Hiring a community manager is difficult. Hiring a top-notch community manager is even harder. Community Management is a critical role. This hire is the bridge between your customers and your team, and their feedback is critical for every department. Beyond the front-line, this hire must work extremely cross-functionally with the ability to inform and collaborate across product, marketing, and customer service efforts. You need someone who can articulate your customers’ experience into product requests and defuse a situation where a customer is vocally unhappy.
Here is a list of the top 3 qualities that you should look for in a candidate:
Your community manager should be able to relate to your community and understand their needs. Empathy is exhibited through active listening, demonstrating curiosity about strangers, and being able to place one’s self in someone else’s shoes. Empathetic people enjoy helping others and will facilitate conversations amongst your community members, so they happen naturally, rather than driving them in their own voice. An empathetic community manager will result in a strong community. Can the candidate look through your social channels and customers service requests and synthesize the community’s needs? When you describe a problem, do they listen and wait silently for you to finish before jumping in with an idea or response?
Past experience volunteering or working with young, elderly, or disadvantaged populations may indicate empathy, as do customer service, caretaking, advocacy, and educational roles. Past experience as a member of your community will increase your community manager’s ability to relate to the community and understand their needs.
2. Organization Skills
Being a community manager requires juggling many cross-functional tasks and keeping all of the balls in the air simultaneously. Community manager duties can include organizing events, managing multiple platforms, tracking user feedback, reporting on community health analytics, and so much more. The demands of such a complex role require attention to detail and superior organizational skills.
Can the candidate easily manipulate an excel spreadsheet? If you ask them their favorite hack for staying organized at work, do they have an immediate answer or do they need to really think hard of an example?
Valuable past experience includes building organizational processes, conducting qualitative or quantitative research, or event planning.
3. Communication Skills
Expert communication skills are critical for your community manager. Your Community Manager enacts the voice of your brand both online and offline. They need to be able to communicate effectively offline with the entire spectrum of your audience, and online across a variety of channels. Effective communicators can write relatable, engaging, concise content for blogs, tweets, emails, and more. They can call a community member and feel relatable over the phone. Perhaps most importantly, they can just as effectively build rapport and communicate with community members as they can with your core team. This allows them to advocate the needs of the community in a way that allows the business to prioritize them.
Can the candidate demonstrate the ability to communicate a complex concept in layman’s terms in a tweet and blog post? Can they easily engage in conversation with diverse members of your community, and diverse members of your team?
Valuable past experience includes public speaking, overseeing content creation and strategy, or grassroots organizing.
Remember, community managers are not just responsible for managing your social media. They are the connection between your community and your company — and they need to be able to represent both groups to each other. It’s a two-way street.