Who’s your mascot?

A community manager is the mascot for an organization; they get others motivated and excited about the brand they are promoting.  They find ways to relate the product to the consumers to make it a desirable commodity.  Management skills are essential for a community manager as they are often leading a number of projects at one time.  They could also be considered social media wizards; this is essential in their daily communication process.  Above all, a community manager needs to be a people person; they are the liaisons between the community and the organization. 

The community manager plays a variety of roles on a daily basis. The fact that they have the ability to change their role at a moment’s notice, while making it appear seamless, makes them unique.  They are translators between the public and the organization; along with translating between departments in the organization.  Deciphering what is working for the company and what is not, makes them master analysts.  Conflict resolution between the community and organization allows them to play the role of therapist.  And let’s not forget one of the most essential roles, a sheep herder.  They corral the people to spend money with their brand through social media, community awareness, and their persuasive nature. 

Listening and responding are the most essential things a community manager can do, whether it is through virtual means or a face to face meeting.    When a customer makes a complaint, they want to know their voice is being heard, so prompt feedback is crucial.  Ensuring customers that they are being heard and something is being done on their behalf creates customer retention and referrals from satisfied clients; online communication must be monitored on a daily basis.   

Along with being connected to the community the community manager should also be connected with every department within the organization, especially the development department.  A community manager should be an expert on the brand they are advocating, as they are the icon for their brand (just like a mascot is the icon for the team).   In essence, the community manager must create a perfect mixture of listening, responding, facilitating, coordinating, managing, supporting, analyzing, reporting, advocating, sharing, being technologically savvy…the list goes on.  Wow!  Do community managers have any free time?

A committee that could benefit from a community manager is the Coordinated Community Response Team I facilitate every other month.  The Waupaca County Coordinated Community Response Team is a community collaboration whose vision is the creation of safe, just, equitable and healthy environments.  These meetings are held monthly and are open to the public.  I have been facilitating this group every other month (another team member facilitates the other months), but our attendance at these meetings is minimal.  Our ideal vision of this group would include law enforcement officials, judges, the district attorney, community members, etc.  Without the collaboration and input of others, we are not effectively addressing the needs of the community, which is the goal of our committee.  Our meetings are held during the lunch hour so we realize this could be inconvenient for some to attend.  I just created a brochure last month discussing what CCRT is and our goals.  We have been distributing them within the county.  However, now that I am learning more about social media sites and their advantages, my thoughts have turned to: what if we open a social forum for community members to  post any issues they are concerned about?  Then at least if they couldn’t make it to the meeting, we could still address the issue at hand.  This will be a topic I present to the group, as it is a way for us to gain some awareness within the community.

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9 Comments

  1. Heather,

    I like how you used so many different depths of the position as a community manager. The metaphor that they are the mascot is so spot on. A mascot represents the team, through wins and losses and that is exactly the challenge the community manager faces. The mascot is front and center supporting the team even when the worst happens. I think this relates really well with Zina’s post that I just read about CVS. The community manager is there to show that their decision is the best decision despite that back lash they may or may not receive by stopping the distribution of cigarettes in their stores.

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  2. Heather – I enjoyed reading your post! You make so many good points about being a good community manager. One point that particularly stuck out to me was, “When a customer makes a complaint, they want to know their voice is being heard, so prompt feedback is crucial.” It is so important to not only, respond to the customer’s comments, but respond quickly so they feel important. With the speed of technology these days everyone is in favor of fast! Waiting to respond to a customer can cause negativity toward your organization and word of mouth can travel quickly. Great post!

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  3. Heather, your emphasis on the vast array of roles a CM is expected to play prompted two thoughts. 1) For the CM position to be successful, it takes a very special person (equipped with ample dedication as someone else posted) who’s willing to contribute loads of energy to this time consuming job. 2) Are there formal training programs available for people interested in becoming a Community Manager? The position is delicate and complex and I feel like social media/marketing/business experience might not offer all of the necessary skill-sets for the job, especially when the social media world is still so new.

    Nice post! 🙂

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  4. Heather, one of my favorite quotes from your post “hey are translators between the public and the organization; along with translating between departments in the organization. ” Excellent!

    Listening, engaging, responding and are essential to anyone, especially the Comm. Mgr. when it comes to representing the community and brand.

    Your thoughts on using certain social media channels, digital or mobile tools to move beyond “paper communication (push) and moving forward with building a strong and cohesive online community is a great idea. Look at your demographics and what tools and networks are easily within their reach. Be honest when it comes to what technologies they are using to be a part of your online community. More affluent will use laptops, smart pads and smartphones. The more economically disadvantaged will use more smartphone technologies to connect, join, engage and become a part of your online community.

    Nice post.

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  5. A community forum sounds like a great idea! Please let us know how it goes if you’re able to get it up and running. I would also be interested in one of your newly created brochures, as I live about 15 miles from Waupaca.

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