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10 Cheers for Community Managers Everywhere!

10 Cheers for Community Managers Everywhere! image hats throwSmall

Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD) is just around the corner. Monday, January 28th marks the fourth annual celebration, started by Jeremiah Owyang. Read about the history and happenings of this day here. This is the day for celebrating the often-unsung heroes of the online world, the tireless individuals who keep customer connections alive and well so organizations and the customers can both thrive and prosper through knowledge-sharing.

Why should there be a day dedicated to celebrating this job? It’s a mystery to many people what a community manager does, so why does the role warrant such fanfare?  That’s easy. Offering appreciation to someone requires understanding the value she or he creates for the organization. So here are 10 things I think a skilled community manager brings to the organization – and the community – they support:

1. Peerless host. Tireless attention to, care and feeding of the community’s members (customers and prospects) to ensure they are heard and their needs are met.

2. Tireless monitor. The work never stops. The dedicated community manager follows and logs on to the community after-hours, on weekends and holidays to make sure the community is humming.

3. Virtual concierge. Attention means more than checking posts. Community managers provide off-line support and engagement with members. Believe it or not, they pick up the phone, write personal notes, send little gifts and do research for their members.

4. Reference librarian. They sweat the details, remembering a wide range of facts about their members. This in-depth knowledge is the key to personal outreach within the community. Sam got a new job – congratulations! Sue had an issue with the product – was it resolved to her satisfaction?

5. Online coach. Community managers are the shepherds of member-created content. Member comments they encourage, articles they help refine or even edit. Just because the member is a senior professional doesn’t mean they can write well. Thanks to the community manager, the customer’s posts or articles read better and smarter!

6. Tech support whiz. They tackle the day-to-day, every day. Lost passwords, “help, I can’t find the X button?”, responding to the vague “it doesn’t work for me!” and always helping solve puzzle without judging the member.

7. Hail the members’ champion! They fight battles on behalf of the membership every day as the liaison with product development, customer care and sales to help get a member’s message across even when the feedback may be unwanted within the company.

8. Stats master. Quickly gathering on-the spot metrics and tracking data even when there are other pressing matters at hand. “Hi, I know it’s after 11am but can you pull some data together for the noon meeting?”  Really? Yes … and they can do it.

9. Constant student. Tech never sleeps. They must always learn new tools and techniques to keep pace with the rapidly-changing techscape.  The community manager is often expected to be the resident social media technologist, so they must know about every tool ever developed and have an opinion on its suitability.

10. Executive assistant for social. The hours they spend with executives and senior folks showing and teaching them how communities and social media “work”.

That’s ten, and the list could go on and on. I think these are just a few examples of why community managers need a day – or a year – of appreciation.

In case you are unfamiliar with the complexity of the community manager’s role, I have explored this topic in a number of past posts to better explain the nuances and challenges. Here are some examples of posts that focus on the details of community management.

Don’t ask community managers to be strategists was a controversial piece that looked at the need especially in larger organizations to hone in on the specific skills of the community managers and not assign too many hats to a single individual, thus rendering them unable to focus on customer care.

Social media manager vs online community manager – Same or different?  tackled the challenge of trying to parse the two, often overlapping roles by focusing on performance metrics rather than job requirements.

A day in the life of a B2B online community manager is a perennial favorite about the specifics of working in the business-to-business world which holds different demands from consumer-facing online communities.

Here’s to all of you out there doing this important work. Happy Community Managers Appreciation Day!

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