Last year, Jeremiah Owyang started Community Manager Appreciation Day #CMAD, held on the 4th Monday of January. It may seem unnecessary on first blush, but Community Managers can offer you, as a business, and as a customer, a better experience. This year’s CMAD will be held Monday, January 24 and it is a great way to learn more about the benefits of community and how good community managers lead the way to value. It is worth pausing to consider the role, and what makes it important.
What is a community manager?
In very basic terms, community managers run a community (online or offline) to ensure the brand, industry or company community is being managed appropriately. A community manager creates an important bridge between the organization and the community members. They are the representative of the brand to the members of the community and the community’s voice back to the business. They are always providing a delicate balancing act of providing the community members what they want so that the community is active and valuable to members, while at the same time making sure the organization is deriving value from sponsoring and funding that community. The expertise required to make this balancing act effective runs a wide gamut, from understanding business strategy in order to create a complementary community strategy, to relationship management, content strategy, communications, and operations.
As you can imagine, this requires juggling many balls at once, including keeping the community vibrant and tied to overall business goals, making sure experts are available to answer member questions and that everyone is following community guidelines. It also means measuring value (return on investment) and communicating that value both to the members and to the organization.
Why do we need a special day to recognize community managers?
I have played the role of community manager for several communities, and the reason I’m excited about taking the time to thank community managers is twofold. First, it gives all of us the opportunity to recognize those folks who are doing a great job. Secondly, being a community manager is a new field and often community managers are cutting a new path for how communities are created and managed. My hope is that by recognizing the men and women behind the community curtain, and sharing their hard work with others, we not only thank them for paving the way, but we can learn from what they are doing well so that as other businesses create and grow their communities, they can learn from those who paved the way.
To my fellow community managers, thank you. Thanks for collaborating with me to do a better job running communities. There are lots of events happening around the world to celebrate Community Managers. You can see the list of events on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog.