Community Managers: They’re Real People

The following image shows us the result of a company that did not value their community managers.
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Since this awkward, yet impactful, rebellion via twitter a couple years back, the role of a community manager has transformed into a more respected, well-paid, highly sought-after position. In fact, in the past 5 years of social media, the community manager has gone from “intern” to “professional in social business.”

The job description, the actual work, and the responsibilities of a community manager can often be unclear, but this is only because they are so numerous.
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They are building, managing, maintaining and growing the community surrounding their brand. They do this by practicing social, strategic, and smart social media.

What makes an effective community manager is easier to describe.

1) They must be passionate about their brand. Almost half of a community manager’s day is spent conversing with other communities, new users and prospects. Their passion for their brand has to shine brightly without effort if they’re going to be convincing.

2) Always on alert! Social media outlets don’t turn off, and customers don’t reserve their posts for the 9-5 work week. While it’s important to take sanity breaks, community managers have to be ready to respond 24/7.

3) Be a real person. Customers feel comforted knowing that they’re complaining to or reaching out to a “real person” rather than a “robot.” So acting like a robot and having strict rules and guidelines for how you respond to comments is ineffective. Here’s what works: humor, pluck, and quips.

Taco Bell seems to have this down pat. Sometimes just in fun,
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and sometimes for an effective campaign.
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This prominent personality comes in handy when dealing with perturbed customers. Social media posts are generally anonymous, and there is little negative recourse for posting something offensive, vulgar or harmful to your brand. There are options to delete post and cover this up, but it’s often not the best option.
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This snippet shows us that people get mad about their posts being deleted. Again, just from this snippet, we get a negative vibe for the brand. There are options to “hide” posts on Facebook. This option is clever because the post is only hidden from the public. The person who posted, and their friends, can still see the post. No one gets upset.

But the best way a Community Manager can handle these comments, is to spin them around and keep a positive vibe for their brand.
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For a more intense example, lets look at another snippet from the Mr. Bishop vs Cineworld conflict:

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While the end result was heavily debated, most respected Cineworld for standing their ground, showing that they are a business of real people, and they care enough to address their customers concerns, even if it is with a little spite.

So to bring the message home, the community manager at Cineworld proved that he was passionate about what his company was doing, the service they were providing, and the value they put on it. He responded promptly to the replies of Mr. Alan Bishop – what you see here is only a slice of the back-and-forth he courageously engaged in. And lastly, he showed the world that he was a real person. Effective community management!

Images courtesy of and



  1. I agree with what’s been said already! What you did that I didn’t think of was to show an example of when community managing isn’t utilized or done correctly. That was really smart and useful.


  2. Ashley,

    I very much enjoyed reading through this post! The points you focused on are very evident in today’s social media world. Even negative attention is attention to a brand. I watched an extremely corny Netflix movie a few weeks ago that included a social medial manager who posted the wrong picture to her publishing company’s FB page. What was thought of as a detrimental post ended up skyrocketing the company’s sales. I think that consumers like to be reminded that there are real people and honest ideas behind a company’s social media outlets and campaigns. Awesome examples!


  3. Ashley, nice job on your post. I like how you presented your information. Your graphics in the post allow for the information to be presented in a lighter mood, which is great.


  4. Hi Ashley,
    Great use of real world examples. I like your spin on the good, the bad, and the ugly of community management. Humor is great, as long as the CM isn’t aloof and sarcasm can get you into trouble. This goes to show the necessity of knowing how to adapt to the situation. When in doubt, kill ’em with kindness.


  5. Ashely,
    May I say excellent!
    You began with an image that clearly spoke volumes for the content we were about to read. And you kept true to the image while developing your content by providing us, the reader with several examples of what a Community Manager can do to help nurture and engage the online community regarding the value of the brand. But you also gave some very, very good examples of how to handle online customer complaints and disturbing post to a brand’s FB or Twitter page.

    In addition to your examples, this is one of the best lead in sentences to set-up your next example:
    “For a more intense example, lets look at another snippet from the Mr. Bishop vs Cineworld conflict:”

    And thank you for being a responsible content developer and giving credit for the images that you used in your post.

    Again, excellent content development, research and most of all developing content with accompanying images that allows us to relate and hopefully react.



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