January 23rd marked #CMAD (Community Managers Appreciation Day). Traditionally it is a day when community managers around the world celebrate their awesomeness and come together for a series of webinars, hackathons, and whatnot to connect….with each other.
After a whole year of connecting to and with their communities, it’s nice to finally have a chance to connect with fellow red-eyed, adrenaline and coffee rushed people and exchange information, knowledge and thoughts.
For me, though, being a single outsourced community manager who develops and runs many very different communities, this day is just another work day. I don’t have a team or a boss who can cover for me or give me a day off and who can support me when I want to take a moment to do something else ?
Still, this is what makes me a “community manager”. It is part of who I am, my passion and drive for bringing people together. So, I decided to put down on paper (well on my keyboard) what a community manager really is to me. What it means to be one and what are the makings of one.
A community manager is not a social media manager. It is not a person who runs your Facebook page and posts on twitter. A Community Manager is the person who gives life to your brand. This is the person who takes your business from a name and logo and makes it a living entity comprising the people who believe in it, follow it and want to see it succeed and grow. It is the person who gives your brand a name, a face and a unique voice (I have written more about that here: Community Management as a tool for Conversion and Retention).
Without a real community manager, you just have a group of random followers or a network, but not a real community (I have written about that here: A Community without a leader is just a random group). Every time a reputation crisis is averted – you should thank your community managers. Every time you have a big launch coming up and everything goes smoothly – you should thank your community managers.
For me, a true community manager is a customer service, tech support, content creator, social media manager, marketing director and business development – all rolled into one.
If you have a ton of followers on your social channels but no one really bothers to answer them when they comment, or they don’t communicate with each other – you have no community and probably no community manager. If you have even a small group of followers but they talk to you and about you, they answer each other’s questions before you even have the chance to, they raise a flag and alert you when something negative is coming your way… those are the hallmarks of a true community and this is the power of having a dedicated authentic community manager.
So today, take a couple of minutes to thank your community managers, please. We work hard… and we deserve it!