Ask most community managers how their first 6 months on the job went and they might use adjectives like “bumpy”, “blind”, “messianic”, “crazy”, “looking for a home” and “swimming upstream”. Given the relative newness of the role outside of tech companies and the vast differences that exist between doing the role in a Fortune 500, not-for-profit, NGO versus a startup, there are very few roadmaps to emulate when starting out.
Building on my personal blog post from 2009, we actually have ranked the key roles that most community managers (aka the front line person that runs your digital ams, legs and sometimes brains) based on survey input from our seminal Community Manager survey. Hopefully you’ll find it instructive in the breadth of roles you may have hire for or deliver against, as my sense is most community managers enter their jobs on day one wide-eyed, bushy-tailed but without a good playbook.
Ranked #4 overall – Brand Evangelist – exuding passion for the brand(s) and being a walking role model for the type of people that company wants to attract, likely becoming an active participant in the community of interest
#6 Research Filter/Metrics Reporting – being able to synthesize community feedback information and analytics and make actionable insight that company executive can react to
#11 Client Stir Stick/Rallying Cry – becoming the internal rally cry and the conscience of the community/customer inside the company- practicing change management and changing processes that hinder community success
#14 Internal Trainer – becoming the missionary inside a company and provoking employee involvement, demonstrating success, communicating value and demystifying the world of tech and social media that supports the community
#15 Product Educator – being the guru, expert, historian and “details” person on the portfolio of brands/products the community supports.
Bridge Roles (between company and community):
Ranked #1 Overall – Communication/On the Ground Responder/Liaison – playing the intermediary role between company and community, whether it be planned or crisis communication and highlighting emerging issues as well as providing strong governance.
#2 Content Developer – whether it be video, pictures, forums, updates or blogging – creating a fresh supply of interesting news from the company and about the community
#7 Events Host – existing as the face of both online and offline events, creating a sense of presence and leadership at all communal occasions
#8 The Strategist/Community Evolution – helping develop new applications, platforms and course corrections for community engagement that also benefit the sponsoring company
#9 Program Manager/Administrator – managing and setting up the day to day details or running the community – staff, investment, activity tracking, communication, providing feedback…etc.
Ranks #3 Overall – Customer Support/Community-Minded Role Problem Solver – answering directly or providing a forum and process to solve member/customer break-fix problems or more ingrained issues with company, product or community
#5 Facilitation/Moderation – playing the role of ombudsman, rulemaker, conversation starter and referee in user generated forums and community debate inside and outside the community
#10 Recruitment, Social Networking and Outreach– recruiting new members into the community wherever they exist in new, connected, paid, social and earned media spheres and incubating top performing community members/highlighting key member contributions
#12 Technical – managing and supporting the key technical/.online interface with members/customers
#13 Officiating Disputes/Arbitration – tracking to what’s being said inside the community and in the external world, resolving issues and enforcing rules
For all you community managers out there, let us know if we missed anything and please join our Twitter collection of community minded at @communitygurus,