What is an Online Community Manager?


It is the biggest question in newly exposed markets (like China) and corporate entities who wants to enter a new market or jump into the bandwagon, but doesn’t know what it is really about. Typically the “we want to be successful like them, so we need to have people and positions that they have”.

An Online Community Manager is one of the key to success in having a business today – online or offline. But simply creating a position without any knowledge about it or approaching it simply as “PR work” will only make it useless or hurt you in the long-run. Whether you like or not, you have a community, wrong execution could spell disaster.

Dawn Foster created a presentation of what an Online Community Manager is all about – why it is needed, what to do, and what to avoid. “Yes, It’s Really a Job” and not just another job title.

But before I show you the slides, here are some selected points.

What do we do?

  • Ongoing Facilitation
  • Content Creation
  • Evangelism
  • Community Evolution

What Skills do we need?

  • Patience
  • Networking
  • Communication
  • Facilitation
  • Technical Skills
  • Marketing
  • Self-Motivation
  • Workaholic Tendencies
  • Organization

Guiding Principles: It’s All About the People

  • Focus on the individuals: Participate as a person, not a corporate drone
  • Be Sincere: Sincerity = believability and credibility
  • Not all about you: Community is about conversation, which is by definition two-way
  • Be a Part of the Community: Don’t try to control the community
  • Everyone’s a Peer: You are not the expert; knowledge comes from everywhere

What Makes a Community Work?

  • Open, inclusive and transparent
  • Listening to good and bad feedback
  • Actively engaged in the community
  • Encouraging new members
  • Negative Comments: Do NOT delete negative feedback. Respond constructively

Promotional No-No’s

  • Do not promote your community on competitor’s sites (slimy)
  • Do not use social media (twitter, facebook, blogs, etc.) with the sole purpose of pimping. Example, talking about your ideas, thoughts, and products with a personal spin (what YOU are doing) [my addition: or spamming people via social media (friendster, multiply, myspace, etc.)]

What Makes a Community Work?

  • Open, inclusive and transparent
  • Listening to good and bad feedback
  • Actively engaged in the community
  • Encouraging new members
  • Making it easy for people to participate
  • Integration into other relevant areas of the site
  • Responding to criticism (never deleting negative comments)

Communities to Avoid

  • Community is lip service, not a serious endeavor
  • Community software / configuration / policies that get in the way of collaboration

Dealing with the Difficult

  • Negative Comments: Do NOT delete negative feedback. Respond constructively

Promotional No-No’s

  • Do not promote your community on competitor’s sites (slimy)
  • Do not use social media (twitter, facebook, blogs, etc.) with the sole purpose of pimping. Example, talking about your ideas, thoughts, and products with a personal spin (what YOU are doing)

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