One way I keep up on which companies are developing community strategies and/or building larger community teams is by monitoring community manager job postings. It’s also very interesting to read the descriptions to see the different interpretations of the role and what success metrics the candidate will be measured on.
I’ve been disappointed and shocked recently, however, to learn that some enterprises have been listing experience as “Entry Level.” [Take this keyword search on LinkedIn for an example.] Ww-ww-ww-what??!
I’m sorry, but if you’re listing this position as entry-level, my immediate reaction is that you’re not taking your online community initiative seriously. I mean, are you just checking of a box here?
☑ Hire [any] in-experienced person as Community Manager
❑ Launch online community
❑ Be successful
Like a sales job, you’ll want the candidate to have a proven track record as well as relevant work experience. Do you honestly think the person applying for this entry-level position will have conflict resolution, customer service, and project management under their belt? Not to mention experience leading cross-functional teams, member behavior, public relations, marketing and an analytics background? Most likely not.
My advice? Go after a community manager that’s already running a successful online community. Or, if you’re lucky enough to come across an unemployed community manager, scoop them up immediately! Believe me, you’ll get what you pay for. And if that’s an entry-level candidate, then expect entry-level results.
Nothing is worth doing unless it’s fun. At least that’s what I like to tell myself.
How do we make online communities fun? By introducing gaming mechanics for each activity a community members performs. They’re already baked into today’s online community platforms but may not be that obvious to you. They come in the form of points, status ranks, badges, progress bars, virtual currency and leader boards.
By making things competitive, you encourage members to engage in the desired behaviors and goals of your online community that would otherwise seem dull and unfulfilling.
Which gaming mechanics have you deployed on your community? Did you see an instant uptick in user-generated content and activities?
Your online community has launched and registrations are growing at a very satisfactory pace. It’s extremely active with several 100 posts a day and everything is peachy. Time to sit back and relax right? Heck no! One thing you should know, there’s no relaxing as a community manager. Don’t rest on your laurels and never let your guard down. There is a cost with being a large successful community. You become a target.
Spammers, hackers and solicitors alike are becoming savvier each and every day. You have to take pro-active/pre-cautionary measures to protect the integrity of your online community and its members. The community guidelines you crafted at launch may no longer be relevant today. It’s time to revisit them.
Think of your community guidelines as a living, breathing document that requires attention at the very least, annually. It needs to adapt as members’ behaviors change and as your community becomes a target for linking trolls, email extractors, spammers, hackers and solicitors. These fun and courteous visitors (I’m laying the sarcasm on pretty thick) find loopholes in your guidelines and expose vulnerabilities in your community platform. They wreak havoc by exploiting both. Start plugging those [loop] holes.
A couple months ago, I blogged about Community Management of an Online Gym and provided some community guidelines for members to follow. It’s time for me to revisit them now that member behavior has changed.
Locker Room Etiquette
Avoid invading another member’s personal space; observe a two foot buffer
Keep your eyes on your own goods. Other members are not on display for your viewing pleasure
Your gym bag does not need its own seat on the bench. Place your bag on the floor and make room for others
When was the last time you revised your community guidelines? Are they still applicable? How often do you think they should be updated?
I follow quite a few community managers and social media strategists from Europe, most notably in the U.K. In fact, Europeans account for over 30% of the traffic to this blog.
Over the last couple months, I’ve noticed that my Twitter feed has been slowly [yet steadily] taken over by job postings for community manager roles in Europe. I don’t have the growth rates for community management roles in Europe compared to that of the United States, but it seems the demand for community managers in European countries is high, very high. It’s great to see actually. It means the community manager role is growing on a global scale and will be here for the long-term. Aaaahhh job security!
I have no plans to uproot, but it got me thinking; can you manage an online community from another country, or continent for that matter, and be successful? We work in a telecommuting world these days. Working remotely and not sitting in corporate headquarters or in a satellite office is not unheard of. But separated by a body of water like the Atlantic Ocean, several time zones, a stranger to local customs, and very little [if at all] face time with customers and internal stakeholders seems like a near impossible feat.
So, my question to you is, do you think a community manager can live in another country and still deliver a successful experience to members? Who is doing this well today? Would you do it yourself?