What a Community Manager does

There’s a lot of misconceptions of what a Community Manager does, most think they’re the customer or even company advocate. While that’s true, the bigger role is to listen and inform.

Today I was telling some colleagues what a Community Manager does, I’m transitioning on, so I’m trying to share what I’ve learned, here’s just a few things that I’ve learned. Part of the Community Managers role is to:

  1. Listen: Use listening tools like Technorati, Talkdigger, read blogs, forums, wikis, to find out what customers are saying
  2. Respond: Depending on what’s being said, respond quickly when appropriate
  3. Inform: Tell the right stakeholders in the company what’s happening, this can range from Engineering, Product Management, Product Marketing, PR, Marketing, Bloggers, or forums moderators.
  4. Shut up and sit back: One of the most important jobs of the CM is to connect the right internal people with customers and let them work it out, stay out of the way if you don’t understand the problems.
  5. Listen more: Keep on listening, responding, informing, and connecting the right folks. A community manager is an odd looking being, big ears and eyes, and a small mouth.

From Jeremiah Owyang, Online Community Manager at Hitachi Data Systems (well at least for another 1.5 weeks)

Update: Nathan of the Net-Savvy Exec Blog lays out very similiarly what he envisions a Community Managers does, a slightly more functional role called Social Media Relations, very nice.