The concept of community management isn’t new, but it’s only in the last couple of years that it’s turned into a valued profession. The world’s most followed brands recognise the value of growing and engaging an audience of customers, prospects, partners, and employees both online and offline. As the number of social networks and community forums grows, the pressure to scale participation while managing a business’s reputation expands.
That’s where community managers come in. Community management is an important, customer-facing function. There are special traits common among good B2B community managers, and here are five that we think are key:
1. Listening and Writing Skills
Community managers spend a lot of time monitoring conversations online – whether in your own community or on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. They determine which conversations need the company’s attention, and which can be left alone. When responding to conversations, community managers need to be able to clearly and respectfully engage with customers and prospects, often in 140 characters or less.
2. Unwavering Commitment
The Internet never sleeps. Community managers should be available whenever they’re needed. For global companies, time zone differences can play an enormous role. It’s smart to have a plan set up with your community manager that sets expectations for when customers can count on a response from the company. No tweet should go more than 24 hours without a response, for instance. This way the customer doesn’t feel ignored, but your community manager can get some sleep!
Community managers need to be team players. It’s their job to act as a customer advocate, finding answers to questions and concerns by connecting with colleagues across departments. They should demonstrate patience and understanding both internally and externally when dealing with issues like product releases, bugs or mistakes.
4. Initiative and Integrity
Solid community managers take initiative to share correct content and the integrity to know what’s appropriate to post in the public domain. You don’t want someone who needs to ask for approval for every interaction, but someone who isn’t afraid to voice an opinion or suggest ideas, and has the authority to carry them out. They should swiftly and calmly diffuse a crisis, and have enough common sense to address matters in a trustworthy and accountable manner.
Community managers should be willing to try almost anything. New technologies and channels emerge all the time. Community managers have to have the tenacity to experiment with these new innovations. You never know what channels your customers and prospects will respond to the best, unless you try them out!
Community managers can contribute in all areas of the business – from marketing and PR, to competitive intelligence and sales. It’s important that you choose a candidate that aligns well with your company’s culture and industry.