Community Managers are the glue that hold a community together. Just like glue they bring together various parts and stick them together and make them work. It is with the emergence of online communities, that online community managers such as Rosie Sherry and David Spinks are able to help their respective companies reach new heights ans a wider audience.
Community mangers aren’t just focused on the growth of the company though, the role of a community manager is much more integral and complicated than that. They are the bridge between the consumer and the producer, and they are the pathway which turns one time customers into loyal advocates of the brand.
The role of a community manager is to create a presence for the brand, to make it alive, to give the brand a purpose that customers can relate to.
Being a community manager isn’t something that everyone is cut out for, given below are a few key qualities and skills essential to being an online community manager:
Communication Skills: A community manager should be able to communicate with everyone in the community properly and be able to make them feel heard.
Organizational Skills: They need to be able to organise various parts of the community so that the community works cohesively and also be able to arrange and manage various events pertaining to user needs.
Data Analysis: Community managers should be able to view various key metrics and pin point areas that can help the community and problem areas which are affecting community health.
Conflict Resolution: In any community, there will always be some or the other conflicts. It’s the role of the community manager to be able to assess these conflicts and find a peaceful and unbiased resolution to these.
An easier way to understand the importance of a community manager is to look at plants. For a plant to nurture, it needs to be in the correct environment, have the right amount of sunlight and right amount of water. If the plant can be correlated to a community, then the gardern lovingly tending to the plant can be related to the community manager.
Just like how different plants require various methods of gardening so do different communities. It’s the role of the community manager to know the various nuances of the community and make sure they are in tune with the community and can provide for the various needs of the community.
Now that we have a base understanding of what a community manager does, let’s look into the roles and responsibilities more closely.
We can sum up the role of a community manager in three simple words : Grow the community, but how does a community manager grow a community?
The first point obviously is to look at metrics and analytics. A community manager has to monitor social media outlets, online forums and blogs to find out what people are saying about a company or brand.
A community manager has to increase the loyalty of the costumer towards the brand or company, there are various ways to do this :
- Engaging with the community regularly, and making them feel like a part of the company instead of a bag of money.
- Rewarding returning customers with discounts or offers, especially personalised offers. If a customer is returning to you, they obviously like you and feel a connection to you, you need to nurture this connection by basically telling them, ‘Hey, we see you.’
- “Promoting” them by making them ambassadors or champions for the company, essentially asking them to spread their love for the company!
- Listening to and addressing and complaints the community might have regarding the company/brand. Anytime a large group of people gather, there will obviously be some or the other disagreements, either in community or between consumer and company, it is the job of the community manager to act as a bridge and help solve this conflict.
- Making sure that everytime your promoting the company your promoting the values of the company too.
- Not tolerating people who stray from your core values. A company will have value only as long as it’s upholding what it’s advertising.
- Organising events to attract more community members and to give existing members of community a chance to interact with the higher ups of the community.
These obviously are just a few of the various ideas and methods a community manager can follow to create a successful community, but, even these will not work if one key point is missing.
This is the one point that all successful community managers insist on as being the key to a successful community and the only thing that actually truly matters when one is a community manager.
Belief. Belief in your company's values, belief in the job, belief that you can create a successful and thriving community and thaf your community will actually serve a need that.
No matter how many skills one has, no matter how much knowledge one has, any community manager cannot create a successful community unless they belive that their community is needed and that it will help people. They can only make a community thrive and live and grow if they are passionate about the community and truly care about the community.
In short, being a community manager is a job that requires infinite patience, a huge amount of empathy, an out of the box thinking and also a tactical mind.