Top 10 traits of a social media community manager

Top 10 traits of a social media community manager

Social media is here to stay, and most organisations have at minimum a Facebook page and Twitter account. Most are also wondering what to do with them and how to resource them. And so the role of the social media community manager was born.

top 10 traits social media community managerHere are the top 10 traits you should look for when recruiting a social media community manager:

Good community managers will somehow know and understand which messages work best on which channel and when. For example: photos, videos and polls might work best on Facebook, but short text only messages with a link might be better for Twitter.  3:30pm on school days might be perfect for the teenagers on Facebook, but midday might be better for the mums on Twitter. Understanding product strategy, marketing, comms and customer experience are all important too.

Community managers will be passionate about your brand and your industry. To hunt down interesting, useful and relevant content from other sources requires time and dedication. They’ll need to be across the shifting sands of the technology and digital landscapes which can change in a heartbeat. Should you use Twitter’s Vine? Is Google+ dead or just dormant? How does the Facebook algorithm work this week?  The list is never ending.

Community managers will have thick skins and broad shoulders. They’ll have to endure shouting (CAPS LOCK SINNERS), swearing, competitors and media sniffing around, tire kickers, time wasters, lazyweb people (this website might be helpful:, social media gurus who want to improve their Klout scores and people who quite clearly do not speak the same first language as you.

Community managers need to be writers. They have to be able to distil complex concepts down into simple understandable language. And then they need to cram that into 140 characters with a link and a hashtag, thank you very much. They need to be able to reword something in five different ways so it still makes sense, doesn’t commit an apostrophe crime, gets the attention of the reader, retains the same tense throughout and doesn’t incur a lawsuit. Harder than it sounds!

Amazing customer service is what makes good community managers stand out from the average ones. Taking ownership of issues and following up on behalf of the customer, providing constant updates (even when there are none), battling with interdepartmental walls and being the customer advocate should all be second nature.

Having an analytical mind to trawl through the statistics of reach, virality and sentiment – overlaid onto channel, day of the week, time of the day and incorporating other campaigns running simultaneously is like doing a Rubix cube blindfolded. And yet somehow it makes sense to them, and they can hone in on anomalies and dig deeper to understand what worked and what didn’t in that particular instance.

Understanding measurement and how this aligns to your business strategy and objectives is crucial. If you are measuring the wrong things then all that effort is wasted. Similarly if you are spending a lot of time on content that isn’t consistent with your overall strategy then no one will thank you at performance review time.

Secretly wanting to be a spy also helps. Community managers need to be able to piece together information from several sources and have a memory like an elephant to be able to know how to best respond to a customer. This includes knowing what their recent interactions with the company have been both on social and through other channels, what their real name is, who they may be related to or be the BF/GF of, and even whether they are on holiday, travelling for work or just at home with the kids. It’s exactly like CSI but without the computers.

Most community managers will be constantly connected through their own personal accounts. The only way you will know how social media works is by using it yourself – you can’t learn by reading a book or… errr… a blog.

Being super efficient and productive are a must. Many people sigh and complain about what a time sink social media is (answer: just turn it off), so if you are using it as part of your job every day you must have the discipline to step away from your RSS feed so you can complete some of your to do list. For any addict that is a lot easier than it sounds!

Above all, community managers need to have the patience of a saint, be able to be humble and yet empathetic, require virtually no sleep, be funny yet not smart arse, be tireless but not tired and have a strong sense of right and wrong.

Simone McCallum is the social media strategist at ASB. This post originally appeared on her blog.

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