The Role of a Community Manager

First lets define a “Community Manager”, according to Wikipedia is a person who is working to build, grow and manage communities around a brand or cause. Seems like a big job? Well, it is.

According to the June 2010 issue of AdAge, “the hottest jobs in marketing might just be the community managers.” 

P&G, where the role of a brand manager was invented, now that title has evolved to community manager but essentially the role is the same, they engage in the brand’s community of followers. However, the best way to strengthen your role as a community manager is by delegating tasks to your members – as in any management role. The power of your community is only as good as your members.

Why are community manager vital to your organization?

The first role of a community manager is to welcome new members and I don’t mean by copying and pasting the same message to everyone. Make it personal and encourage other members to do the same. The more welcome a member feels, the harder they will work to engage because they know you are listening.

Secondly, create engaging and dynamic topics. Encouraging other members to pitch their ideas will lessen your load and bring more ideas to the table. Reward members for going the extra mile and creating interesting dialogue. After the topic captures the attention of others make sure it receives attention. A conversation between yourself and one other member might be difficult, delegate the responsibility of other members to get involved and post comments.

Make sure the community stays positive as sometimes arguments can ensue, causing a negative tone to vibrate through the online community. Again, it will be up to the community manager to delegate a response team to confront some of these arguments and diffuse the situation. It is a great to have an opinion but you don’t want to cause friction between the members.

If the community is new, it is up to the community manager to provide the initial content so that other members understand what the goal of the community is and the kind of topics they hope to discuss. After that, members will understand the theme of the community and be able to come up with topics on their own.

As a community manager has a number of tedious tasks to do on a daily basis – spam does not have to be added to the list. Managers can empower members of your community to report unwanted, website spam when/if seen on the website. Giving members the power to delete spam might not be necessary but any little bit helps.

One of the most important jobs of a community manager is to encourage inactive members to become active. Members who are not engaged or contributing aren’t really members and must be motivated to start up again. As in the welcoming of new members, a mass email will not work and a community manager must know their members well enough to tap into their interests and get them back. Getting members with similar interests to reach out with you will also help – always remember you belong to a community and that is the beauty of never needing to work alone.

Lastly, and one of the most delicate tasks you can delegate to someone is the keys to Twitter and Facebook. This must be a member you trust and respect. Someone who has shown enthusiasm in the community and its mission. This member will set the tone for personality and culture of your community. They will be in constant engagement and must be responsible enough to keep both those forums up to date.

Administrative duties, such as deleting content and members can be reserved for the role of a community manager. However, the ultimate goal of a community manager should be to delegate most of their initial responsibilities out to their members. In the long run, this will make your community stronger and much more engaging.

As AnaRC posts in her blog,  

“The role of a community manager is really to lead the orchestra. You have the music writers, those who play the flutes, the violins, the bass, and so forth. Each instrument is unique and plays amazing music. But when it’s played in harmony together, that’s when they magic happens."


[Creative Commons Image Credit: Globe]

[Creative Commons Image Credit: Lego Characters]