10 Jobs in 1: The Life of an Internal Community Manager

Deirdre Walsh
Deirdre Walsh Sr. Social Strategist, Jive Software

Posted on May 8th 2012

10 Jobs in 1: The Life of an Internal Community Manager

Last night, I was having dinner with some folks in my social circle.  One of them exclaimed, “Good news! We FINALLY get to hire an internal community manager.”  We all raised a glass to toast the victory. See, he had been battling to get a headcount to manage his social intranet for years.

Based on his struggle, I decided to develop the Top 10 Roles of an Internal Community Manager.

Now, for some huge Social Business software customers these will come as no surprise, but at smaller companies with more modest resources, an FTE might bust the budget. In these cases, carving out a partial responsibility and making it official reduces the danger of the social intranet becoming beloved in concept but largely shelfware.

So, here’s the list of the Top 10 Internal Community Manager Roles they often juggle:

HiRes.jpg1. Ambassador. One of the biggest drivers of social business success is company culture. Community managers help form a successful company culture by being open, responsive, and strategic.

2. Unifier. Community managers helps unite distributed leadership on the best practices for internal collaboration.

3. Builder. Skilled managers focus on best ways to structure and design for interaction and engagement. They also stimulate conversation and have content plans until the community matures.

4. Coach. They are excellent at articulating how employees can use the new technology to accomplish real business objectives, without leaving their comfort zone (which often means their email inboxes).

5. Cheerleader. Community managers often bust out the virtual pompoms.  They reward positive behavior.

6. Leader. One of the most important jobs of the community manager is to identify effective volunteer advocates and facilitators for various units (marketing, sales, finance, R&D, manufacturing, etc.). Without these foot soldiers, the community will not take flight.

7. Game Maker.  No, I’m not referring to Panem! Community managers come up with awesome techniques to keep employees engaged and reward the most active contributors or the executives who “get it.”

8. Listener. Community managers understand better than anyone the “pulse” of the employee base.  They often can be the voice of the masses when it comes to marketing ideas, product features, etc.

9. Governor. Community managers help develop and enforce social media guidelines.

10. Analyzer. Successful community managers can help point to real business value (ie. Employee satisfaction, productivity improvements, increase in sales, etc).  They can also do predictive modeling based on sentiment, help find the true expert in a given area, and understand valuable enterprise relationships.

I want to hear from the Internal Community ManagersWhat’s the biggest value you bring to your organization?

Deirdre Walsh

Deirdre Walsh

Sr. Social Strategist, Jive Software

@deirdrewalsh is an award-winning, social business program manager with a decade of digital media, integrated marketing, online community, corporate communications, and program development experience. Currently, she is the Sr. Social Strategist for Jive Software, which brings the innovation of the consumer web to the enterprise. She has been published in several outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, and has been a featured speaker at events like SXSW. In 2006, Deirdre launched the National Instruments social business program, which measurably impacted customer loyalty, marketing and product development. Prior to NI, Deirdre specialized in public relations for Hewlett-Packard, Allstate and the Texas Senate. Deirdre graduated with a bachelor of science in public relations and minors in business and English from The University of Texas.

See Full Profile >


Posted on October 2nd 2012 at 12:42PM

Interesting read Deirdre! Guess what - this is exactly what I do at IBM. In addition to what you mentioned, I try to engage members in the community by channelizing the conversations otherwise taking place in mailboxes. While the biggest issue is always the value preposition for all and that brings the 'time' excuse to the top. IMO I feel it is more about the perception of employees where 'change' is always painful. Employees may spend hours on FB but never login to internal communities as they don’t want to change and then complain about lack of time. However those who realize the value of it, take out time every day to spend some thought in the communities.

Another aspect is to create those role models and if you can get some from th top management, nothing like it. Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Ginni Rometty, started her first day at office, with a video blog and guess what, she set the tone.