A Community Manager is one of the most essential, and yet also one of the most misunderstood, positions on any marketing team. While many make the mistake of assuming that a Community Manager is simply the new title for a social media expert, this position is actually a great deal more complex. Community Managers are pioneers in a developing field, people who have the unique combination of intelligence, charisma, web-savvy and forward thinking to build and grow online communities, especially those that develop around a brand or product. They are the voice, the personality, and the most visible representative of your brand online, all while encouraging the growth and development of the online communities that grow up around your brand.
What Is An Online Community?
An online community is made up of all of the people who interact with and hold discussions around your brand’s web presence. They are your primary target audience online, and your Community Manager interacts with them more than anyone else (usually on a daily basis). Your brand’s online community includes:
- social media, such as Facebook fans and Twitter followers
- individuals who comment on your brand’s blog posts or articles
- bloggers and other writers who create content about your brand
- anyone who publishes an online review of your products or service
- members of online discussion boards or other communities (like Reddit) who may discuss your brand and products
Your Community Manager must interact with all of these different forums, and act as a representative of your brand in each of them. They also work hard to attract more people to follow you on social media, generate business for the brand online, encourage people to interact with your brand online, and in turn also respond to issues or questions that may arise about your brand in an intelligent and sensitive manner.
The Qualities Of A Community Manager
An effective Community Manager must be:
- passionate and knowledgeable about your brand
- extremely skilled in social media and know how to best harness its potential
- sensitive enough to respond to issues or complaints about your brand
- exceedingly well-informed about your product, your brand and your entire industry
- have a strong, likeable and dynamic personality
- resourceful and flexible enough to think up creative solutions and refer your target audience to the right resources, departments or other information
Why Is A Community Manager Important?
A Community Manager is your gateway to your target audience. They often serve as the first point of contact between current and future clients of your brand, and play a crucial role in relaying your audience’s messages back to you. They also play a crucial role in determining how your brand is perceived by members of your audience; for example, if they approach a Community Manager with a query or complaint, and find that first point of contact with your brand pleasant, informative and helpful, then they will have a much more positive perception of your brand and you are more likely to translate that first contact into an ongoing relationship. They serve as your brand’s ambassador to the online world, communicating valuable information not only about your products and services, but also your brand’s corporate message, mission statement and values.
Your Community Manager is your best source of information on current online trends and discussions. Because they deal directly with your clients and customers, as well as potential members of your target audience, they are the best equipped members of your marketing team when it comes to being aware of trends and relevant news items, and knowing how to best respond to them. They will know what your target audience is discussing, what they are interested in and concerned about, and will be best able to respond in a useful, accurate and brand-consistent way.
A Community Manager bridges an important online gap between Customer Service and online content marketing. They have a direct connection to your target audience and are able to quickly respond to trends, events and news items the moment that they happen. They are also able to build and guide discussions that involve your brand, and can lead your target audience to important content, leading to a more informed and educated client base. They are crucial towards directing traffic towards your website and driving attention towards your social media, growing your number of online followers and your target audience with it. By being fully informed about the importance of your Community Manager’s importance to your content marketing strategy, your brand identity, and your company as a whole, you will appreciate the value they bring to your team and you will be better able to empower them to do their job as effectively and dynamically as possible.