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August 29, 2014

Everyone can be a Community Manager & Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day

CMAD High FiveBy michaelpace on January 28, 2013

If you are a “registered” or “titled” Community Manager, have a great Community Manager Appreciation Day – whether others folks in your company know it, we all love and appreciate your work.  Throughout the day, I have seen amazing content being produced and curated by a number of social rockstars and community managers.  But… I am seeing so many different definitions and roles of community managers; some I wholly agree with, some I can see the connection, and some I just don’t get.  I wish I could ask a number of these incredibly smart people to get there take on a bunch of questions. •    If you work in social marketing, are you a Community Manager? •    If you work in social customer service, are you a Community Manager? •    I’m assuming if you work with an actual community platform on a daily basis, you are a Community Manager? •    Do Community Managers only work with social online channels? •    Do Community Managers manage top of the funnel metrics? Support and advocacy metrics? Across the whole value chain? •    Do you have to be a designated Community Manager to do community management work? Here are my thoughts:

Community Management is a discipline.

Discipline (def): activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training Other disciplines in business – Project Management, Process Management, People Management, Financial Management, Organizational Management, etc… Every day, I employ business solutions that include a mix of many of the disciplines, and others not mentioned.  It is about HOW I work. To put Community Management in context to other terms: Community context                 Anyone can be skilled and proficient in Community Management; from Call Center Associates to CEO’s.  Anyone can use the methodologies and tools to achieve a broader outcome.  Everyone can be involved in Community Management.  It also means not everyone should be involved.  “With great power, comes great responsibility.” If you start thinking about Community Management as a discipline, many of the (continuing) lingering questions, concerns, and issues become a bit easier to address. •    Where do Community Managers fit in an organization? •    Why do Community Managers feel so stressed? •    Why is allocation of resources so difficult? •    What are they responsible for? •    Why do so many people in the organization not understand what Community Managers do? Ok, these questions are still difficult to address.  However, it’s difficult because organizations are not all the same.  Each may have a different answer based on the objectives, values, and strategies of the company.  Many different areas within a company can use or need to leverage the discipline, methodologies, and tools of a Community Manager.  At the same time, folks who are “titled” as a Community Manager need many of the same skills as other business areas, such as People Management, Block & Tackle organizational design, influencing competencies (I am not talking about social influence here), results oriented, Process Management, Project Management, how to develop a business case, communication skills, ability to work in “white space”, etc… It’s not about the social media tools and individual tactics of marketing or platforms.  Community Management is an amazingly effective, efficient, and powerful discipline to get things done (or achieve a goal).  Anyone can be a Community Manager. For all of those who consider yourselves Community Managers, I applaud you.  Not everyone gets what you do, sees the value of your efforts, and can empathize with your struggles.  Much of our knowledge is still tacit, and it is difficult to articulate.  Remember that we work (and live) in a social bubble that not everyone has entered yet or will, their understanding is still nascent.   But try not exclude, try to include more.  Help others understand the discipline of Community Management, and how they can contribute to broader objectives.  Also, let them help you with your broader competency, discipline, and skill development.  I think it will help everyone appreciate what you do a little bit more. This was definitely a “soapbox” post, just needed to let a rant out. High five image credit: http://www.wilterdink.com/Internet_High_Five.jpg
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