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Top Traits of a Community Manager

Hiring the right community manager is an important social step. No longer a niche function; online community management a standard channel of customer service, sales and marketing online.

There’s been a flurry of discussion around who not to hire – with particular emphasis on the typical grad student often left in charge. We don’t wish to discount the capacity of our youth or make generalisations – depending on your strategy, the demographic of your candidate is bound to vary.

Our top ageless traits:

Communication is critical to solid social media execution. Before you give someone the keys to your online image, take stock of his or her writing skills in advance. Your candidate needs to emulate a journalist; politically and grammatically correct.

Social media moves quickly, and your platform will fall behind or miss opportunities to explore the “next big thing” if your social media manager is not regularly browsing for emerging trends.

Good social media managers are regular readers of Social Times, Techipedia, SocialFresh.com and other such blogs.

Community management can fast become crisis management. Real-time conversations can turn to a PR disaster in seconds. Effective social media engagement requires exceptional maturity and the foresight to pick your public conversations.

Good social media managers understand the boundaries of humor and entertainment appropriate to their target audiences – with the capacity to entertain their customers in public setting too. Smiley faces and hearts aren’t what make the cut.

There is more to the role beyond understanding the social media tools themselves. What is your unique selling point? What are the typical expectations of your customers? No new candidate can immediately know it all – but must have the capacity to understand your business in the long term.

A good community manager can hold their own, with the capacity to engage with the industry’s top influencers. Effective social media managers are constantly building social capital; forging relationships that will eventually advocate their brands online.

Having already flagged the potential overlap between departments, a strong social media manager has the business acumen to lobby between an HR and a Business Development function, whilst carrying out his or her day to day.

To conclude, we also highlight the potential for professional and personal overlap. Brand evangelism goes way past 9-5. The real deal will be passionate about your brand after hours too.  A brand match for both parties includes affiliated social networks. There should no risk of friends posting unwanted content or impeding on a desired public image online.

Trust you gut during the interview process. Above all the successful candidate needs to be likable, and no one knows your customers better than you do.