The title “community manager” can be confusing. For a job position that’s existed for years, it’s still seen as an enigma in some corners.
The confusion may be due to the vagueness of the title, which doesn't detail the wide variety of hats that community managers wear and the range of skills they possess. Copywriting to customer service to data analysis to crisis management when something goes badly for the brand—all those tasks can fall under the jurisdiction of the community manager.
The title "community manager" is also not terribly descriptive when you consider that online communities aren't static things that can be "managed." It's more productive to think of communities as living organisms that constantly shift and reassemble themselves as users come and go.
To demystify the role of the community manager and shed light on what makes for a true rock star in the field, I spoke to four people: Tim West, social media manager at Jet.com; Andrée Boisselle, social community manager at Molson Coors Canada; Bram Kanstein, who until recently worked as Product Hunt's European community manager; and Laurie Brescoll, SoundCloud's senior community manager. They graciously answered all my questions.
What do you do in a typical work day?
AB: My work day typically begins with an hour of community management. At this time, I review the comments that came in from the evening and weekends. For Coors Light, we work with our creative agency to come up with fun comments back to fans (or haters) in brand tone. Creating and planning content takes up most of my time. We plan for our lager programs months in advance in order to make sure the messaging is consistent throughout all of our marketing elements (i.e., TV, social, product packaging, etc.)
For example, for Coors Light's football program, I sit in meetings on the TV commercials since they have a strong social call-to-action. People are being told to tweet using #TheFantasyLife, which will directly impact me as the community manager.
What do you think sets a great community manager apart? What would you look for if you were hiring?