So you've got yourself an online community and need someone to take care of it... Considering the recent wave of Web 2.0 technologies and the advancement of community and forum-type platforms, you think it would be easy to find someone who can head up a community, right?
Not even close.
The job of community manager is a fairly new one and often encompasses a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Finding just the right person to fit the bill can be a challenge. Starting with the right job description is critical to making the right hire for the position. The bottom line is that you won't find someone who can do every single thing on your list. You'll need to know up-front which responsibilities are more critical to your community than the others.
DETERMINE WHAT YOU NEED
Consider these points when writing up the job description:
- What level of project management will your Community Manager need? Is this a senior position where the CM will drive the strategy for an enterprise community consisting of thousands of users? Or is this role for an already established community where there are others driving the direction of the program?
- What are the specific skills needed to manage your community effectively? For some communities, the CM will need to be able to do a little bit of everything. From graphic design, to writing, to analytics, you will have to determine which of the broad range of activities are most important for your community manager.
- Is the position internally or externally facing? If your community manager will be dealing with customers on a regular basis then the job description needs to highlight that factor. On the other hand, if your community manager will need to navigate the inner workings of company politics, then that's another skill set altogether.
Here's a list of possible Community Manager roles and responsibilities:
- Help desk: Respond to user questions, help on-board new groups. Act as a technical expert for the community. Elevate questions that cannot be answered to your support team.
- Teacher/trainer: Create help documents, videos, and host events where users are trained on how to make the most of your platform. Get ready for a lot of change management in this part of the role.
- Hand-holder: To nurture engagement you have to hold some hands. Connect with users, encourage their activity, ensure questions have a response.
- Project Manager – Communities don’t build themselves. There needs to be somebody who's got the big picture in mind. You’re going to be responsible for creating and delivering all kinds of reports, briefings, fact sheets, and metrics and you’re going to need a plan for how to meet those deadlines and still engage with the community itself.
- Consultant: Groups will come to you to find out how they can best use the community to get work done. You'll need to be prepared to act as both experts and adviser in these consultations.
- Writer: From blog posts to help documents, the community manager should have a voice and writing skills to back it up.
- Cheerleader: Enthusiasm for the job and the community are a must have! Your community should feel the love and positive energy. Celebrate community successes.
- Graphic designer: You want your site to look pretty, don't you? Having graphic design skills can make your community manager a superstar in your organization. Let's face it, everyone wants to look good.
- Referee: At times, you might need to step in between users or else make the call on whether something should or should not be posted. At the end of the day, you want everyone to make nice and get along. Or at least agree to disagree.
- Marketeer: Advertise activities to promote new users and engage returning visitors. You might even need to advertise outside your community in order to draw people in.
- Psychologist: For many, blogging in a community is an act of self-exposure that is uncomfortable to some people. You might have to help people, especially executives, overcome their fear of being that transparent.
- Party host: Your community is the longest running party you will ever plan and attend. Your job is to make sure the fridge is stocked, drinks are flowing, and music is playing all night long. You'll also have to make sure the room looks good and the invites are send and resent as needed.
- Comedian: Let's face it, life is better when you are having fun. Make your community laugh once in a while, it's good for them and boost engagement. Comedy can also stir up things when content gets stale.
- Leader: Admit it, you can't do everything yourself. By engaging other people to help you with certain aspect of your community, you'll be building a strong network of advocates who will keep your community alive when you need to do things, like sleep, for example.
- Advocate: When bugs pop up, and they always do, you'll need to raise the issue up with developers to get them fixed. Or when things can't be fixed, explaining the situation and smoothing feathers in the may be required.
- Ambassador: If your site is customer-facing, your community manager should be ready to be the brand and speak to the decisions and key strategies of your company.
- Analyst: Behind every community is a pile of numbers, numbers that need slicing and dicing to make up the reports that the sponsors of your community will demand.
- Police man: Monitor posts and moderate as needed: Keep a watchful eye on the community. Provide rapid response for inappropriate or flagged posts. Deactivate or delete users when necessary.
- Janitor: Every good party needs some clean up every once in a while. From dead groups to out of date content, regular cleaning of the community is necessary for the health and wellness of your site.
Here's a good example of a community manager job description:
JOB DESCRIPTION - EXAMPLE
Jive is seeking a socially savvy and driven individual to champion the use of our own products to the benefit of our employees in the Brewspace community. The enterprise community manager will consult with individual business units to develop a plan to optimize the use of the internal community to meet the needs for collaboration as well as help our employees better engage with customers. This individual will be responsible for the strategy and management of Jive's social intranet and develop strong relations with the external senior community manager to execute on a single strategy for community management. The internal community manager will report to the Sr. Social Media Manager.
- Determine strategy for home page architecture and design
- Engage closely with each business unit to consult on how to get the most value out of the community
- Develop a plan for community improvements and how new use cases will be brought on board.
- Define and set measurable goals for each major Jive community.
- Mentor and advise designated space/group community managers to help them curate and optimize their respective social channels
- Develop and/or facilitate employee-wide trainings on community best practices
- Help define and enforce consistent governance policies
- Lead by example in promoting an open, positive and active employee community
- Motivate and engage users daily; create excitement around community initiatives
- Work with the help desk to identify issues and track them through to resolution
- Coordinate with marketing to represent community management best practices and case studies to external audiences via blog posts, presentations, etc.
- Develop of network of community advocates to help champion best practices and groups.
- Work closely with Jive product management to triage and funnel user requirements for inclusion into the product road map when appropriate
- Create and manage social rewards and recognition program for employees
- Develop and report metrics consisting of both qualitative and quantitative measurements that helps Jive evaluate collaboration
- Stay up to date on the latest social trends
- Excellent organizational, writing, and presentation skills
- 5-7 years project management experience
- Open and honest communication skills
- Hands-on and self-driven
- Passionate about community best practices, principles, concepts, and technologies
- Ability to work collaboratively with a geographically-distributed workforce
- Ability to work across all functional organizations as well as levels in the organization
- Basic UI/UX design knowledge
- Multi-tasker who understands how to develop tactical plans that align with the company's strategy
Before you cut and paste this position word-for-word, remember that your community is a living, breathing organism that deserves the best community manager you can find. This list should only be a starting point.
In the end, finding a community manager that fits the job requirements and company culture is up to you.
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