What is the most important part of being a community manager?
Definitely the ability, motivation and joy of making friends with just about anybody. I think it’s important to have the subtlety and detail to communicate with people from all cultural backgrounds. Finding common ground with these people all over the world from different socio-economic makeups takes a great deal of nuance, patience, and practice.
Our Community mantra at HootSuite is simple: make friends, be interesting, share stories.
What skill should every community manager have?
Going off the board with this one instead of the typical “thick skin” or “wearing many hats” metaphors which bore me to tears.
A fundamental understanding of human psychology (whether you explicitly call it psychology or not), would be my answer. Knowing of how people make decisions, build relationships, and interact in group settings is underrated (Disclosure: #psychmajor ). I think a lot of brands and individuals neglect the emotional side of decision making and relationship building.
Empathy plays a huge role in understanding different cultures. At HootSuite, we manage so many emerging international communities, the ability to see things from our audience / communities perspective is the secret sauce we use to build out our global communities. We use these skills everyday to seduce people into our community.
What advice would you give someone wanting to become a community manager?
Make sure you’ve built out your own ‘personal brand’ before applying for cmgr jobs… Establish yourself online through your favorite social networks and work to develop your own unique voice. I did this through blogging, but the networks don’t matter per say. This is pretty important when someone might look at hiring you because the first thing they’ll look at is your social networks (that’s what we look at).
Why would a brand hire someone to build out a community if they don’t have a (decent) personal community around them?
#Bonus: Reach out and meet people in the space you want to work in (online or offline). Pick their brain, find out how they got started and develop a roadmap for infiltrating into the industry.