Community managers are important part of any business that has an online presence. They’re the people on the front lines handling customer questions and interactions on social media, managing private user communities, and, in some cases, also creating the content for the company blog or branded social media channels.
It’s a job that doesn’t come with a lot of praise and is often overlooked on importance. The reality is that a community manager is one of the core people who can make or break your success online. If I were hiring a community manager, these are seven essential skills I’d look for in someone to set my brand up for success. I hope they help provide value to you if you’re currently in search of your next community management rockstar.
First and foremost, a great community manager is a people person. This might seem odd, given that virtually all interactions happen from behind a screen or keyboard. It’s no secret many people have a different persona online than offline, which isn’t always a bad thing.
A community manager should have the passion, drive, and skills to make a connection with just about anyone online. Your community and audience are going to range all across the board in terms of personalities, levels of happiness, and desire to have a conversation. A community manager will be able to pick up on the nuances and act accordingly.
Content calendars, scheduled posts, hundreds of comments a day coming through numerous streams—those are just a few things community managers deal with every day. Having someone on your team who is hyper-organized is crucial. S/He’ll be able to keep the current conversation going while planning for the future ones and analyzing past performance.
Similarly, great community managers are able to prioritize the countless daily tasks that always pop up. They might start their day getting caught up on all the posts they missed over the night (because, you know, sleep), shift their attention to preparing the content that’s deploying over the next few days, and then put out a fire in the form of an unhappy consumer going stage-five crazy on every channel imaginable. Community managers should know which task is the most important in that moment and recalibrate accordingly.
If there’s one thing a community manager will do the most, it’s write. If you’re a big brand, you probably have at least one person who is solely dedicated to responding to comments everywhere you are online (or maybe even one person per channel, depending on your size). You want to rest easy knowing the person or people handling all consumer interactions online can form a great sentence in 140 characters or less and is in expert in grammar and punctuation. It’s sounds elementary, but plenty of people still don’t know the difference between to, two, and too. Your community manager should.
Chances are, your brand receives a lot of questions from consumers online, and some might be really difficult to answer. A great community manager will either be an expert on your brand or know where to look for information in a timely fashion (or both!). Since there’s probably not one person who holds all the answers in your organization, look for someone who has the street smarts to know where to turn for information without needing to go through everyone to get there.
If your online communities aren’t tracked and analyzed, how do you know if your efforts are working? Typical reports or spreadsheets will include data like community growth, various engagement metrics, traffic driven to brand properties, and conversions.
Look for a community manager who has decent Excel skills and knows how to compile the data points you need into a single document and can present it in a way that’s easy for all stakeholders to understand. Bonus points if s/he includes suggestions on how to improve performance.
It’s no surprise to anyone that user-generated content (UGC) can do wonders for any brand. Why? It shows consumers that real people approve of a product and are willing to share their experiences about it. But let’s be honest—finding UGC can be a tedious task if you don’t have someone dedicated to the job or the right technology to go out and find it for you. Even if a community manager can’t devote their entire time to finding content, they will know how to set up automation to find it or know of efficient ways to do it when you only have a few minutes a day to devote to the project.Finding #UGC can be a tedious task if you don't have someone dedicated to the job. Click To Tweet
Similarly, great community managers will know how to sift through keyword streams and find conversations that are happening about your brand without being mentioned. It’s a great way to provide customer service regardless of the sentiment. It’s also a great way to understand how consumers are talking about you or other topics, brands, etc. they’re associating you with. Your community manager should know how to synthesize those conversations and provide recaps to senior staff with recommendations on what to do with it.
Basic design skills
Community management is a fast-paced job where new and unexpected things are always popping up. One of the most common is probably “Crap! I don’t have a graphic for this!” Look for someone who either has a background in graphic design or knows enough about Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, etc. that he/she can create something at the last minute. As much as we’d love to plan for every image, dimension, or variant that we’ll need, there are always ones we miss. You don’t want your community manager to slow down and not post something just because they don’t have all of the assets s/he needs.
What did you think of these seven skills? Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you. Think someone else could benefit from the article? Please consider sharing using the buttons below.