Published On: Mon, Jan 23rd, 2012

10 Attributes of a Fantastic Community Manager

In the Mind of a Community ManagerAs we celebrate Community Manager Appreciation Day today, I’ve thinking about the attributes, skills and behaviours that make a successful Community Manager (you can view all the #CMAD conversation on Twitter).

I’m lucky enough to have managed several high-profile communities throughout my career, ranging from mobile phone to sports apparel to food brands, so I’ve drawn upon my experience when compiling this list.

My colleagues Britta Heer and Jasper Krog correctly point out that Community Managers should be appointed based on their strategic, communication, social and management skills, so here’s what I consider to be the 10 attributes every successful Community Manager needs.

1. Strategic focus
There are many challenges and opportunities awaiting brands who engage in real-time conversations with fans, but this activity needs to be underpinned by a clear strategic framework and an effective Community Manager who understands and can execute the strategy.

2. Relationship development
The central focus of all Community Management activity is the ability to identify, nurture and develop long-lasting relationships with new and existing community members for the mutual benefit of fans and the brand.

3. Leadership
Effective Community Managers help shape the conversation which takes place online and they need to possess strong leadership qualities in order to guide the conversation and community in line with the overall strategy.

4. Issues identification
There are many examples of crisis’ blowing up on Facebook pages, but a successful Community Manager will be able to identify, monitor, intervene and escalate issues where appropriate, before they develop into a crisis.

5. Emotional intelligence
Admittedly, this is a very broad term, but Community Managers need to have high emotional intelligence and be able to spot, assess and respond to the emotions of the community using the correct tonality, language and frequency.

6. Attention to detail
Paying attention to detail at all times is critical to being a successful Community Manager. Whether it be posting content, replying to individuals or recording daily activity, focusing on and appreciating the detail is crucial.

7. Authenticity
Great Community Managers have the ability to let their personality shine through when engaging with fans, whilst staying true to the voice of the brand. These types of authentic, personalised conversations are what the community wants, rather than default, corporate answers.

8. Mediation
Frequently within online communities there are opposing views, which can often lead to inflamed, passionate and angry exchanges taking place between different community members. However, a good Community Manager will be able to calm things down, mediate and bring any conflicts to a resolution.

9. A ‘thick skin’
Online communities contain a wide spectrum of views and there are bound to be times when people vent their anger at the brand, product or community manager. Subsequently, having a ‘thick skin’ and the ability to remain calm and not take things personally needs to be part of the Community Manager’s personality..

10. Respect
Following the last point and it may seem obvious, but treating all community members with the respect at all times is absolutely essential when looking after communities. There have been many examples of bad Community Managers engaging in slanging matches with fans, causing reputational damage.

What attributes do you think somebody needs to be an effective Community Manager?

 

 

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at Ben-Cotton.com and Chief Quaffer at CraftySwine.org .

Displaying 7 Comments
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  1. […] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } socialwebthing.com – Today, 12:54 […]

  2. […] 10 Attributes of a Fantastic Community Manager – Social Web Thing The central focus of all Community Management activity is the ability to identify, nurture and develop long-lasting relationships with new and existing community members for the mutual benefit of fans and the brand. […]

  3. Christian says:

    I think writing skills are an absolute necessity. Not just spelling and grammar (though both are equally essential) but actual prose skills. Being able to create witty, intelligent and sometimes technical copy that is precisely suited to the product, brand and channel that the copy is going on.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Christian,

      I’m in full agreement. Although, I touched upon the importance of writing and prose skills in 5,6 and 7, perhaps it warranted it’s own point? It’s a core skill of every effective Community Manager.

      Anyway, I hope you had a great Community Manager Appreciation Day?

      We’ll have to get that beer in the diary 🙂

      Thanks,

      Ben

  4. […] This post was originally published on Ben Cotton’s blog Social Web Thing. […]

  5. Luke Winter says:

    Hi Ben,

    Couldn’t agree more. The role of a community manager is broad and requires a lot of different skills working simultaneously.

    You’ve focused a lot on the skills a community manager needs in order to interact with the user community, but I think it’s also interesting to look at how community managers function within their organisations.

    If a community manager is locked away with little interaction with the engineers making the products customers are asking about, I don’t think they can be as effective in communicating with customers as a community manager who is truly in touch with all parts of their organisation.

    I think that each company’s approach to positioning community managers within their organisation will be the factor really influencing how effective they can be going forward. Perhaps this will be easier for smaller companies with fewer employees, and that will put them at a communications advantage.

    No doubt we’ll both be fascinated to see how it turns out.

    Luke Winter
    Community Manager
    OneDesk

  6. […] Social Web Thing: 10 Attributes of a Fantastic Community Manger #CMAD […]

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