This week’s readings revisited the idea of pinning down a specific job description for community managers. While it’s true that the duties and responsibilities of community managers vary by company (just as the office environment and reporting structure varies across company lines), there are a few tenets pulled from these readings that I think are applicable to all community managers:
1. Communicate, engage and build relationships
You’re nothing without the members of your community, and you have nothing without their unique voices and talents. To keep them coming back, and to facilitate an environment where people are self-motivated to return, is your ultimate goal. You should have polished communications skills, and the ability to engage and build connections between people should come as second nature, both on and offline.
2. Be good with numbers…
…Both from an analytics perspective and a strategic one. Know which metrics are important and why, and use the numbers you collect to your own advantage.
3. Listen to and empower your community members; make the empowerment and action process easy and attainable for them, your community members and the lifeblood of the very thing you built.
Facilitate change, and give people easy opportunities to help themselves. Model the user experience after what the customers want, and never lose sight of their value as your single biggest resource and provider.
How will the community manager’s job description change?
I think it’s a safe bet that job descriptions and the explicit roles of community managers will, by and large, stay pretty consistent. But the hard skills necessary (i.e. user competency on new platforms) to perform these tasks which will morph, and continue to develop as the technology develops. The adage that you must go where your customer or community is stands true here – whichever platforms house the target demographic you’re looking to engage should be the ones the community manager uses, and in that sense, the job description will evolve at the platforms evolve.
Also, if current trends in customer service and business are any indicator, I think the future value of the consumer may be a very variable thing between different companies and service industries. I think that the community manager’s job description will therefore include a lot more company-to-customer interactions; though not necessarily in the genre of marketing or of customer service.
I see community managers as people responsible bringing themselves and their company down to the level of their consumers. It takes a very gifted community manager and the right company to provide a space where the people interacting are enthusiastic enough about a company or service that they willingly talk about the company positively, and on the company’s turf. To me, that’s the ultimate goal, and it will be interesting to see how the appearance of that goal changes over time.