When I started working with social media, the community manager was seen as the person who spent all day on Facebook. So my friends envied (and made fun of) my first job. Heck, so did I.
This was 2009. We’re in 2013. Much has changed about what good work in social media is. Unfortunately much hasn’t changed about the perceptions of what a good community manager does.
Colin Nagy, executive director at The Barbarian Group, has a clear vision:
More often than not, the new community manager will be in-house, relying on an agency for creative ideas, content, and best practices. They will also increasingly have a paid social budget to experiment with, propelling popular content higher. The new community manager will also play a role in helping to form creative briefs by taking all of the engagement data from the key social platforms and figuring out what content to make based on community validation and interest.
No wonder good community managers are so hard to find. It’s no longer just about good writing or knowing how to use social media (factors on which many people rely to say they’re the best candidate).
It’s about managing a cyclical strategy where the content we create delivers a result and a series of insights, on top of which we continuously guide our actions. It's about applying lean startup principles to our work. It’s about managing a community but also managing all variables which allow us to develop (not create) a community in the first place (including a client, team, process and quality control).
The new community manager is no longer the guy who "writes posts". She’s the dot connector, the planner, the strategist, the analyst, the tribe leader.