A social media community manager is very different from a social media strategist, although the same person can often wear both hats. A strategist will help you analyze the existing channels, your current marketing plan, and your budget and help you identify the best way to leverage social networks to share your message and engage your community.
Your community manager, on the other hand, will be the person who is tweeting, posting, friending, commenting, responding, and engaging with your customers, employees, and the members of your online community. Finding the right community manager can be critical to your social media success, so here are a few traits that I recommend you consider when searching for the social media “FACE” of your organization:
is for Flexibility – Community management is not easy. Sometimes the members of the community are happy, sometimes they’rre angry and being able to work with the members of your community to solve problems requires creativity and flexibility. Add to that, the job of developing new content ideas and finding new ways to share valuable information and that’s a lot to ask from one person. Ask any community manager and they will likely tell you that their day working with their community rarely goes as they had planned.
is for Attention to Detail – Mistakes can (and will happen), but having a community manager that has a close eye for detail will help you avoid a lot of mistakes. Whether they’re simple mistakes like grammar or spelling, or big mistakes like sending a message from the wrong account, you’ll want to avoid them by choosing someone with a close attention to detail.
is for Cool – A good community manager needs to have both a cool head and a cool hand, because ‘C’ also stands for Crisis. Every brand that leverages social media is going to have to deal with a crisis at some time, so having someone who doesn’t lash back at the community or engage in flame wars is critical. Additionally, they often have to understand how to convince social media ostriches of the value of social, an activity that can sometimes be extremely frustrating.
is for Empathy – A good community is able to listen to your community, understand their wants, needs, and concerns and be able to truly understand how to help. A community manager that doesn’t care about your community is of no use. Choose someone who is willing to listen, learn, and understand how your customers or community members feel. A little empathy goes a loooooooong way!
One suggestion for locating a community manager is to look within. Often, organizations have employees who already know their products and services and have a high level of interest in social media. Sometimes, this makes for a nice fit. Alternatively, search online job postings for community manager positions and see what qualities and experience other companies in your industry are seeking
Have other traits that you have found valuable, I’d love to hear them in a comment!