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What Does It Take to be a Good Community Manager?

I’m often asked, “What does it take to become a community manager?” My answers usually turn people away, so instead of focusing on how difficult it is, I’m going to focus on what it takes to be a good community manager once you’ve landed the role. Although, you don’t have to take my word for it, I interviewed three rockstar community managers to share their thoughts.


Here are 6 tactics that will get you to the top:


Research: This never stops, and it shouldn’t no matter what profession you’re in, but with social media marketing you need to be the “go-to person” for Facebook questions, and any other social network that your clients or company is using.
How-To: Read blogs, a lot, written by the top content producers in the industry, such as Mashable. Also by the top influencers in the industry, for example David Armano, Gini Dietrich, the list goes on.


Connecting: You need to build relationships with the people I just mentioned above. If they are true “influencers” and actually use social media daily, and don’t  have their assistant do it, then this is possible.
 How-To:  Read their blog posts, and comment on the posts by giving your thoughts. I know it’s scary since you’re just starting out and this person is a big-wig but I promise that they’ll listen. I remember the first time I commented on Spin Sucks, I was so scared I think I read my comment 15 times before publishing.


Experimenting: Take risks, immediately. In the beginning you’ll only have your own personal networks to experiment with but that’s ok.
 How-To: Write a controversial blog post, tweet someone you wouldn’t dare to on a normal day. Post content that you know will piss someone off. This is how you push the envelope in Social Media, and it is the only way you’ll learn what the boundaries truly are with your audience.


Listening: Listen to what others are telling you, in your company and online. 
How-To: You need to be able to take the feedback you receive and implement it into your current strategy. Sometimes, heck most of the time, you won’t agree and you’ll know that it’s not “best practice” for completing a task but you need to find a way to show them that you are listening. You’ll need their help later getting more people on board using Social Media, as well as getting budget for events and applications.


Tracking: If you’ve landed a role in Social Media Marketing and you don’t have data to take with you, then you mine as well stay where you are because getting a job somewhere else, especially if  you’re moving up, is going to be tough without analytics in your portfolio. If you only have access to your own personal networks that’s ok,  you can track your followers, the engagement you received for certain types of content. But being able to show the growth you achieved for your employer  by conducting your current social strategy is a game changer.
 How-To: Tools, they’re out there, and if you don’t have a budget you can use some that are free. If you have a budget I would highly suggest paying for a SMMS, Social Media Management System. Using an SMMS you can create charts that track data for you, compare them against your sales data for the month, and so much more. Plus using an SMMS makes your job so much easier, and gives you much more free time to do things like write blog posts.


Pushing Back: You are in your role because you know what you’re doing, remember that. If you have years of experience using social media marketing to grow a business then don’t let someone tell you that you’re doing it wrong, again you need to Listen, but stand your ground.
 How-To: You’ve got data to back up your strategy, use it to show them why you’re right.


Do you agree with my strategy above? If so, why? If not, let’s debate in the comments below!


Photo credit: socialfresh 


Join The Conversation

  • Raúl Alfredo Cabrera Rivas's picture
    May 22 Posted 4 years ago Raúl Alfredo Ca...

    Hi Jennifer

    Community management is becoming more and more important latetly and as you suggest there are some practices related to the communication role that almost anyone can infer, like listening, networking and interacting but the ones  I find most  interesting from your post are the  take risk (experiment) and tracking. because once you understand and make your customer undertand that social media is not a success formula that you apply and wait then you can have some fun taking some risks, but you´ll find no value if you don´t track and measure, that combination is the one that makes de difference between playing and working serious, I´ll add that anyone should use deliberate practice and a productivity journal to help  achieve that.


  • May 17 Posted 4 years ago danyelibarra

    One thing I think is a must for a community manager is the spelling, grammar and punctuation.

    If you are the community manager of several accounts, you have to be so careful in this, if an error occurs, your client will be afected.


  • Jennifer MacDonald's picture
    May 17 Posted 4 years ago Jennifer MacDonald

    AK and Steve great points, this article is what it takes to "become" a good community manager, as in to become not currently do the role. I did not focus on daily responsibilities, that would be a whole other blog  post. : )

    If you look at my first paragraph: "I’m often asked, “What does it take to become a community manager?”  ->this blog was intended for people who are aspiring for the role. I did leave out a few key points but I didn't want my post to turn into a book. Thanks for commenting! 

  • May 17 Posted 4 years ago akstout18

    I'm a bit confused about whether this is intended for a "Community Manager" who handles social media accounts for multiple clients (ie a Social Media Consultant, Agency, or Service Provider) or a "Community Manager" who works for one company and manages their social - but either way - I'd say almost above all else, Responding is of major importance. I suppose this could be "stuck" under the Listening category but it really deserves emphasis of its own. 

    In my opinion you can do all of those other things but if you are failing to respond when the public is speaking to you or about you, that's a major fail. And while you sit there and read this and even typing it right now sounds like it should go without saying - it's the biggest downfall (but let's spin it and say missed opportunity) I come across when looking at social media accounts run by businesses/organizations/brands.

    It would seem so simple that when someone addresses you - you respond - which is why I just don't understand why this is so hit or miss. It's like someone walks up to you at a customer service counter, or let's say even a networking event and looks you in the face and makes a comment or asks a question and you blatantly ignore them and walk away. Why, why, why do companies do this?!

    I tell my clients that if they want to rise above the competition and be a shining social media star - they can start by responding to their customers online because chances are, their competition is not. 

  • Faaastcash's picture
    May 17 Posted 4 years ago Faaastcash

    Ability to stick to the schedule is another quality of a good community manager. I think Passion for the brand, if a community manager doesn't know the brand purpose, the brand personality, the brand voice; he difficultly will do a good job. All the points are relevant and can easily be applied by community manager.

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