It is not unusual to tell someone that you are a Community Manager and they give you that look where you might as well have told them you are a unicorn herder!
Contrary to popular belief successful Community Managers do not spend their time posting cat gifs on Facebook or Instagraming their selfies. If I was to describe what a Community Manager does, I would say they are responsible for ensuring active and engaged communities around a defined topic or topics by managing content, monitoring conversations and participating in those conversations to enrich an organization’s value to its community members. Community Managers are skilled in communications, social media, content creation, customer service, marketing, PR, events, analytics, business development, among other things. But the question remains – What does it take to be a successful Community Manager?
Community: While everyday of a Community Manager’s job is different, every successful one puts their community first. A “community” should meet some need or question for its members. It needs to be relevant in some way to the members, over and above what you as a company can offer as a product or service. Community Managers have a great understanding of who their community is. This includes its demographics, needs, interests, dislikes, etc. An organization cannot have an effective value proposition if it does not know its community members and its needs. By putting community first the other “C”s of community management become relevant – Content, Communication, Conversion and Customers.
Behaviors: It is important for Community Mangers to have deep understanding of the behaviors of the community as a whole and the various segments which exist within the community. Understanding behaviors can help build trust, bridge communication gaps and foster positive, engaging environments for communities to thrive. Behaviors are directly related to calls-to-action, including – comment, share, subscribe, get more information, donate, buy, contact us, sign up, attend, etc. While online networks and communities may have been created for people to connect and share information, it is my belief that successful Community Managers have the ability to initiate an drive change in perceptions and behaviors towards certain brands, products or services.
Agile: Successful Community Managers welcome and plan for change. If we used other synonyms for the word agile they include nimble, responsive, alert, and active – words which imply some degree of change. The goals of being an agile Community Manager are to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change in the community itself and the role of community management.
Sure Community Managers have the tasks of content creation, marketing, and social media, however, without an understanding the community, its behaviors and a lack of flexibility, they are not useful to the community and organization they represent.
So there you have it – my ABCs of successful Community Managers. What are yours?
Check out these exemplary Community Managers
Sheena Medina @SheenaMedina
David Spinks @DavidSpinks
Jonathan Brewer @houseofbrew
Sherrie Rohde @sherrierohde
Ally Greer @allygreer
Rosemary O’Neill @rhogroupee
Valerie Sparks @SparksSocial
Mila Gates @MilaCGates
Tim McDonald @tamcdonald
Natalie Rodic Marsan @rodicka
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