If you have a group online, if you are trying to bring a community online, if you’re a brand trying to get followers through social media, then you need a community manager. It doesn’t matter how big you are, how many followers you have, or if you have someone who is happy to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day in the office, the field is so very complex that it isn’t a job that can be done annexed to another position. It is a role that requires specific attention to specific detail. These are the reasons why.
Would you allow a plumber to perform heart surgery on you?
Probably not. Or, if you would, you deserve all you get. Seriously. Unless, of course, they’re connected to a medical adviser on the telephone and you’re in a remote area, you’re probably not going to achieve a high degree of success. The same goes for community management. While it might have some similarities to marketing or advertising or branding, it’s just not the same. It requires a specific set of talents and skills that are very select and, unless someone is prepared to give the time to developing those skills, they’re not likely to just wake up one day and have them.
Would you want someone not dedicated to an specific field to be a professional in that field?
In an ever changing arena, it is important to have someone who is prepared to sit down and watch trends, watch hash tags, watch what the community is doing and keep an eye on nastier elements. If you don’t, things will run away from you. This has happened time and time again in communities offline, as well as online. The mentality that your community isn’t so big as to need a community manager is a retroactively dangerous one. If community guidelines, communications strategies and crisis action plans are not in place from the very beginning, you are asking for an incoming storm to take you down.
If someone is happy to tow the company line, will they stand up and tell you you’re wrong?
A community manager is your link to the outside world in such a way that no one else within your business can be. Retail staff, if that’s your field, don’t normally hear a lot about the way people are disgruntled or, if they do, once they leave the store, they no longer care. Online, a bad review, a criticising tweet is out there forever. You can’t take that down. You need someone who will stand up, tell you what people are saying and have the digital balls to tell everyone what is what. If the person dealing with your online community or customer base doesn’t have the hutzpah to take a situation in hand, then you are ruined online, and that is lost money.
That is just three darned good reasons why community managers should be one of the most prized employees on your team. They are you connection to the world online and offline. A good community manager will keep your brand strong online, which is where it matters most.