So you think you got what it takes to be a community wrangler? Can you be the one that the company trusts to connect people to the brand, the one that makes sure conversations happen, the one that takes the tough questions from critics and customers? I would say that those are the biggest questions that you need answer for yourself. Sure, there are others things that go into becoming a community manager. Things like social media, blogging, and event planning are all things that are important to being a good or even a great community manager. Being one of the faces of the company can be challenging but community management can be the most exciting and fun jobs in the company! You will be required to be involved in so many aspects of the company and like I said earlier it can be taxing. Community management really is not a 9-5 or a 40 hours a week job, it’s a work until all the questions via email, twitter and Facebook are answered, and you are the last one to leave the event you are hosting. When you are the community manager you live and breath the brand with passion and it has to bleed through your skin. You have to own it or it will own you! Does it still sound like fun? I believe so, because it really can be an exciting career!
Want to know three quick things to do or consider that I think are important to finding the right community management job?
Exercise you network
I believe exercising your network might be the most important key to finding the right community management job. It’s the old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Make contact with people you know in the industry or some aspect of it rather it be PR, marketing or even sales. Ask them out for coffee or lunch and pick their brain about everything you want to know about community management. Get all your questions answered and try to gather up as much information as possible about the business. Be sure to also be involved in as many networking events and seminars as possible like Social Media Club or Chamber events. Any place you can truly rub elbows with people in the industry is invaluable. I would also state as a bonus that it is very important to find a mentor or two. You want to find someone in the industry that you look up to or want to craft your game after. You don’t have to ask them to be your mentor but be around them as much as possible, read their blog if they have one; which they should if they are good, and ask if you can hang out with them out in the field once or twice a week. Which leads to my next point.
Make yourself available
Always be willing to put in the time to learn from others. I’m a firm believer that you should always be educating yourself and I’m not talking about getting another degree. I’m talking about digging in the trenches with the people that are a step or two ahead of you and learning from mentors is priceless because you learn from their failures and successes; although it might cost you a cup of coffee or lunch to get any time with them. With that said you will be getting 1 on 1 training from the best and it cost you hardly anything but your time. Time is money! You may not be getting paid anything yet but your effort to commit yourself will pay off later. I can almost guarantee it! Don’t just expect to put in some applications or submit your resume here or there then go back home and wait for the phone to ring because the phone is probably not going to ring. If you need to get part time job to get by for a while I understand but you still will have to put in the time and effort. Be involved in as many things as possible and don’t be afraid to put in the long hours. I would say plan on working about 6 days a week then rest. I like to work Saturday mornings then take a break from work until Sunday night. Try to start off the week ahead by sending out a few emails, and get some meetings setup so that way you get your week planned out but be prepared for changes they are bound to happen. It will be a matter of trial and error to try and figure out what works best for you. There really is not set formula to all of this but being available whenever possible, and doing it with passion will take you far.
Create your own opportunity
This one is the most risky but worth taking if you are aggressive and serious. Look for a company you want to work for, and find out if they have a community manager and if they don’t have one this might be your opportunity. Try to find out who is in charge of marketing or PR, and give them a compelling case on why you should be there community manager, and maybe consider just starting out doing some social media or being representative for them at events. You could also offer to them a 90-day contract by working as a freelancer. Give them the goals you have set to accomplish in that time, then after the 90 days you and the company can figure out if it’s a good fit for both of you. That way there is no risk or commitment for them to keep you because you both have the agreement that it’s only a 90-day contact. You then have 90 days to do everything in you power to prove them that you are a Linchpin to their company! Be invaluable!
Be sure your Linked In profile is created and updated, be active on Twitter and multiple social media community management forums. The main thing to figure out here is your personal brand, and to let people know who you are and what you are all about. Be transparent and be yourself because you don’t want to end up surprising someone when they discover you have been hiding a different side of you. You don’t have to be perfect because you never will be but you can be perfecting and crafting your game. Scott Monty of Ford said, “90 percent of social media is just showing up”. Good luck out there being community wrangler!