As companies strive to become more constantly connected and relevant to their customers via online communications, the point of connection is the individual usually known as the Community Manager. Therefore, as you can imagine, it is a promising career path. On LinkedIn alone, the number of people who have added “Community Management” to their skills list is up 46% year-over-year.
But what exactly does a Community Manager do? From the customer’s stand point, I imagined this person spent all day reading and replying to comments (and taking down offensive and inappropriate ones as needed).
And they do do this.
As an employee at a large company, I’d hear upper management wonder what customers thought of something and they’d say, “Ask the community manager if they keep track of this kind of sentiment.”
And they do do that.
I asked Intel’s Scott Jaworski, an expert on hiring and training community managers, what else a community manager does and one quote stood out. He said, “A good community manager works himself out of a job.” (Note: we had been talking about a specific community manager who was a gentleman, thus the pronoun.) Why that quote stood out to me was because I have heard that quote in reference to parenthood; if you’re doing your job well, you are working yourself out of a job.
Specifically, a leader of a true community empowers those in the community to speak up, help one another, and provide expertise and support.
What does this leadership look like?
Inbound marketing thought leader HubSpot recently wrote a post about Community Managers that outlined seven key skills that this person must have to successfully optimize the connection between company and customer. I thought this was a pretty impressive list, which included being a: content creator, marketing analyst, news junkie, customer service rep, community facilitator, funnel marketing manager, and project manager. Whew! Aren’t most of these full time jobs?
Sort of like the parent analogy. So many hats to wear. It comes down to being able to do many things well and to balance how your time is spent. Scott put together the ideal “day in the life” that looks like this:
A Day in the Life of a Community Manager
Community Manager Calendar: Tuesday, December 3
8:00 – 8:30 Arrive at office, grab coffee, check latest community activity
8:30 – 9:00 See particularly hot conversation; share with five members via email
9:00 – 9:30 Search internet for breaking topics relevant to customers
9:30 – 10:00 Share three articles and ask three questions about each topic
10:00 – 10:30 Conduct 1:1 outreach with ten active members around new topics
10:30 – 11:30 Meet with design team on new look and feel for community
11:30 – 12:00 Run reports on number of members and participation metrics
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch with CMO to update her on key metrics and performance
1:00 – 1:30 Conduct 1:1 outreach with additional ten active members
1:30 – 2:00 Ask co-worker in product development to answer three questions
2:00 – 3:00 Conference call with partner on having them participate in community
3:00 – 3:30 Check that email notifications are being received by members
3:30 – 4:30 Respond to emails from handful of community members
4:30 – 5:00 Provide feedback to product team on feature requests
Note how the time is split nearly equally taking care of the community members needs (while anticipating new ones) and providing valuable feedback to the company.
- Good communication
- Level Headedness
- Analytically minded
- Passion for the brand
So… like parenting you use both your traits (whether inherent or developed) and your skills (ditto) to build a community where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Where there is genuine connection, goodwill, learning, stimulation, and a reason to come back for more.
Viva la community. Thanks to the manager behind the scenes making the connections work.