How to pick a community manager?

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Lately I see many poor attempts from the organisations to manage the “community issue”. Most of these are still early adapters in Norway, and deserve praise for the initiative. But giving the job to a wrong man will more often than not result in…well, no result at best.

So, what are the common mistakes people do when hiring a community manager?

1. ¬†Placing an add in a local newspaper with text that sounds like this: ” If you’re young and ambitious (maybe a student who’s looking for extra earnings) and have understanding for social media, we have a position for you”.

2. Extending the responsibilities of the exisitng information manager (who has only worked with offline media) to cover social media channels in addtion to the rest of the official communications.

3. Hiring the external social media guru.

The main purpose of getting a community manager is to listen to all those voices on the web who talkes about your organisation, and when approprite, respond to them. He or she is ideally supposed to build the community around your company by being timely, transparent and valuable. But most importantly, the community manager should be able to convey the best attributes and qualities of your company to those who doesn’t know about them yet, or those who got dissapointed. Now how can you ever be persuasive and authentic if you talk about something you don’t believe in or know everything about?

The best way to pick a community manager is therefore an organic way:¬†through natural selection from within the organisation. You’ve got to find someone who’s got both passion and loyalty for your company and a genuin interest and understanding of social media. Before searching for experts outside, look at you employees. Maybe there is already one or more who’s doing the job just for the love of it. No one will represent your company better than those who breath your corporate culture, knows all the stories, weaknesses and streanghts, and proud to be a part of it.

Anyone can learn social media techniquies.You can even teach a crow to speak a human language, but it’s how it’s being spoken that makes all the difference.

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3 Responses to “How to pick a community manager?”


  1. 1 Fredrik Johnsen March 16, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Good post! I think enthusiasm for communications and brand loyalty are the two most important factors when choosing a community manager, and like you also say, most corporations probably have someone in the organisation who fits the description already. It can be as simple as finding out who runs the “Company X employees” group on Facebook, or doing a Google blog search to see if anyone has commented on posts about the company. And if anyone puts in an ad in a (print) newspaper for a community manager, it spells “FAIL” with all caps…

  2. 2 Ole Emil Johnsen March 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

    There’s also a challenge that companies hire people with an IT- background. Social media is conversation (=communication). This means that the activity in the social media sphere is affecting both the brand, the reputation and the image of the company. Shouldn’t this be handled by someone who are able to work strategic with builing relationships on behalf of the company?

    But I also agree with fredrik that enthusiasm and loyalty are two core values in desiding the company’s community manager.

  3. 3 Simonn March 22, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.


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