The position of “community manager” is relatively new. It’s also increasingly important.
The person in charge of tending to your online tribe needs to possess certain skills. Obviously writing, the ability to produce multimedia content, comfort with tech, experience, work ethic and intellect matter – as they do for any modern day comms position.
But managing a community takes more. It actually requires a very particular set of human personality traits.
Below, I list 8 of these. If you have others, please add them in comments.
- Humour and the ability to communitain. The online space is all about being noticed. Some brands don’t have – or cannot have – a funny brand persona. However, in the social space, a sense of humour goes a LONG, LONG way. Community managers that don’t take themselves too seriously and can take/make a joke have a leg up. The online world and social media rewards quipsterism – look for it when hiring.
- Tact. If your firm dives into social media it will encounter angry people and criticism. Being tactful is critical to putting out fires.
- The ability to empathize. For many of the same reasons your community manager must be tactful, they must also be empathetic. The online space is the most personal in marketing. Understanding how an issue looks from someone else’s perspecitve is essential. Absent empathy, how can a firm believe a community manager is adequately responding to the needs of its community?
- Concision. People read things differently on the internet. In this space, short, punchy thought wins. Your community manager better be able to spit it out quick. Snack sized content is the way of the here, now and future.
- Adaptability. In the digital space, shiny new objects appear every day. Your community manager must be ready to move and change with the times. Rigidity kills. Imagine if you hired someone in 2005 who believed Friendster was the be all and end all of social networks. Your firm might still be playing there.
- Quickness and decisiveness. Bottom line, you need to be quick in PR and comms in general. However your community manager better not be the kind of person who requires two days of thought to respond to an angry tweet. Speed is of the utmost importance in a crisis. It is equally essential for responding to questions, because the modern internet user EXPECTS an answer NOW – even to mundane questions. Wafflers and slowpokes need not apply!
- Chutzpah. My PR Daily colleague Sue Young had a great post on this. Your community manager should have it (see her post and you’ll get why).
- Persuasiveness. Your community manager must be able to build a case (which means they must be able to see both sides of an argument). This is a requirement for both external audiences (who he/she might need to persuade that your firm is not the devil) and internal audiences (who he/she might need to convince of the benefits of social media).
What personality traits do you look for in a community manager?