What Makes for a Good Community Manager?

It has been said that behind every great man is a great woman. And behind every great social media community is a great community manager, who play an integral role in establishing, nurturing and engaging communities who gather around a business, an organization or a cause.

In many respects, community managers are social media’s unsung heroes because much of their work happens behind the scenes. With a few exceptions, community managers don’t enjoy high profiles or become “stars”. The few times community managers are thrust into the spotlight is when something goes wrong.

But the fact of the matter is communities don’t thrive without a community manager effectively and efficiently running the operation on a day in, day out basis. It’s grunt work but completely necessary.

So what makes for a great community manager? What characteristics do they need to be successful? Here’s a few ideas:

1. Enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of social media services. It goes without saying that community managers need to know their stuff. They have to not only talk the talk but walk the walk in terms of knowing how to adroitly use each service, best practices, and the pros and cons of different services.

2. Energy: Social media is a 24/7, non-stop activity. It’s a marathon, not a sprint so community managers need the drive and energy to work long hours weekdays, weekends and holidays to make sure no opportunity is missed. The need to be “on” all the time is probably one of the most challenging part of being a community manager, and likely one of the reasons the shelf life for community managers can be fairly short.

3. An upbeat, outgoing personality, at least digitally. Although “engage” is a wildly overused term, successful community managers are upbeat, happy to be involved in the community, and always looking for new opportunities to connect. It’s is difficult to be a wall flower within the community management world. Ideally, community managers are also skilled in real-world socializing given that putting a face to a name can make a huge difference.

4. A knowledge of the different aspects of the business. It’s not enough to be social media savvy; community managers also need to understand a company’s communications, marketing and sales strategies, and how they align with its social media efforts. In the course of a day, a community manager can be marketing, selling, offering customer service, doing business development and recruiting so being uni-dimensional can be a bad attribute.

For more tips on how community manager’s can succeed, as well as five mistakes to avoid, check out this free Sysomos whitepaper.