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So You Want to Hire a Community Manager

Check out the comments below for the liveblog of the “So You Want to Hire A Community Manager…” panel at BlogWorld New York. The panel starts at 11am today, Tuesday May 24th.

Speakers:

Finding the right person to build, nurture and grow your community can be a challenge. Depending on the type of community and your goals, the necessary skills can vary widely. This panel of community strategists and practitioners will share their experiences and uncover strategies for hiring the right community manager for your community.

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About the author

Jenna-Langer

54 comments
jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Question: Are these companies looking for writers? How do you get a job/approach working in CM?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Question: Corporations taking on the role of educators. What's missing in the current education system that you're finding potential employees don't have?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

David: Are you looking for a CM that already has their own influence from their personal brand?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Audience question: Where does the social media marketer live, and who does the Facebook and Twitter updates?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Q4: How to best support a community manager to retain them/avoid burnout?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Q3: How does a community manager operate in a community? Issues to consider?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Q2: What traits/characteristics to look for in a community manager?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Q1: What's the difference between a community manager and social marketer?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Amazing: 150k, Good: 50k. It's a huge range depending on industry. Nuts and bolts are the low end, strategy on the high end.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Develop a niche and present yourself to organizations.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Find out who the editors are, what they're talking about, and pitch your content.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Writing, research, storytelling skills. Be able to build relationships and figure out how CM fits into the business world. PR and Marketing 101 applied to CM.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Organizations have done a bad job of showing what they do well. Take something academic and make it more appealing to the social sphere.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Find the right balance/right person. Make sure they meet the other criteria, and that they can engage a community. They need to be ready to adapt and grow with the organization.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: it's helpful if they are established in that industry. Make sure that the role is of interest for the candidate, will they outgrow it or become uninterested?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Usually more junior level CMs and moderators will be doing the execution of the the strategy. They are the liaisons.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: CMs are executing with Facebook and Twitter updates, and they need to work with the integrated social strategy. Need to figure out what makes the most sense for your enterprise organization.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Social media marketers can be more expensive because they are more outward facing and do more public speaking.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

David: Recommendations for hiring community managers? Start with one, delegation?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: A lot of what the CM does is not seen by the organization. It's calling people, not always having public communication but a lot behind the scenes.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Make sure it's a role and not a function (reiterating what Dan said). Then you can focus on the important things in community, not worrying about other functions.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Weekly team meetings that are off the grid to vent. Share your problems so they don't fester. Rotate who is online responding to mentions across the web. This gives each CM 2 hours of the day where they can go offline. Tiered progression within the CM team helps them see how they can grow and improve within the organization. This let's them mature with the community and the internal org.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: Career progression is important, help them grow within the CM role and into different parts of the organization.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Find ways to help them unplug. CM is 24/7/365. They want to be there to answer questions and will put in the extra hours. Make it ok for them to get away.

Help them articulate the value they bring to the organization. Help them surface ideas to different levels.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Community Playbook - guidelines for how conversations flow through the organization and how to handle situations. The community team has become the hub of communication.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: Opportunities to engage the community are across the organization. It's a hub and spokes model.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Internal communities are a great way to start. Companies structure these teams as the "center of excellence" to develop strategies and best practices, and then share that knowledge with others in the organization.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Community is split. Some are more internal, and others work with more niche communities to make sure the stories and communications are forwarded to the right people. Bring in people from all parts of the organization - weekly meetings, discuss challenges and solutions. CMs need to go collect that information to help others do their job better. Lead by example - if internal communities are smooth, external will follow.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: CMs will be in different parts of the organization. Multiple parts of the org. interview the candidate (HR, IT, CS, Brand...) because the person will touch many aspects.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Use digital means to be as in touch as possible when working remotely. Still much more efficient working in the same room.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

David: Storytelling and being an extension of the brand is important, and it helps to be in house, sitting next to the rest of the team being part of everything happening.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: The individual needs to be comfortable working in a non 9-5 environment. They need to be flexible and comfortable working in a non-standard environment.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Half team onsite, half team off. Offsite CMs work well if they are self-disciplined and are aggressive in making sure everyone has a voice. As you grow, CMs need to be onsite so questions can be answered in a timely manner. Some positions can remain remote if they are creating content and if they work well within the organization, and know how to push pass barriers even if they are not in the office. All of the teams interview CMs since they will be working with everyone, building relationships across the organization.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Pants/no pants? Does the CM have to be onsite or can they work remotely? CMs for discrete communities need to live in-house. They will spend time helping the organization see what they're doing.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

David asks: Online vs. Offline, what traits do you need to have?

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: Important to know where the CM resides. Where are the gaps that need to be addressed? The CM will learn and can help complement the gaps to fill in the blanks.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: There are similarities in CMs, but it also depends on the community. Customer support is very different from market research. As a community matures, you need to be able to plan for what can be around the corner.

CMs need to be able to navigate the organization and figure out how to get things done. Very helpful to have a working knowledge of the company.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

David: The best CMs are an extension of the CEOs voice, sharing the vision if the brand in the space with the community.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Be a storyteller. Make your internal/external community the hero of the story. No one is going to tell you when/what to do, you need to be able to figure it out on your own. There are many conversations happening, and CMs need to step up and handle the situations in a timely manner. Bring process and procedure to the messiness that social media brings - strategic mindset.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: The MacGyver gene - making something out of nothing. They need to be flexible and be a pioneer in the organization as the community grows. Be a sponge and learn from other community managers - go outside the walls and interact with other communities.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: They need to be comfortable with content of all kinds and love to write. They need to be a good listener, and know when to step in and not to step in. Sometimes you need to pause and let members help one another. They need to be comfortable in front of a group and be able to evangelize the brand.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

If you can outsource it, it's probably not community management.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: The community is the conversation. Our job is to keep track of these conversations - who, what, when, why. Follow the lifecycle of the conversations.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: We're seeing the rise of distributed communities. There are like-minded people in a lot of different locations, making the social marketer role bleed over into community management. Social marketers need to understand the basics of community as well.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: Engagement is the lowest common denominator. Look at Abercrombie - the store greeters outside are the social marketers, and the people working in the store helping are the community managers.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: There's a lot of confusion right now between the 2. A social marketer is responsible for content and how to create a connection with your brand. A community manager focuses on building relationships between people.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Community management has over 9 hats, which is much more than external engagement. Community management must be personal for your organization.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Daniel: What budget do you have for CM? They are working around the clock and should be compensated appropriately. What's the right balance? You pay for what you get, so make sure they are happy with what they have.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: it's important to identify the role and responsibilities for the CM to figure out what's good for your company, culturally. Find someone who can understand the conversations that are happening and participate, and then have someone evaluate those and determine the strategy around it. It's a lot of pressure to give one CM all of these tasks.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: Orgs already have CMs, they just don't call themselves that. Help them migrate into the role. They need to be thinking strategically and find people internally that know the community.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Community Health ROI. Several levels of engagement/CM. Industry engagement is part of this, and majority of it happens offline. Need to be out in the community, telling stories and listening to stories.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Lauren: Usually look for a more junior level hire first, as it gives them room to grow and learn the community and organization. Not looking for a rockstar from the start, but that they can advocate that the community is the hero.

jennalanger
jennalanger moderator

Jim: 3 distinct roles in a maturing business around social: Social strategists, community manager, moderator. CMs can evolve into strategists.