“What other fields would you recommend to someone looking for a good potential community manager?”
Businesses often look to the Marketing and Public Relations fields to find community managers. Why is that?
While you can find people in those fields who would make good community managers, those fields don’t always provide skills that you’d need in a good community manager.
Of course the most important thing you want to do when looking for a community manager is stop, think about exactly what this community manager will be doing and determine the specific skills that they’d need in order to accomplish those things.
There are a few different areas that you could find really amazing community managers. Here are some that I’ve seen in my experience as a community builder:
Anyone who’s ever worked as a bartender, waitress or busboy has learned truly valuable skills that can be applied to community.
You know how to:
- deal with angry customers
- make a happy customer and you know why that’s important
- manage a lot of simultaneous needs and conversations
- talk to people
If you’ve ever worked on a campaign, there’s a good chance you’d make a good community manager.
You know how to:
- bring people together around a common belief
- encourage groups of people to take action
- organize local events for communities
- reach people by doing personal outreach
Gaming communities have been around for a lonnnng time. Most hardcore gamers have been a part of, or organized teams, clans or other groups of people, especially in online games. Some start forums to support their communities. Others just do it all within the game.
Gamers who build clans or other gaming communities know how to:
- build loyalty amongst a group of people
- create relationships online
- moderate issues between people
- organize events or competitions
A lot of community management is knowing how to present ideas that will bring people together using words, images and other content.
Journalists know how to:
- tell a story
- get a conversation started
- inspire action
5. Camp Counselors
Often, camp counselors aren’t that far off from the age of the kids in their groups. They need to be authoritative, but not so much that the kids don’t like you because it’s their summer break, and they’re not taking shit from anyone.
Camp counselors know how to:
- be fun and likable
- but still maintain order and control
- be a moderator of disputes
- come up with creative ways for people to interact
6. Theatre / Improv
Alex Hillman wrote this great post with 3 lessons community managers can learn from “Who’s Line is it Anyway”. He says that many improv schools teach three key “guidelines” which is why improvisers know how to:
- accept and build upon what members of the community say
- make people in the community look good
- prepare to be average, and not try to make every comment a home-run
There are a lot of artists who also take on other careers because, well, turns out it’s pretty hard to maintain a steady income as an artist. Most artists are very much a part of their local art community as well. So your interest should be piqued when you’re interviewing someone for a CM role and you find out they’re an artist, since they know how to:
- use figures or images to tell a story
- take whatever minimal amount of tools they have access and achieve the goal
- accommodate and integrate the different styles of community members
- give and take feedback and apply it to their work
The world is filled with a lot of different kinds of people. Every country seems to have its own life lesson to offer. Traveling the world not only teaches someone a lot about people, but it also teaches them a lot about themselves. That’s why world travelers make for good community managers, and know how to:
- accommodate different cultures and lifestyles within a community
- quickly overcome surprising obstacles
- how to break the ice with new people they meet
- coordination and planning with other people
Community is all about a group of people coming together to help each other. Teachers do what they do because they want to help others. They want to educate the youth and build them into better individuals. That’s exactly the attitude you want in a community manager. Teachers know how to:
- speak to an audience
- make people feel good about themselves
- encourage people to work together
- share new ideas and concepts clearly
10. Your turn
What other areas of interest can you find amazing community managers?