Community managers manages the community of audience that the organisation’s product and services is marketing to. Connie Benson defines Community Manager as the voice of the company externally and the voice of the customers internally. The value lies in the community manager serving as a hub & having the ability to personally connect with the customers (humanize the company), & providing feedback to many departments internally (development, PR, marketing, customer service, tech support, etc).
Community managers monitors the Internet for any mentions of the organisation’s brand, products and services, identifying both the good and bad things mentioned. They are often look upon as the online customer service person because they are most likely the first to find any complaints from customers, and would be the one to reply the customers with solutions. By actively participating in online communities, Community managers engage with the community to build brand visibility. They are often the go-to people when the communities have any queries.
So does your organisation need a community manager?
- Are your customers online?
- Do you have potential markets online?
- Are there online communities discussing your brand, products and services?
- Do you want to engage in conversations with your customers?
- Do you want to monitor online conversations about your brand, products and services?
- Do you want to have a voice in the Internet to talk to your existing and potential customers?
- Do you want to develop relationships with your customers through online media?
If your answer is yes for most of the seven questions above? Then you would need to have a community manager in your organisation.
Misconceptions about community managers
Many organisations expect their community managers to wear many hats in the firm but that only prohibits them from being an effective community manager. However, a community manager does play many cross-functional roles in communicating customer needs and comments to the business lines and keeps customers updated with the latest happenings in the organisation.
Community managers do not replace your public relations they complement your traditional media communication needs and bring them online. Because there are various online communication mediums such as blogs, forums, video networks, etc., the community manager may change the format or re-word to project the right tonality to the online audience.
Community managers are not product specialists in your organisation. You have hired product managers for that. Community managers gather liaise with product managers to provide the product information that customers need. They also provide product managers and engineers with feedbacks from the customers.
Community managers are not programmers or flash designers. What they possess, are the technical knowledge in how to use social media technologies to connect the organisation with its target audience.
Are you currently a community manager in your organisation or had any previous experience working with one? Share your thoughts in the comments.