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Interesting discovery: according to the 2012 Community Manager report posted by Social Fresh, the majority of community managers are women. The infographic indicates that 65% are women and 35% are men.

So what makes a community manager effective and successful? There are many different opinions and tips on this from various sources including Mashable, PR Daily and ChrisBrogan.com. After reading through some of them and thinking about this role in terms of the company I work for, I’ve decided to provide a summary based on what I would want out of a community manager:

  1. Great personality. A community manager should be able to get along with just about anyone or know how to deal with difficult situations or people tactfully.
  2. Effective communicator. This isn’t just about writing skills. It’s also about verbal communication, listening and body language. It’s about being engaging and knowing how to engage with the community online and offline.
  3. Customer service oriented. I don’t recall seeing this in any of the articles I read, but I believe being customer service oriented is essential. Community managers may not be customer service reps in the traditional sense, however, they serve as a liaison between the organization and the community. They need to strive for service excellence. Their behaviours reflect back on the organization.
  4. Responsive. I believe this ties in to both #2 and #3 above nicely. When there’s a problem, a complaint, or a difficult situation, be responsive. Do not ignore people’s posts/comments. Not all comments are going to be positive. The key is how you handle the negative ones. Having a social community is a 2-way street.
  5. Know the tools. A community manager should strive to bring the best social media tools onboard to use as part of their community management strategy. Knowing which tools would be best used for which purpose is vital in the success of community management.

At the end of the day, I believe that to be a successful community manager, you must engage, converse, listen, and respond.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Here are a couple of examples of Canadian companies who demonstrate effective community management.

Photo credit: Tim Horton’s Facebook photos

Tim Hortons has a very active online community that appears to be effectively managed. They have a separate website specifically dedicated to the online community, where every cup tells a story. The purpose is for consumers to share their stories of how Tim Hortons has been a part of their lives, through words, pictures or videos.

Tim Hortons utilizes various social media tools including YouTube, twitter and Facebook to reach out to the consumers. They have 1.77 million fans on Facebook and 11,488 followers on twitter. These social media avenues are used to run a contest, tell a story, share information and engage in online conversations with the consumers. The most recent activity on their Facebook page is a call for consumes to vote for them to win a $50,000 grant for the Tim Hortons Children Foundation.

Photo credit: Porter Air Facebook photos

Porter Airlines is my favourite airline ever! For those of you who have never flown via Porter, I encourage you to try at least once and I promise you will fall in love. Porter has embraced social media and effectively uses Facebook and twitter to communicate with customers and offer promotions. They have over 15,000 fans on Facebook and over 19,000 followers on twitter.

Porter uses Facebook to engage in 2-way conversations with their customers. They ask questions and they address concerns. They make the conversations engaging by posting pictures and videos of various information and promotions.

They also use twitter communicate with their audience. They use it to post information such as delays, job openings and Porter in the news. Most importantly, they reply to their customers’ tweets, an indication that they are listening to their customers and are interested in what they have to say.

After reading about these two companies, do you believe they are using social media effectively and are managing their online community successfully? Let me know what you think. I look forward to your comments!

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