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.