Communities don’t happen by chance. Community Managers MAKE them happen! How exactly do they do that?
No one in the group seems to know…exactly.
Everything. Pretty much anything that has to do with managing a community. But probably not what a social media manager does, maybe. Unless they do that, too.
The Community Manager wears many hats, which is already confusing. Even more confusing is they wear different selections of hats depending on the community they’re managing and why they manage it. These hats differ based on the topic of the community, whether a private or public group or if they’re communities of common interest or increasingly popular “brand” communities.
Let’s look at just a few things that Community Managers do.
Community Manager Hat #1: Moderator
Being a moderator means the Community Manager monitors group interaction to make sure it stays civil and within the established guidelines of the community. A moderator helps foster a good community culture. A moderator may delete posts, weed out spam, talk privately to members causing trouble, and sometimes, even ban certain members.
If a community is based on something like Twitter, they are unlikely to do much moderating. But on forums, Facebook pages, listserves, or other more discussion-based communities, the manager (or employees hired specifically for this job) will need to moderate. Moderating is an essential part of keeping a clean, welcoming community.
Community Manager Hat #2: Encourager
In any group, especially a new one, they need to be an encourager.
What do Community Managers do as encouragers? They may start discussions, post content for comment, or push others to participate. They may run contests or start polls. Basically, anything to make a community active and to get members excited about communicating.
Community Manager Hat #3: Ambassador
The ambassador is a hat specific to “brand” communities. Often, the Community Manager is the face of the company. They may answer questions or address concerns. They might contribute to a conversation in order to give the brand a voice in the community.
A brand ambassador strives to give community members a positive experience with the company.
Community Manager Hat #4: Tech Support
In small forum-based communities, the Community Manager may need to be the techie of the group. They need to solve technical problems the members may have with the platform.
They also need to keep the community platform up-to-date and working correctly, possibly adding new features as the group evolves.
Community Manager Hat #5: Analyst
A community contains a LOT of information. The Community Manager needs to analyze all that data to know how best to grow the community. This information includes statistics, but it also includes the general feel and attitude of the group.
Does the community feel hostile? Does it feel welcoming? Is one part of the group contributing something that another part would be interested in? The manager needs to always monitor and analyze the group as a whole.
These are just a few of the many hats a Community Manager wears. If it has anything to do with keeping a community growing and healthy, a Community Manager probably does it.
Comments or other thoughts? Tell us in the comments below!