Community managers are the future host of your organization conversations - part corporate journalist, part PR person, part customer service, part likable, part sociable and enthusiastic face, part technologist, part Renaissance person and part brand fanatic, they are roles not easily configured inside companies currently.
We've literally found hundreds of them with various titles (i.e. social media architect, community manager, web manager, product evangelist) and they've been nice enough to join us on Twitter @communitygurus. Jeremiah Owyang, Connie Bensen and Sascha Carlin have also built a Facebook headquarters as well. We've been able to interview 30+ of them over the last few months and have gleaned "what is it they actually do?"
Having just left a conference last week, a number of top marketing executives approached me and were interested in how to bring a community-based strategy to execution and what laid in-between in pulling it off, I thought I would lay out the 15 essential roles that community managers perform in successful wiki-companies (from internal-focus to external and from the basics to the very tough-to-achieve). Each role is pictured above.
Product Educator - being the guru, expert, historian and "details" person on the portfolio of brands/products the community supports
Brand Evangelist - exuding passion for the brand and being a walking role model for the type of people that company wants to attract, likely an active participant in the community of interest
Research Filter - being able to synthesize community feedback information and analytics and make actionable insight that company executive can react to
Internal Trainer - becoming the missionary inside a company and prevoking employee involvement, demonstrating success, communicating value and demystifying the world of tech and social media that supports the community
Client Stir Stick - becoming the internal rally cry and the conscience of the community/customer inside the company, frequently at executive levels - practising change management and changing processes that hinder community success
Bridge Roles (between company and community)
Program Manager/Administrator - managing the day to day details or running the community - staff, investment, activity tracking, communication, providing feedback...etc.
Content Developer - whether it be video, pitcures, forums, updates or blogging - creating a fresh supply of interesting news from the company and about the community
On the Ground Responder/Liaison - playing the intermediary role between company and community, whether it be planned or crisis communication and highlighting emerging issues
Events Host - existing as the face of both online and offline events, creating a sense of presence and leadership at all communal occasions
The Strategist - developing new applications, platforms and course corrections for community engagement that also benefit the sponsoring company
External, Community-Minded Role
Problem Solver - answering directly or providing a forum and process to solve member/customer break-fix problems or more ingrained issues with company, product or community
Moderation - playing the role of ombudsman, rulemaker, conversation starter and referee in user generated forums and community debate inside and outside the community
Social Networkers - recruiting new members into the community wherever they exist
Expert Listener - tracking to what's being said and where about the company inside the community and in the external world and reacting to it
Personal Concierge - incubating top performing community members, highlighting key member contributions and giving the kid gloves/VIP treatment to key industry and community stakeholders