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How to hire an ideal community manager

Annemarie Dooling
How to hire an ideal community manager Annemarie Dooling

These days you can't enter a bar in Manhattan without running into a dozen or more community managers. It seems that everyone with a Twitter account and smartphone is anxious to get behind the wheel of your company's social media accounts. You've probably heard the title tossed around social media circles for awhile now, and are certain you need one to take your accounts from zero to 60, but what skills do you need in this team member? Who is actually qualified for this jack-of-all-trades role? Consider this your five-step program to finding the community manager of your dreams:

Understanding branding
Regardless of what social network your team member is handling, your brand message needs to be unified across all fronts. It's very important to find someone who stands behind your message and could recite your company mantra with his or her eyes closed and in their own words.

Metrics and analytics fearless
One day can be a lifetime in the cycle of social media metrics, which is why even big-name systems like Klout have made the decision to update user numbers every day. Your community manager should have a list of analytics providers across all media and a steady reporting system that can accurately deduce what you're good at, where you need work, and an idea of what the future could hold.

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Laws and standard practices knowledge
When Facebook changed its contest rules and regulations earlier this year, many businesses were lost. What's allowed? What isn't allowed? Unfortunately for those of us trying to stay above the law, Facebook is known for changing its rules often. It's very important for the person in charge of spreading your content and managing contests to be aware of the constant changes in rules and regulation so you're never at fault.

Basic production skills
Because social media can be such a great marketing tool, many people make the mistake of hiring a marketer to be their social media voice, leaving the photo albums, microsites, and widgets to a separate producer. Imagine the time and effort saved in finding a community manager with a little technical prowess? You don't need to search for an engineer, but a little HTML or FBML goes a long way.

Best use of content
Ever read the Facebook page of your favorite brand and cringe at the inappropriate press releases posted with abandon? A really great feed should take into account the five Ws of journalism: who, what, where, when, and why. There are times when certain stories won't garnish the most influence, and an ear for news is extremely helpful when it's time to post.

So who would make the absolute best community manager? The needs of every business are different, but have the same basic elements in common. Look for the intelligent use of content that comes with someone who reads and writes often. Look for someone who knows their way around the internet to the extent that they aren't afraid of numbers, graphs, and coding. And most importantly, look for the kind of passion that is the backbone of your business and stands behind your brand message.

Annemarie Dooling is a social media consultant.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.


to leave comments.

Commenter: Steve Crosetti

2011, January 10

I think your Community Manager should spearhead you "customer advocacy strategy."
Advocates Are More Important Than Influencers

Commenter: ami martin

2011, January 10

Thanks for the write up, Annemarie. I agree with the key skills you've outlined but would add one thing: subject matter expertise. Especially for more complex products, community managers need to be able to readily relay product attributes to audience interests for effective engagement.