The 2009 predictions are out–I think Peter Himler has one of the best roundups. Here’s my prediction: if you don’t have a community manager already and you care about social media, you’ll hire one (or appoint one internally) in 2009. Why?
Because it’s very difficult to engage online communities part time, especially if you don’t have time to really understand how those communities work, and few marketers do, even in today’s day and age.
So what does a community manager do? Jeremiah Owyang described the role to a ‘T’ last year. S/he (I’m paraphrasing much of this):
- Serves as a community advocate to the company–an ‘ombudsman’
- Serves as a brand evangelist for the company
- Has good communication skills, and shapes the editorial strategy for the company
- Gathers community input for future products and services
Still not convinced? Look at all the companies that have community managers.
Still doubtful? Well, you can’t argue that big companies are doing it. What about small ones? Read what ReadWriteWeb has to say about community managers for smaller companies.
Finally convinced? Great! Now take a look at Chris Brogan’s suggestions for the essential skills of a community manager. Chris says:
- The best community managers are like a good party host mixed with a fine restaurant host.
- Community managers must be experienced communicators.
- Community managers are ambassadors and advocates in one.
- Community managers are bodyguards and protectors.
- Community managers must build actionable reports.
- Community managers cultivate internal teams for further support.
Good luck with your 2009 social media initiatives, and remember, social media is about more than marketing!