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Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Alice Cervia: As Head of Community and Video Production at Userfarm I run the daily supervision of Userfarm’s vibrant global crowd of filmmakers, with the help of a multilingual team of network managers. I work both on open video contests and on direct productions with our top talented filmmakers.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
AC: I report to the COO and Director. Ours is a small and agile team, and I am really working with all the different stakeholders within the company, so I am daily in touch with the New Business Team, the administration, the community managers, IT and, of course, with our wide crowd of filmmakers.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
AC: In this job, you definitely need to be a people person, to know what a communication brief is and to be passionate about video. It’s also key to manage the unexpected: the crowd always surprises you – you never know how until the last few days of a project. It might happen that a brief you thought was tricky is loved so much by the crowd that you receive hundreds of beautiful and unexpected videos.
E: Tell us about a typical working day
AC: I start my day by checking my inbox and answering clients’ and filmmakers’ emails. After that, I usually catch up with the network manager team to monitor all our active projects – we always have literally hundreds of videos being produced around the world
One time-consuming but rewarding task is also watching all the great entries we receive, in order to monitor how the projects are going. When I am not working on video contests, I am taking care of direct productions: defining timelines and budgets; reviewing video drafts and debriefing directors according to clients’ indications.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
AC: I love watching the unbelievable ways in which filmmakers can convey a creative brief, if given a bit of freedom. I hate it when really great films are overlooked by clients. Luckily this is very rare.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
AC: My goal at the beginning of each project (open contest or direct production) is always to generate content that can deliver the required message in an unexpected way. I guess you can define your success based on how much a client likes a video that is something completely different from what they were expecting.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
AC: Our entire content and community management system is built in-house, otherwise, no hi-tech tools, just a lot of time on the phone with creators from around the world.
E: How did you get into social tech, and where might you go from here?
AC: I have a journalistic background (online and offline magazines and radio broadcast) and, after working agency side, I decided to get closer to video content creation. I have always been a passionate storyteller and believe in the power of video, especially shorts, to tell a good story.
E: Which brands do you think are doing social well?
AC: Ferrero (Tic Tac, Nutella) are really using a lot of creative, engaging social video across many different markets and managing crises effectively. WWF is also very adept at using social to spur huge numbers of people to take action, especially around their annual Earth Hour event.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in social media?
AC: Become a human relationship expert. Study the best case studies, the crisis management ones in particular. Go beyond advertising and marketing, look at politics. Managing a social media environment means – especially for a brand – to be ready to face any issue with any kind of people,and be as genuine as possible.
You have to listen, understand and answer in a transparent way. And you must be able to say “thanks for your feedback. We’re sorry, and we’ll do better next time.”