Question: I'm thinking about hiring a Community Manager for my company. Can you name one trait that you believe all great Community Managers should have?
Question by: Angela
Stellar Spelling and Grammar
"A lot of people are quickly turned off by the often unavoidable human mistakes that we all make, and when one sole individual is in charge of the voice of a brand, it makes this notion even more prevalent. The best Community Managers are those that are advanced writers with friendly personalities. If he/she can spin the most mundane occurrences into entertaining stories, the community will come."
"A Community Manager needs to actually care about what is going on in the community and understand the longings, desires, problems, strengths and weaknesses of the community. They should know how to deal with people when they are experiencing both the good and the bad. You can't fake compassion and actually caring about other people, and a successful Community Manager must be real, not fake."
"I remember watching a presentation that Micah Baldwin was giving where he talked about his role as Community Manager. During his talk, he shared all of the crazy (but totally rad and awesome) things that they were doing for their customers. His ability to think outside the box made me want to do the same for our company. Community Managers need to surprise and inspire others to do the same."
Strength to Say "No"
"Trying to please everybody—all of the time—is one of the quickest way to run a community into the ground. A Community Manager needs to learn how to say "no" most of the time and weed out the golden ideas from all the chaff. A good Community Manager leads by example, rather than consensus. As the old joke goes, a camel is a horse built by committee."
User Experience Specialties
"A Community Manager should be able to double up as a UX Designer. Why? Each customer interaction a Community Manager creates—be it a @reply or a piece of content they shared—results in an unforgettable brand experience. A UX Designer creates interaction models that affect the user experience, while a Community Manager creates interactive content that affect the user experience. UX = CM."
"The best Community Managers I've seen are extremely responsive. They answer questions and take action quickly, even on evenings and weekends. I've seen a community grow 100x based on a Community Manager's attempt to answer all questions within an hour! The members felt valued, kept coming back, and ultimately began answering each other's questions."
Time and Availability
"Your Community Manager should devote time to your company. If you're hiring a full-time employee, they need to be able to dedicate at least eight hours a day to your company and its customer base. If it's part-time—as many Community Managers are—it's critical that he or she carve out a few hours a day for you. Community managers are busy and social. You should not be an afterthought for them."
A Level Head
"Sometimes tempers flare within a community or on a social media channel, and brisk exchanges happen in the heat of the moment. The key trait for Community Managers is an eye on the long view, and the ability to stay on strategy while not getting caught up in touchy (and fleeting) subjects or low blows."
Likability Matters Most
"Being likable is a great trait to have in any job, but critical to a Community Manager's success. When interviewing potential Community Managers, ask yourself: Is this a person that I'd like to have a beer with? If your answer is "No" then find another candidate. If your answer is "Yes" then shake their hand and grab a beer to celebrate!"
Passion for Your Industry
"It is more important to find someone who really cares about the community more then they do their own needs, because then they will be committed and will do more for the community than they will for themselves. They will make sure they go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of the group."
"The best Community Managers are those who live and work in-house. Outsourcing can work to an extent, but the best Community Managers are those who live and breathe your company and culture and have an understanding of your brand, its messaging, position and target demographic. The best conversations come from those who believe wholeheartedly in your business and its values."
"As a former Community Manager I can tell you firsthand that if your hire does know or understand the business inside and out, then it will be an uphill battle. The entire community must come to trust your Community Manager as a knowledgeable resource who is available, caring and responsive to requests."
"Passion is important, but it should be a prerequisite for any job. As the liaison between a company and a community, it's important to be likable, but sound business knowledge is key for mapping and tracking strategic initiatives that invariably increase the bottom line. The ability to provide this feedback to your organization is crucial."
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