I think the community manager needs have many skills like
I came from a marketing background in financial services. I've seen that the following skills relate to both marketing and community management. I believe the "art and science" of marketing is critical in community management, specifically:
strategy development -- what are your goals and objectives
product development -- building out the community to meet those goals and objectives
change management -- helping users understand how the community can help them meet their goals and objectives
influence management -- building consensus that the future of the community rests on the contribution and collaboration of each user
I love the way you broke this down, Patty! I like that it doesn’t specify technical skills (because we can teach those easily), but specifies talents that you can show through different work histories.
Enterprise Community Manager
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Rachel, I'd be happy to talk with you about this as it's something I feel really passionate about. There's so many companies in need of community managers and no clear path to get there. I personally would like to start a campaign out to universities to connect with their psychology, communications, and other liberal arts majors to teach them about this career path and look at ways they can build their skills. Anyway, maybe I'll write a blog about THAT idea. Either way, feel free to call me!
Good day Rachel,
No matter an internal or external community - the manager needs to be an upbeat, firm and fair, customer-centric relationship builder.
They need to develop metrics that will let them know if they are achieving goals and here adjustments need to be made.
Understanding tools like Google Analytics, Jive, Hootsuite, etc are great, but it is the attitude I am looking for first. I can train skills, not attitude.
Cheers to that! I think it's very important that we nail down the attributes needed for these roles, more than the specific tech skills. Those can be taught - I, for the most part, learned Jive on my own after being hired as a CMGR for a Jive platform.
I totally agree with Toby - attitude is key. You can teach the skills, but if someone is not enthusiastic and really believe in social business, it won't end well.
And Trish has an excellent point about them needing to feel that the company gets it as well. Building community can be a big uphill battle because you have to change behaviors, so trying to keep it so the battle is only on one front is very helpful.
Thank you Tracy!
Rachel Duran I came from the both Instructor & Customer Support worlds and work an internal community. I think having domain knowledge of the core business for that community is quite helpful to seeing relationship connection opportunities. Being a connector needs to be a strong skill.
I learned a lot of lessons from the PR community to help in my own Strategic Communication. Fundamentally, i think I CM needs to have strong skills in most forms of Communication - writing, verbal - phone and face to face. You have to become very clear and articulating the value proposition for changing the way a person works. I do a lot of phone follow up with busy people and you have to quickly establish a rapport and then lead them through the least number of steps to achieve success on their desktop. I have become much better at giving elevator speeches for folks working deep in the cubicles to senior executives.
Trisha Liu thoughts?
First and foremost, a community manager has to actually *like* people. Or at least be interested in people and be willing to have conversations with them.
There are a lot of reasons why a person might be closed off from having conversations with people:
- Fear - "What if people are mad?" or "What if I don't know the answer?"
- Bad attitude - "Customers / People are so annoying", feeling others are "clueless users"
- Content over connection - too much focus on "crafting a message" and one-way communication. My favorite resources on this one are from Kevin Jones - blog post and video
- Lack of authority - "I care about customers / employees / community members, but I don't think my company does"
Community managers are the bridge between corporate goals and member goals. Hopefully those goals are the same, but sometimes they look different on the surface and there can be tension. A successful community manager is able to sit within this tension and represent the multiple stakeholders. This can feel tricky. The company might say to the CM, "Hey, you represent us." Since I started out as a Customer Advocate, my feeling is "I represent the customers back into the company, AND I am a face of our company to the customers." External CMs may face more of this tension, but it can apply to internal CMs too.
I'll echo Patty on influence management. Being able to influence others is very important in community management. You're always looking for more participation, volunteers, support, and buy in on the value of community. Even if the community is successful, letting that success speak for itself isn't enough. An amazing community managers can win over the naysayers or indifferent parties.
Happy to chat more!
Done! I look forward to chatting!
Great, shoot a Google Hangout :)
I used to think this could be one role but I'm starting to think it could be decoupled.
1. External social is way more involved with running ads, lead generation and the like.
2. Internal community management is about training, engagement, finding new content, etc
I'm new to this space but the more I think about it I think the roles could be different.
Good idea, Matt! Who would be interested in a Google Hangout discussion about this?
I'm deep into planning an entire project around defining social business, the roles that define the field, training & tips for students/career changers that are interested, and thought leadership around the future of collaborative work, crowd-sourced innovation, and online marketing.
I'd love to see if we all agree on the same issues we're facing or if there are layers to peel off of this onion. I'd also love to see who would like to be involved as a contributor!
Count me in, Rachel!
I would like to participate in the Google Hangout, too. I'm really interested in this discussion and think Rachel and Libby Taylor are on the vanguard of an important movement. We just need a tagline or hashtag...