UPDATE: This was written in 2012 but the list is still pretty solid and applicable in 2019.
Consumers are constantly bombarded with information…it doesn’t have to be marketing but that’s certainly part of it. The difference between now and 8 years ago is that the consumers are inviting the conversation into their own living room. Think about that for a second. Which brand would you want to invite over and have a conversation with in your own home?
Let’s flesh that real world analogy out a little further. The Brands are guests in your home. For example, there’s the guest that won’t leave when you’re tired, the guest that comes over to dinner under the pretense of “hanging out” but then blindsides you with a pyramid scheme or the guest that drinks too much and says obnoxious things….all of those examples leave an overall bad vibe. When you start to dissect marketing this way it becomes a little more clear why having some person as a company voice (not just a logo) becomes so important The community manager is your company voice. Your community manager should know how frequent to post, whether or not your audience is becoming fatigued with a particular campaign and when you should sell as opposed to just plain “talk.”
I put together 7 qualities that help make an amazing community manager.
7 Qualities That Help Make an Amazing Community Manager
A good company voice in my opinion is one that is visible, tangible, everyone knows who they are…or equally as important…everyone *thinks* they know who they are. “Oh sure, that brand is funny/sarcastic/serious/charitable/grateful/elitist etc. etc.” All of the communities I’ve managed I was an integral part of it. At Everyday Health if a blogger was in the hospital or recovering from surgery the blogger’s readers/community knew to ask me for updates and in turn I knew what members of the bloggers’ community was the most appropriate to ask to blog about an update…sometimes that person was me. At ICEdot I’ve gathered a few offline events and actually joined the community as one of the bloggers feeding information and most importantly I enjoy it.
I’m not really sure that’s the right title but what I mean is that I know how to set up my own analytics, custom WordPress blog, add rich media, make a movie, add a design, run a contest on respective tools that allow me to do so. Being able to work with designers and developers efficiently means you have to have some knowledge of where to start…or even better able to do it yourself.
Most good community managers I know are creative. That creativity is always driving them to try something new, say something appropriate but engaging off the cuff and stay a cut above those competing for their community members’ attention. I once sat in a bar in NYC with a fellow community manager and we talked for two hours about new ideas we wanted to try that had never been tried before. It’s in our blood.
Things change fast in our world and the only way to keep up with it is to read. Being relevant is extremely important for a successful community. Sometimes we read to keep in touch with our community sometimes we read to know how to. Plus our tools that we use are in a constant state of evolution (ahem, Facebook). Actually, I look skeptically at anyone that claims they are a Facebook expert. The platform evolves so quickly that I doubt all the people that work at Facebook could claim they are an expert.
Empathy: The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.This is one of those things that make us good at our job. When you posses empathy you are in a constant state of feeling (or trying to) put a gauge on how your community or community members are feeling/experiencing. Remember when I talked about not fatiguing your community about a specific campaign? That’s a great example of empathy at play as a community manager.
You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize writer but you should be well versed in writing and spotting good community contributors. It doesn’t matter if it’s an email, social media update, blog post, photo caption…writing well is one of your greatest tools.
If you don’t who will? There is a tasteful and distasteful way about doing this and the old adage of “don’t burn bridges” and “pick your battles” come to mind. But I feel as the community manager that you have the chance to really stand up for your community members if and when they need your advocacy.
Lastly, I’d like to give credit to the author that sparked the idea to write this post. Please check out Anni Bricca’s post called, “Reasons Why Your Company Needs a Community Manager.“