Who has been an inspiration for you as a community manager?
Mostly community itself I think. When I started my first online community in 2004 there was no such thing as an online community manager (afaik) and it was only years later that I labelled my activities as such and came into contact with other community managers.
What is the most important part of being a community manager?
Know what it is that the people in your community are looking for. However great or technologically perfect: if you’re offering something that no-one is looking for, no one will come to get it and you’ll have wasted your time.
What do you like best about being a community manager?
Being able to be really close to people using the product and directly helping people to solve their problems or help them connect with the people that can.
What skill should every community manager have?
Being a jack of all trades concerning the product or service you represent but also on the side of the platform you use to build the community. And people skills help too 😉
Tell us about a success story you’ve had as a community manager.
When Magento (an open source e-commerce platform) launched in 2008, I quickly recognised it as a platform that would disrupt the e-commerce market and jumped into building a local community around it right away. Magento recognised this right away and provides insights, supports the events we organize and invites local communities to their international events once a year. I even got a Community Builder Award for my efforts out of the hands of eBay CEO John Donahoe for this.
What advice would you give someone wanting to become a community manager?
Take a look what many people in the community are searching for but what is still a gap in the current service or information. Start building from a concrete need from an excising community. Also: It’s great to have your own site or forum (please do start with it), but know that takes a lot of time to build. So you should also very much go where your customers already are (be it an online social network, another website or offline events). Or when you’re working for a company and one or more customers already started a (low key, unofficial) community: support them!
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