Increasingly, companies are hiring community managers – but what are they, and what do they do? And, most importantly, do you need one?
I invited David Peralty to explain his new role as community manager at PicApp …
A Community Manager is the bridge between the company and the audience that they want to communicate with. For PicApp, the company I work for, they wanted to better connect with bloggers, and so they hired me, a full time blogger, to be that bridge for them.
Having worked in the field for three years, I knew who the key players were and had a good understanding of what type of marketing, messages, services, and branding would really work for myself and the target audience that PicApp was hopeful to connect with.
There are some key needs that every community manager needs to fill and here are a few of my own.
As you build up a community around a product, service or site, you will have to communicate with that community, and help manage the connections you make.
My main day to day task is to talk to bloggers that would enjoy PicApp and let them know what we have to offer.
I also work hard at writing guest posts for blogs in hopes of spreading the word. Bloggers are very helpful in this respect and enjoy the free content.
I also help decide how PicApp manages its resources with regards to advertising on blogs and special events we want to hold.
I will be heading out to the niche related conferences as well, to connect with the potential users of the PicApp service. This gives people a face to connect to the brand, a person that they can come to with their issues and ideas.
Corporate and Community Translation
As the Community Manager, I am the focal point for communication from inside the company to bloggers and from bloggers to the right people inside the company. This allows me to interpret certain information to make sure it is seen as effectively as possible.
With each group having their own specific language and ways to describe things, a translator can be of great help to both parties.
Also, certain traditional media practices are completely lost on bloggers. They don’t understand why they should be interested in normal public relations communications, and as such, a very different kind of communication is needed to interest the larger community.
Proper Service and Support
Other things that a Community Manager will work on are the simple things that keep the community happy. Each day I work on answering customer e-mails, responding to posts on blogs, managing the user forum, and helping build the company knowledge-base.
With all of this under one person’s control, it is easy to see how useful a Community Manager can be for any business looking to extend its reach online.
If you don’t believe me, then search for the type and amount of coverage PicApp has been getting from bloggers.
Thanks, David. So, what do you think – does your company need a community manager?