The Rise of Community Manager
Its been quite some time I’m working with Wikiocean as a Community Manager. This space is something which has been created due to Internet, colloborative work environments. This area, space would not have been possible say 5-7 years ago. A big part which also has played in this space becoming available is choices in free as well as open source software (FOSS) so one can make some very interesting models where people interact with each other. The community could be around a software product, service, an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), P2P socializing and networking places . As networking and rise of Internet and Intranet grows, there would be need of more professionals in this area of expertise.
Some essentials which would go a long way in making a career as a Community Manager or a Community Relations Manager (the two terms are interchangeable) . While I give below the requirements, some are more important than others for sure.
User engagement & interaction
Owning the community & lending a face to the product / service / organization.
Be a custodian of the product / service
Interface regularly with CRM team & enhance customer service
Plan, create / seed & manage content / content creators to drive engagement within the community
Strategize & plan events calendar to engage community
Write promotional mailers, blog posts etc., to promote new features / initiatives
Conceptualize product enhancements, oversee design & UI & implement
Manage / track user behavior, trends, competition & industry
Undertake research (primary, secondary etc.) to get feedback & understand users
Identify latest trends in (whatever domain alongwith) online marketing, social media optimization, blog seeding, virals etc., & implement.
Written and Verbal skills
Innovative and Creative
Requirements of Positions (aka System Requirements)
- MBA in marketing
- Proficient in web 2.0 technologies with a sound understanding of the social networking space
- Experience in managing consumer facing Internet based products or services
- Driven by a strong consumer mind-set
- Innovative and capable of out-of-the-box thinking. Creativity a must
- Excellent analytical skills. Should be able to derive recommendations, trends and patterns from data
- Team Player . Should be able to drive consensus, leverage synergies from cross functional teams
- Pro-active and motivated
- Strong written, oral communication skills, and a good listener
Phew, that’s quite some story there. Now some of the points listed there from my perspective are more important than others. For e.g.
Owning the community & lending a face to the product / service / organization :- Meaning at first level being an active member of the community, if flamewars happen then seeing it doesn’t turn abusive, if abuse is being reported then seeing how can that be tackled and stuff like that. There is lots of enriching engagement which can and does happen.
Plan, create / seed & manage content / content creators to drive engagement within the community :- Again a fun and challenging part where one has to come up with ideas to keep people engaged. Very similar in a sense to how one runs a blog or any such service.
Strategize & plan events calendar to engage community :- Again a fun thing, this is way to enrich and engage with people from all walks and perspectives on things. Being patient and being an extrovert goes a long way in making events a success
Write promotional mailers, blog posts etc., to promote new features / initiatives :- Another fun activity when one writes mailers and blog posts to drive activity around projects. The word which comes closes to the mind is COOL 😉
Driven by a strong consumer mind-set :- The closest one would say to what fits the bill is a consumer activist. One has to be razor-sharp and understand consumer mind-set and put himself or herself in those shoes as well.
Team Player . Should be able to drive consensus, leverage synergies from cross functional teams :- An important function, being able to drive consesus, work with different personality types, drive and distribute work across teams and engage with those team.
For the record, I’m not an MBA, Marketing. What has helped me is in lots of ways is being working with GNU/Linux for past few years as well as being a moderator and part of several Internet mailing lists and being part of many an events lke barcamps and events like that. So one doesn’t need to be an MBA to apply for this position 🙂
For the record (again ;)) , there are multiple positions available for Community Managers and Assistant Community Managers available. Enrich and Enjoy 🙂
In Peace, till next time 🙂