The Role, Value & Character
It is said that, when anyone asks about the ROI of an online community, a unicorn dies. It’s not easy to be a community manager. Each community is different, requiring different skill sets and deliverables based on a company’s strategy and objectives. However, there are 3 fundamental characteristics of a successful community manager that everyone should understand: the role, value and character.
The role of the community manager stems from creating a public persona for a company’s product or service. It is not merely a customer service position, but an integral part of a company’s growth, strategy and roadmap development. The community manager
- is the intermediary between company and customer
- creates product identity and establishes community through conversation and awareness
- helps refine business strategy through online communications and data collection
- creates engaging and resourceful content
- promotes product improvements
The value of the community manager depends on the community they represent. Some communities base their value on the safety they can provide to their users. Some may determine value on the number of registrations or purchases of a product. Whatever a company identifies as value, the community manager provides this by
- listening and following the pulse of the community
- cultivating and nurturing an engaging and productive online environment
- championing the advocates, guiding the newcomers and assertively applying policy when necessary
- identifying development opportunities through knowledge base
The characteristics of a successful community manager can be difficult to identify. Online communities are always growing, shifting and changing. There has to be a balance of skill sets that the community manager gains with experience and inherently has within their personality. See chart below
The essence of online community is not simply customer service and sales. It is a multifaceted environment with different characteristics, pain points and growth spurts that need to be explored and documented.
When a company decides to provide an online community to its customers, it creates the opportunity for immense growth and development. However, it is only as successful as the strategy deployed, and the community manager's ability to provide what every online community requires, value.