written by Mark McLaughlin | January 22nd, 2013
Last time we spoke about the definition, roles and content creation tasks that a Social Media Community Manager may be responsible for.
Community managers are the social media voices of their brands, fulfilling multiple roles including social media strategists, customer service managers, content creators, product managers and evangelists. They often must address the task of how to make community engagement multichannel. (source)
The moment you start thinking about it, the skill set expands. A short list for a Social Media Community Manager might include: evangelist, content creator, social media strategist, customer service manager, and indeed product manager. As in my first post, many people see this list in opposite order. What do you think?
Sometimes it might seem like you need the following to excel in the Community Manager space:
- the mental flexibility of a gymnast
- artistic creation talents like Picasso
- be a very light sleeper
- have the human insight and writing skills of a certain lauded William S.
- oh, and the ability to make good video.
A rather wide skill set request, some would say. The beauty is all of these creative paths are clear and present opportunities to contribute and advance the goals of your organization.
But the first thing, the major thing, and perhaps the only lasting thing that actually builds community engagement is to identify, listen and respond to your audience, participants, and community. To the degree you do this, we all win!
In post 1 of this series, Content Creation was addressed. The ultimate Sweet Spot is content that is created organically by your user to help achieve your business goals. In this post, we’ll look further at Communications and Marketing strategy referenced by LyntonWeb.
Community Manager Tasks & Responsibilities Can Include:
• Create marketing and communications plans to provide direction for your business or organization’s ’invitation to the world’.
• Implement the online community strategy; If it’s just you, think through the outcomes desired and the time frame for results. Write it down. Work that plan to move forward. In a larger business, government or not-for-profit organization, meet participants and potential champions widely to ensure plan development and buy-in. Get commitments, written is good. Help define expectations and strategies of support to assist all re: guidelines for the work, delivery model and expectations, and follow up to maintain customer service and community support and engagement.
• Keep communications channels like forums, blogs, moderation tools, up to date and functional while collating user feedback.
• Act as an advocate of the company in the brand’s community and as the advocate of the community within the company, engaging in dialogues and answering questions wherever possible.
• Maintain current participants and re-engage less frequently engaged members through items such as regular Tweeting, emails and a community newsletter.
• Measure engagement and growth of community by metrics like Twitter posts, mentions and Re-Tweets, Facebook and private domain URL visits, and of course, sales. Analyze and report on effectiveness of new strategies.
• Garner feedback and insights from community monitoring for you personally, and into the marketing and editorial teams if you have them, to help evolve strategies in a timely fashion.
• Ongoing learning means monitoring new and emerging online community tools, trends and applications. Attend seminars and conferences, and stage events and MeetUps.
Destin Haynes at HootSuite says,“In community building you have to be prepared to always learn and grow your skills”
Community Manager Interview:
Meet Destin Haynes – Director of Community at HootSuite.
1) Hello Destin, could you describe what you do as Community Manager at HootSuite?
I work with an incredible team to help grow and build community around the HootSuite brand and culture in international markets. We do this by connecting with and empowering users and fans through a variety of means including HootUps (user powered events), swag, online hangouts, videos and programs.
2) What specific tasks do you perform?
I manage and mentor a team of community builders which includes hundreds of international Diplomats. I also develop and implement the programs which we employ to grow and build community internationally including our HootUp, HootKit, Diplomat and Campus Ambassador programs. I also work with our VP of Community, Dave Olson, to develop and foster new community building ideas and programs including some exciting new ideas for 2013!
3) How long & where have you done Community Manager work?
I have been working directly in community management for 5 years. I began working in this field when I was working in the communications department for a non-profit and helping them to expand their marketing and communications efforts into the online arena plus outreach to new, younger donors. This was such an eye-opening experience for me – seeing such an incredible impact on the events and donor acquisition from our team’s efforts in the social space that I knew I had found my niche. After my time in non-profit communications I switched to working full time in community management at a social media agency which focused mostly on travel and tourism clients. From there I did freelance community management for a variety of clients before landing my dream job at HootSuite.
4) What have been your successes?
Seeing a new market expand and grow due to the efforts of my team is pretty remarkable. We do everything “cheap and cheerful” as Dave likes to say and to see those efforts (both big and small) turn into such a big community building ripple is really amazing for us. Additionally, having interns come to work in the HootSuite Community department that are new to the work force and a little unsure of exactly what they want to do then turn around and develop a passion and deep interest in community building is a great feeling. Dave and I strive to inspire our interns and treat them as part of the team from day one – no filing or getting coffee – it is contributing to the team and its goals right away.
5) Is any part of it fun and easy?
Yes and sort of (though there is hard work and difficult parts too). Community growing and building is incredibly fun. Outreaching to new users and fans, connecting with people, sharing stories – it is a great way to spend a day. I say sort of for the “easy” question as I think the more you work at something the easier it becomes. However, community building never remains constant. Each new market, each new community you start to grow is different from the last – different culture, different language, different internet habits. You can only take so much from the previous experiences and apply them going forward. In community building you have to be prepared to always learn and grow your skills.
6) Do you have any specific goals as a Community Manager?
I want to challenge myself as much as I can with my work by doing things like starting new and exciting programs, sharing HootSuite culture with as many new markets and users as possible. I also want to be on the cutting edge of community building – helping to shape and define what others are doing in the field by taking chances, developing new programs, new ways to build community or building and growing community in notoriously hard markets or industries.
7) Are you doing any off-line or In Real Life (IRL) activities for promotion and engagement?
Yes we do quite a bit of off-line IRL activities to complement our social outreach and engagement. One example is our HootUp program. While we use a ton of social media for engagement and outreach we truly want to put the social in social media and encourage our users to get out there and meet each other and we will share some HootSwag and HootLove with them while they do!
8) What advice do you have for future Community Managers?
First, learn to explain what you do and the value of the work you do. Prepare yourself to discuss community management with people of all levels from your friends and family, to teammates, to CMOs and CEOs.
Second, make connections, allies and friends in every other department of your company. Community impacts the rest of your company from top to bottom. Take the time to build internal community within your own company.
Finally, Do what you love and love what you do. I love HootSuite, and that makes it easier for me to manage my time and be effective in my role. I love what I do, who I do it with, and who I do it for.
Thank you Destin and HootSuite for sharing with us. I know the Community Manager role will continue to evolve with creative and rewarding tasks and opportunities.
How do you see the Community Manager position in your organization? Do you have one?
Please add your comments below!