So having that data with you along the way, even if no one's going to ask you for it at the beginning, is a great tool to have. I know data is not worth a data unless it's used for something, but at the same time, if no one is asking you doesn't mean no one's going to ever ask you, or no one is ever going to look at it. Whether it's on budget time and they're looking in how much the online community is being spent on, or how much restructuring an organization in the different roles. And you have to argue about, " Oh, now the community is getting really engaging and we need different roles within this department." So having that data could back you, and having that strategy that you're trying to achieve, or a goal. Each organization is different. It could be as simple as getting people reengaged with the organization. It could be as simple as yes... and I'm going to use the front upon term here, but lurkers or passive users, where they're really reading, but not really fully engaging in the sense of logging in, or actually posting to the discussions. But all aspects of the community has an importance, and I think looking at that data and having that data will help you. And through my launches, whether I've had to come up with this strategy and present it to the leadership and get their buy- in, even though this was licensed. But still having their buy- in to your point, Heather, because we want them to be engaged. If they can't be role models of engagement then who will be? So I have to have examples of our executives or our staff or our VIP volunteers or someone that they see the other members, to see their name and recognize it and say, " Okay, I see this person using it, so I want to use it too, or let me read this." And it's fine if you have, like I said, that passive users where they're reading for a start, but you can have a strategy for them to, that you put into place ahead of time so that you have a plan. And again, it all goes back to being an organized person. So I like to have a plan in place, I like to have a little bit milestones, even if no one else is going to check me on it. But it helps you as a project manager to keep up, so that at the end you have something to accomplish and to show. So yeah, I think that, that's how I look at my different launches or the communities that I've worked with in my past.

Heather McNair: Yeah. And it's funny when you brought up the analytics piece, and it brought me back to one of my former CEOs in a past life. She was really big into Myers- Briggs and whether you believe in it or not, there's the thinkers and the feelers, the T's and the F's. And it was actually very funny at one point, I was trying to make... I am a thinker, crosstalk I love my analytics, I love my data. And she was like, " Heather, you can't win an argument with an F with data." But it was one of those really powerful lessons that, if you need to go in and present, you need to bring information for both of those types of people. And it sounds like when you're talking about bringing in these strategies and analytics, you are covering both of those things. And I think that that is a really critical lesson for community managers. And I think communities have come a tremendously long way. But there are times we're still underdogs a little bit and you're still having to fight for the importance of the community. And so I think that is really important for people to keep in mind, that you're not sure what types of people you're going to be presenting to, so make sure you have stuff that appeals to both of those sides, the feelers and the thinkers. Yeah, so.

Maral Balayan: Yes. I agree. Because when you're presenting, you don't know who's going to want the data, who's not interested in the data, but having both is really more resources for you when the time comes and someone asks those questions, and you have to make not the argument, but just get their interest and buy- in and keep them engaged with at least the idea of having an online community and what it's trying to achieve.

Heather McNair: Yup. All right. Maral, this was amazing. Yes. I think we could talk all afternoon.

Maral Balayan: I know.

Heather McNair: But to wrap this up, we love to ask everyone the same question. And that is what is your favorite Member Engagement tactic?

Maral Balayan: Oh wow.

Heather McNair: And it could be community, it could be marketing automation, it could be anything. So yeah. What in your career have you seen, have you done that is your favorite thing to do or most effective thing to do?

Maral Balayan: Can I pick two, not just one favorite?

Heather McNair: You are always an over achiever, so yes.

Maral Balayan: Because one of them is more of... so what we did with one of my associations is, we have an annual meeting at that time, pre pandemic and it was in- person, and it's very typical, you have sessions and all this different things. And our community leaders were either panelists on some of these sessions or they had colleagues from the interest groups in those panels of the sessions. And so what we thought is, because we're trying to engage our members about the online community. Again, often enough you have thousands of members, but only certain percent of them are aware of their full member benefits as much as you try to promote it, and then subset of that are truly engaged. So one of the things we thought about is actually offering it to these chapter leaders to promote it within their online community, that after the sessions we have what we call the quote unquote, community zone at the convention center or where we were having the meeting. And we put big signage, we work with marketing to have good signage there. And we would host kind of ad- hoc or a continuation of a discussion of the session. But it wasn't necessarily every single person from the panel, but maybe the chapter leader and another panelist. And we did that. The first year we did that, it was a great success. It brought attention to the online community from often a lot of these attendees that are coming to your annual meeting for a reason, because they find value in your content. But they were like, " Oh, we didn't know these existed." And they found it very useful to have this conversation. And it was a good success I would say, we got good numbers of attendees to show up and everything. But then the second year it actually exceeded our expectations. There were times where this community zone was over the capacity that we had anticipated. The sessions were interesting too, of course, and they had all those interests too, but you'd be surprised that attendees are interested in more the informal way of conversations. And I know a lot of organizations and companies are now doing those informal type of sessions to begin with as a actual offering. But this was different because this was being, whether it's moderated or started by one of their peers that they know. So it felt more personal, it was more captivating, it was really great in engagement. And you would see people more intrigued and interested in the community. And why bring up this as one of the favorite engagement tactics is because I always... this is how I described it when I was in that role and I would meet these members or volunteers, I would say, you come to a meeting, whether it's the annual meeting or just an ad- hoc meeting or workshop or anything that the organization is offering as an attendee. And you meet people, you network, you have a conversation of the same interest for somehow. But then you might exchange your LinkedIn, you might exchange your contacts and you have emails and you keep the conversation going for a little bit, maybe two weeks, and then it dies out until you see them next year. But the online community, what they're offering is that continuation. So you have a full year that you're continuing the conversation of the same interests that you had at that meeting. And then you come back to the next year, whether again, annual meeting or this other event, and that's why I call it a full circle. Because you started at a meeting, you didn't know each other. And then you continued online on a community platform and now you meet again with the same interests. So you'd be surprised of how many friendships are built based on that, how many collaborations actually are done through that as well. So that's one of my favorites. And then the second favorite, which is very cliche I know, but it works. And I know Heather, you're going to laugh at this, but it's, " Add a photo to your profile, automation rule." I think it's one of the first things Higher Logic says when you launch your community to have. It's a very basic engagement, especially when you're first launching or re- engaging even, revamping your community or anything of that sort. To have an automation rule that says, " This person posted once or a couple of times." However, you set the criteria of the automation. And there is a default of course, draft of an email that Higher Logic provides. But I would say you can change it up, and definitely I recommend changing it up and making it more personal. And you'd be amazed how many people will think that I personally send them an email asking them to add their profile picture, add a photo to your profile or put a face to the post kind of thing. Or after I thank them for doing something, for posting, they would respond, " Oh, great. Yeah. I love this." And I'll be like, " I have no idea what you posted, but I'm so happy that you found my automation rule believable and personal that you actually responded to my email." So.

Heather McNair: Yes. And it's a great way to find marketing quotes to crosstalk.

Maral Balayan: Oh yes, absolutely.

Heather McNair: Little side hint for people there. Yeah. Well, this was fantastic Maral. If people would like to follow up with you, if they have questions about anything you talked about, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you? Find you on LinkedIn or?

Maral Balayan: Yes. LinkedIn, Maral Balayan. I'm also on HUG, I'm still there even as a Higher Logic staff. I'm sure my name and my profile is available for them to connect with me and ask me any questions from my previous experiences, or now new experiences as a integration project manager.

Heather McNair: All right. Fantastic. Well, thank you. And thank you everyone for joining us today.

Maral Balayan: Thank you.

Heather McNair: And we look forward to another episode of the Member Engagement Show.

Maral Balayan: Thank you very much, Heather. And thank you everyone for listening. This was great.

Heather McNair: Do you love the Member Engagement Show, leave us a review. We really appreciate our listeners and all of the support you give us. Selfishly, we also want to hear what you have to say. So please leave us a review and let us know what you think.


In today's episode, Maral Balayan discusses how she got started in the online community as manager. The skills she has developed being an online community manager, HTML knowledge or CSS and some design. But, the main key is how Higher Logic functions. There are challenges being discussed as a community manager like the interest or approvals from stakeholders, board members and C-level executives; you should have a strategy for yourself.

Today's Host

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Alex Mastrianni

|Sr. Manager of Product Marketing at Higher Logic
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Heather McNair

|Community Industry Expert

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Maral Balayan

|AMS Migrations Project Manager, Higher Logic