Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day! There seems to be a day for everything, but this one in particular warms my heart. Over the years, I have come to love community management and social media management. It’s not always unicorns and rainbows, but I do find it very rewarding. It’s difficult to explain exactly what community management is, and mind you, I am only a volunteer CM for an indie gaming dev group called Terrorweed! Games, but this is what I’ve found in my experiences.
Maintaining a public and active presence is important. CMs are very public figures as they must find a nice balance between representing their companies while also staying true to their own personalities. Even public personal accounts are kept under a watchful eye whether by their companies or communities. Finding that happy medium of being constantly engaging, informative, and entertaining requires a special level of energy.
It is more than looking at numbers and analytics. While graphs and charts are important to the growth of said community, CMs have countless interactions with people both in a group and one on one settings. Even though these people share a common love (whatever culture/industry a CM represents), hardly any two people are the same. One has to be mindful of various factors when interacting with them and there’s only so much you can gauge on first impressions. While on social media platforms, I take into account age, general social media activity, forum activity (if applicable) and what is public on a general profile. There’s a lot you can tell about a person by how they engage others around them and what they feel comfortable sharing on a public forum. I sometimes think of social media profiles as tattoos.
They take the brunt of backlash and negative feedback. It happens to every company. There may be something said, done or overlooked and the community seeks out those who are the easily accessible. This is the same for people who are in PR/marketing roles as well. They receive a lot of positive and constructive feedback to help grow their companies, but they also receive a lot of negative and even downright insulting and derogatory comments as well. However, CMs are trained to take the very best out of every interaction, no matter how negative. We all joke about Youtube comments, and how we should never read them, but I remember someone telling me that even though it may look all bad, you still have to know what your community thinks of your company and its product/services. There may be a lot of filtering, but in the end, it’s all worth it to obtain that knowledge.
They have to keep up with all the latest trends and tech. Applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram have been around for years, but new features and functions are always being improved and launched, so managers in these fields need to stay on top of every application they use in order to best utilize their functionality. They also must be aware of popular trends including viral content and memes. And this is all external maintenance. Internally, CMs act as a communication liaison to many different departments within the company. Project management and the knowledge of project management tools is a must. They have to know what’s going on internally, so they are best prepared to take on all the external obstacles.
Needless to say, community management is more than writing a few words on a company blog and clicking “post”.
To all my friends who are in this particular role, please know how much you are appreciated. As much as your hard work shines for all to see, I know there is so much more that you do that is not seen in the public eye. Thank you for keeping your communities organized, well informed and overall awesome.
You guys are the best ❤