Welcome to our Meet the 50 Team series, where we give you the lowdown on how the people at 50onRed get stuff done. This time we’re sitting down with our Community Manager, Ashley Feucht.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role here. What are your main tasks?
So, I manage the 50onRed community, which you can probably infer from my job title. “Community” is a pretty vague term, but it essentially represents the various audiences we touch. Our advertisers, publishers, team, and even potential clients or recruits all make up this community. It’s my responsibility to keep them engaged and informed across all channels, whether it’s with a newsletter, social media post, blog article, support ticket, or a flier we hand out at an event.
I also define the brand voice and tone, which are tailored to the different audiences we speak to and different media we use to communicate with them. For example, you’ll see a word like “awesome” in our blog and social posts because those outlets are more conversational, but not in informative resources, like support articles.
I get a lot of valuable input from the community, which is why I’m on the Product Team. Because I spend a lot of time communicating with people who use our products, I have a sense of what they want, like, and don’t like. I’m constantly relaying feedback to my team to help improve our products for the optimal user experience.
You’re on the front line of customer support for our products. What’s your strategy when helping customers who are frustrated or confused by their experience?
When a customer is anything less than satisfied, it’s crucial to be, not only helpful, but also empathetic. I’ll apologize for the trouble they’re having and assure them that I’m happy to help. Then, I’ll provide solutions to help them get unstuck. To speed up the process without compromising the quality of support, I have pre-written responses I customize for each case, plus a plethora of resources I can refer the customer to for more information. When I notice a common area of confusion, I publish a new support article to clarify the issue, or I brainstorm how to make the process more intuitive in the UI.
Because there’s no such thing as a perfect product, we do get the occasional bug report. Fortunately, our customers are typically very understanding when something is broken. I make sure I always thank customers for reporting bugs, because we may not have known about the issue if it weren’t for them. It also doesn’t hurt that our developers are super talented and quick to fix anything that isn’t working as intended.
Your background is in journalism, so what brought you to 50onRed?
Writing has always come naturally to me, but print media’s been on its way out for a while. That never fazed me because I knew digital had bigger things in store for writers, and I’ve always had a passion for technology.
I was hooked as soon as I got access to the internet in the mid 90s. The blood-curdling sound of a 28.8k dial-up modem made my little pre-teen heart skip a beat. Communicating with people around the world and creating content for the web blew my mind. Social media is a hybrid of those two things and, as it gained momentum, I picked up more and more on the innovative ways brands were leveraging technology to engage their target markets. Instead of being creeped out by an ad for, say, a pair of shoes I looked at on Zappos but didn’t buy, I was impressed. Digital marketing seemed to know me, which I preferred to completely untargeted marketing promising stuff like, “One weird trick to reverse receding hairlines (Bald guys HATE him!)”.
When a friend tipped me off to the position here, I was working at a digital analytics company. 50onRed needed someone to manage their social media and write marketing copy, which was right up my alley. I know everyone says this in their Meet the Team Q&As, but when I saw the office and met the people who worked here, I just had to be part of the company.
What’s your favorite aspect of your position?
Probably interacting with our customers. It’s really cool to see how our products evolve and being able to influence that growth. When we release a new feature or update that a customer requested, I get really excited to let them know.
What makes working for a startup company unique?
At a startup, new ideas are encouraged, and everyone’s voice is heard. Success is truly a team effort, rather than solely in the hands of the chief executives. Aside from providing an invaluable learning experience, startups tend to have some of the best corporate culture you’ll find. Simply put, they’re downright awesome. (Hey, there’s that word I said you’d see on the blog!)
You participated in your first ever hackathon, LadyHacks. What was that experience like, especially as a non-programmer?
LadyHacks was a lot of fun! I recently posted a blog about it, actually.
50onRed sponsored the event, and Lauren and I “wo-manned” our table of swag the first night. After that, I was on my own at a real hackathon, which was a little scary because I have very, very elementary coding skills. I quickly realized that a lot of LadyHackers weren’t programmers and we all had expertise to contribute.
It was a great confidence boost and really inspirational to see so many women with a passion for tech, especially because it’s such a male-dominated industry. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more females in STEM fields in the near future.
You also showcased some ideas at our internal Show & Tell. How was that?
As a member of the Product Team, I have a lot of opinions about UX. I’ve been on the online dating site, OkCupid, for longer than I’d like to admit, and they have a fantastic user experience. But, like any product, there’s always room for improvement. Show & Tell happened to fall on Valentine’s Day, which was the perfect time for a presentation about an online dating service. So I took the opportunity and went with it. I identified where online daters typically fall short by referencing firsthand experiences on the site (because, c’mon, that’s the real crowd-pleaser) and discussed how OkCupid could facilitate better connections with smarter tools and informative resources. Maybe someday they’ll roll out a feature that filters out shirtless bathroom selfies and cringeworthy messages to help me find my Prince Charming. I’ll hold my breath in the meantime.
What’re the coolest places to visit in Philly?
Every neighborhood in Philadelphia has a unique vibe. I’m a sucker for cheap dive bars, so I’ll take a seedy Fishtown pub over a snooty Olde City club, no question. The Dolphin Tavern, Time, Raven Lounge, and Rogue’s Gallery are a few of my favorite places to go dancing on a girls’ night out. On Wednesdays in the summertime, a bunch of bars participate in a neighborhood-wide happy hour called Center City Sips, and I can hop on the shuttle after work to get there in minutes. Outdoor pop-up bars have been really big the last few summers, too. If you like to shop, there are some excellent mom-and-pop boutiques and thrift stores on and off South Street in Bella Vista, like Bella Boutique, where you can get secondhand designer clothes and accessories at great prices and consign your own stuff, too. I also never miss the Punk Rock Flea Market twice a year, where local crafters and collectors set up shop in a huge warehouse and sell one-of-a-kind treasures.
What advice would you give people looking to work in the tech industry, but not necessarily as a developer?
There’s so much you can do in tech without ever writing a line of code. Social media, analytics, digital marketing, branding, graphic design, and content curation are just a few types of tech-related careers you can snag with little to no experience coding. It does make a world of difference to know basic HTML, though, which is easy enough to learn quickly without any formal training. Regardless of your skillset, having a passion for technology is an absolute must if you want to work in this industry. Figure out what makes you “nerd out” and immerse yourself in it. If you love writing, start a blog. Write guest posts for other blogs. If you want to work in UX, download the latest apps and use every feature. Contact the developers with suggestions–They just might take you up on your idea, which could impress potential employers in an interview or cover letter.
You’re the unofficial emoji designer for our internal messaging system, Slack. What’re some of your favorites?
Oh, man. When I found out we could create custom Slack emojis, I went to town! I’m not joking. One night after work, I went home and made emojis until, like, midnight. But can you really blame me? All the emojis I’d wished existed, I could actually make! (Fun fact: My friends and I were emojis for Halloween a couple of years ago. I probably get more excited than most people about emojis.) The hand gesture emojis are really… How should I put it? Useful? Applicable? Handy? Yeah, handy. There’s the “W” hands for “whatever”, “L” for “loser”, and a “fingers crossed” emoji. I even made an emoji of my face.
You’re really into karaoke as well. What’s your all time fave song to sing?
My friends and I usually sing together. Our go-to karaoke jams are 702’s “Where My Girls At?” and Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”. I’ve been known to belt out a few solo tunes, though, too. My favorite is Edie Brickell’s “What I Am”, or No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” if I’m feeling particularly brave. If you can’t tell, I have a soft spot for 90s music.
Next time I do karaoke, I want to sing “Love Shack” by the B52s as a duet with myself [insert “forever alone” meme here]. It’ll either be really funny or really lame, but there’s only one way to find out.
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