5 Things Every Community Manager Must Have (that’s not in their job description)

By Mallorie Rosenbluth

Today marks a very special day in the world of social media. As the fourth Monday of January gets into full swing, we celebrate a day devoted to some of the hardest working people in the industry – community managers. This job barely existed 5 years ago, and now, we have an entire day to stop and say thanks for everything. While we celebrate these individuals today, let’s take a look at what exactly goes into the work of the community manager that doesn’t get written into the job description. Before you interview or hire for this position, take note:


1) Community managers must have more than a feigned interest in the brand they’re representing
At this point, we all know one of the biggest things that sets greats brands apart in social media is how they engage with their communities. People can tell if the person on the other end of the posts is just sort of dialing it in. To do an amazing job in the space, community managers absolutely have to be passionate for the brand they’re representing whether it’s an insurance company or a fashion brand. We all want our customers to be passionate about our brand. Passion inspires passion and it starts with the community manager.


2) Community managers must have a willingness to be on, even when they’re off
Sure you can’t put 24/7 as a work hours requirement, but social media doesn’t stop. 9 – 5 may be when community managers check in and out, but you can’t tell customers to stop posting about you because no one will be in to reply. And you can’t have someone sitting in the community manager seat that simply says “well it’s Friday at 7pm, this crisis will just have to wait until Monday.” Even if, as a community manager, you don’t work round the clock (and you shouldn’t), you should be willing to step up when it’s needed, regardless of the time of day.


3) Community managers need to have patience and a sense of humor
People say the darnedest things and social media isn’t immune to people’s funny and often preposterous comments and questions. In fact, since there’s some anonymity when it comes to the internet, it seems social media helps increase these instances. Community managers are an extension of your customer service and are interacting directly with customers (and potential customers), so they have to show the members of your community respect, treat them with patience and just be a real person when it comes to interactions. They might go back and forth with a customer to help resolve an issue and they need to stick with it until that issue is resolved. And sometimes funny things happen. It’s a stressful job, but it’s okay to laugh once in a while too.


4) Community managers need to show some personality
It’s tempting for organizations to create strict social media guidelines and force a community manager to adhere to intense protocol, but think about it from the customer’s perspective. Would you want a company to respond to you like a robot? Would you want to see the same posts over and over again? Or would you rather see a little personality and know for a fact there’s a person on the other end of the conversation? I’d wager it’s the latter. So if you’re hiring a community manager, make sure they have a personality they’re not afraid to have come through on the job.


5) Community managers sometimes need a reality check
Guess what? It’s just social media. Community managers aren’t finding the cure for cancer or handling life or death situations. It’s Facebook. It’s Twitter. It’s important, sure, but sometimes a community manager needs to take a deep breath and realize life will, in fact, go on even if there was a hair in someone’s doughnut and they just posted a photo about it.


What characteristics do you think are crucial for successful community managers to possess? Let us know in the comments. 


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Joshua Ness February 4, 2013
I think patience and a reality check are tops. It's important to stop and breathe and be careful not to get too caught up in the hype. I think another quality to have is thick skin. As a community manager, it can be easy to get offended or bothered by opinions or public reactions to our efforts. Follow the above recommendations to share quality content, but recognize that your baller infographic might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Celebs x Kryspie January 31, 2013
Community Manager is the most trumped up worthless job in the world. Anyone with a facebook can be a community manager, the fact that you have to go to school for 4 years and get a degree for it is ridiculous. Hey everyone, I got a bachelor's degree and my job is to monitor twitter all day? Most 14 year olds can do a better job.
Heather Renae Cosson January 31, 2013
Your comment and the fact that your tumblr automates your twitter feed shows how very little you know about managing social media. There's nothing wrong with not knowing how to do something. We can't do everything. But it's highly unprofessional to demean someone's career because you don't understand it.
Hassanmirza January 30, 2013
Community managers should be hospitable and like introducing people to one another. I think of community managers like party hosts, and they should make it a point to welcome new people and make sure the right connections are being made within the group.
#SM Strategist January 28, 2013
#5 was crucial, thanks for the reality check :) Then again, I once got in a heap of trouble over a tweet, so, yes it's just Twitter and it's just Facebook, lighten up, but don't lighten up TOO much if you're the public face of a brand :) Keep it light, keep it valuable, but always keep it professional.
Valerie Morris January 28, 2013
Great article! Resonates perfectly with how I manage the accounts I work with!
Susan Silver January 28, 2013
Thank You Thank You! This might help my family understand what the heck it is I do now a days. A lot of people stepping into social media do not seem prepared to work the extra hours, but it is so very important have someone willing to put the time in. In the middle of a PR disaster you want someone in the trenches talking to people even if they cannot resolve the issue.
Megan Rene Burkett January 28, 2013
Thank you for sharing this- Some outside the box qualities that are all to often unspoken!

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