Today I’m at CM1, a conference for community managers, taking place in Toronto.
Just think that 10 years ago there was no role at a company called a community manager. Today though, many companies have community managers (or sometimes they call them social media managers) and we have whole conferences set up around learning and growing for people who do this.
I did a quick search for the terms “community manager” and “community management” over the past year using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, and found that they were mentioned in 1.1 million social conversations. If that isn’t proof that this is an important role, I’m not sure what is.
But what is a community manager?
A lot of people still see this role as “the person who plays on social media all day.” While a lot of community management is done via social media because of the access that the social web has opened to people, that’s not really a great definition for what community managers do.
My personal definition of a community manager is that they are the person (or people, depending on the size of your organization) that act as the bridge between the people inside your company and your customers, community, fans and friends outside of your company. A community manager should be the person in your organization that has their pulse on what’s going on on with your community and can relate that information to the people that need it inside your company. At the same time, they need to be informed about what’s happening inside your company so they can share that information with people outside that are interested. The community manager needs to be fully immersed in everything that is going on.
Now, that’s just my definition of what I think a community manager should be. Every company will define this a little bit differently, but it should seem somewhat like what I said above. But your company and you have to decide how you will approach community management yourself.
I had the pleasure of being the opening speaker at CM1 the last time the conference was in town and I put together a presentation that can help you decide what kind of community manager your company needs and how you will do it. Here’s my slides for you to look over yourself (they’re better with me speaking over them, but you’ll get the point):
As a community manager myself, I feel it’s important for community managers to talk and grow the role together. That’s why I’ll be taking notes and putting together a Storify of some of the great content I’ll be learning today about community management and will share it here on the blog next week.
In the meantime though, here’s a few more resources that I like to learn more about community management:
- Community Manager Chat – This is a weekly Twitter chat that happens every Wednesday at 2pm(EST) where community managers gather to discuss tips and best practices around a different community related topics every week. To join the chat, keep an eye out for and use the hashtag #cmgrchat on Twitter.
- The Community Manager – The Community Manager is a website dedicated to all things community management. There’s a lot of great articles on this site around brand communities, so check them out at http://thecommunitymanager.com/
- The Community Roundtable – The Community Roundtable is a members only group where professionals focused on growing communities for their brands can interact with each other to trade stories, ideas and more. While this group may have a member fee, it may be worth it as there’s a lot of great brands and professionals you can learn from that already members. Check the group out at http://www.communityroundtable.com/
That’s just a few good resources I know of. What are some good resources for community management you use or know about? Please share with us in the comments.