Anatomy of an ideal community manager – ten top attributes

This is my second of four posts on motivation…

I was not alone in my scepticism about the mission to ‘get people to be excellent’ at ECEW, where employee engagement is a central stream. Many of the delegates are talking about motivating legions of staff in contact centres. We don’t hire legions of staff into social media roles, but we do need to hire people with the right aptitudes and attitudes.

Heather Taylor, community manager at the BBC, was a welcome and timely dose of optimism to counter my leaning towards cynicism.

The community manager is a new and crucial role for companies who are implementing a social media programme. This is the pivotal person or team that engages, on behalf of the company, with the social web.

Finding the right person for this job is a major headache for many brands today. A headache that is going to continue for the medium term as people in the role establish, with nobody to learn from, new best practices and ways of working. Finding someone you entrust to do this experimental work on behalf of your company is a challenge. There is much attendant risk and little experience in the market to help guide brands to the right hire, and subsequently the appropriate training and support for the winning candidate.

Fascinating then to get such a lively dissection of the anatomy of the ideal community manager – job description, values, motivations, needs. I’ve taken the liberty of listing just ten of Heather’s tips. There’s much much more but you’ll need to petition her to write it all down.

Taylor: the community manager is a bridge between a brand and the social web

Community managers must:

  1. be able to adapt their tone and converse
  2. not make conversations personal
  3. have a thick skin
  4. be passionate about creating content
  5. have cross-platform communications skills – to flip between video, audio, spoken and written word as appropriate
  6. be patient and politically astute –  they need to bring people with them and motivate them
  7. be able to handle one-to-one-to-many communication
  8. be able to handle and resolve conflict
  9. be curious
  10. have core technical skills

The notion of the need for passion in business keeps dipping its toe into the murky waters of cliché. But at the same time… Heather’s passion for her job was apparent. Brands want someone with that level of dedication looking after them online. Community management done well should be a passion. One that brings another cliché to mind – find a job you love and you’ll never have to work again.

2 thoughts on “Anatomy of an ideal community manager – ten top attributes

  1. Karen Drury

    Great post Jane. Interesting to note that only 10 or 15 years ago, the idea of a community manager could well have been interpreted as something to do with bring and buy and coffee mornings, or petitioning the local council to collect the bins more than once a fortnight.
    And cliche or not, I LOVE the idea that if you find a job you like you never have to work again!

    1. janeyfranklin Post author

      Hi Karen. I think the community manager still performs those functions – relatively speaking – for their communities – bringing people together, hosting the conversation and championing the community’s causes. Its just that those conversations and interested parties are also to be found online these days. Thanks for taking the time to comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s