What Makes a Successful Community Manager

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g. you@yourcompany.com)
Please enter your work email
(e.g. you@yourcompany.com)

online communityFor much of the time that Talent Communities have been part of the industry lexicon, lots of folks have been arguing about whether or not they’re actually a recruiting solution, what problems they really solve and which platforms give the best ROI. Heck, people will argue about whether or not we’re defining talent community properly, or if one can even exist. It’s the Unicorn of Recruiting, very ideal, constantly debated, aggravatingly elusive and rarely seen.

But we’re not here to talk about any of that today. Today, I want to talk about what it takes to manage a talent community. Note this statistic from Hubspot: employing a community manager drives approximately 30% more traffic to our website.

Even if you found the right platform, managed to fill it with compelling content and had the resources to keep it current, you will need a community manager to really make the members gel. So here’s what makes a super successful community manager (hint #1: You can’t just hire the intern because they’re “young and with it”).

1. They are a consistent communicator: Every good community manager knows that in order to build a community, they need to be communicating consistently. Whether that’s every day, week, hour or month is to be determined by the community itself, but it has to be consistent. Sending out a flurry of tweets one day and leaving your audience hanging the next, or randomly sending out emails whenever the mood strikes is no way to establish trust. Have a way to respond to people when they speak up; and keep those responses consistent whether they’re complaining or singing your praises.

Communicating consistently isn’t just about timing, it’s also about tone. Your moods may be mercurial but your communications shouldn’t be. Whether you have a specific voice you use when writing to your community or need to use templates to do so, don’t surprise your audience with a shift in message.

2. Helpful and Firm. This is a hard line to walk. On any given day, a community manager may find themselves setting up a profile, helping to fix a buggy interface, walking someone through an application, posting an ad for someone internally, selecting featured posts and posting relevant content. You have to be helpful whenever you deal with anyone but figuring out when a particular member is becoming more dependent because of your help and thus taking up more of your time, is tough. A great community manager will use their time wisely by training rather than “doing” specific tasks for people.

3. Solicitous. That’s a horrible word. Today we’d call it flirty or fun. Essentially, a community manager’s job is to grow the community and you can’t do that unless you go outside the walls and invite people in (and encourage members of said community to do the same). Community managers can do this via partnerships, social channels, partnering with other departments on outreach or in person. Being shy is not an asset in this part of community management. You must bubble up the best contributors, applicants, content, posts, conversations and bring in fresh eyeballs consistently. To do that, you have to master the task.

4. Careful. It’s easy to think that you understand social and blogging because you’ve leveraged social networks and blogs for your personal brand. I cannot stress enough that it is so much harder to do for a corporate entity. Being careful is essential when every Facebook post, Linkedin like and Twitter gaffe could put your company under some very bright lights.

There are a lot of people out there who could manage a talent community. But using the above as parameters will assure that you have the best talent community manager and fully engage your audience for maximum utility.

By Maren Hogan