Guest Author - Violette DeSantis
A key position in the technological age is the community manager. Community managers take on many roles. First and foremost they represent online customer relations. They serve as the go-between of companies and their clients or customers. They are responsible for putting the company’s best foot forward and they help ensure customer retention and set goals to grow the client or customer base. Additional roles include content creation; social media account management; customer support/relations and in some cases a handful of other miscellaneous duties.
Hiring a community manager is critical to any company that has an online presence whether their own, or one created by a community of their fans or in some unfortunate cases, their non-fan base. It is also extremely critical to the company that has no online presence. According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of adults use the internet. It is a given that anything they want to know about a business or product they will search for online or discuss in a forum.
A community manager should closely resemble your target audience, share your company’s vision and be tuned into social media. In representing your business they are a heartbeat away from any issue and sometimes available around the clock. Their ability to social network assists in putting out unwanted fires or flaming the good-news fires you want to spread virally across the internet.
Look for a community manager who is familiar with the social media tools of the day (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, industry specific forums and communities, etc.). They should have a thick skin, since they may face the brunt of criticism when a business decision or product does not meet customer expectations. In addition, they are a great communicator, writer and information gatherer. Think of them as the information liaison, the go-to person who brings information between the community and the business. In many cases, they might be the person who brings a solution to a problem to the table.
The fourth Monday of January is recognized as Community Manager Appreciation Day. It was instituted by Jeremiah Owyang who saw the value of this evolving job. Since 2010, online communities take the time to celebrate the person or persons involved with their business communication. If your business relies heavily on a community manager, the person who wears many hats to further the success of your business, take the time to tell them how valuable they are to you and your customers.