Community Management and Community Managers

The community manager position in marketing organizations across all industries is one of the hottest gigs and it’s been that way for a few years now. The role is attracting people because of the opportunity to drive new processes and build professional brand equity for the individual as much as the company, and it doesn’t hurt that big brand companies are paying top dollar to fund these operations in a time when they are paring back across the board on everything else.

I wrote about community managers over 2 years ago in a post that referenced something Chris Brogan, a leading authority on the subject, had posted and Chris replied with a few words on the importance of metrics. The lack of performance metrics for community management is one reason why the position is so sought after, simply put we have not been measuring performance for this role because few people really understood where to look in the organization for the points to measure success and failure on when it came to community management; we’ve been stuck in this “we know it when we see it” mentality.

The above is why I got interested in a post that Radian6 put up on their blog about the subject. This company, better than most, understands what community management is supposed to drive in terms of business benefit, after all it’s what they are selling in the market, and in one post they have succinctly captured some of the key business processes that are impacted by the community management role. When you have the business processes defined it becomes much more achievable to define metrics upon which the community management function is to be measured.

Once upon a time, managing a community meant hanging out in an online location – be it a forum or a chat room – and moderating chat. Approving comments. Handling some support issues. Dealing with trolls, helping people with questions. That kind of thing.

But community management, at least the way we approach it, isn’t just online issues management and discussion moderation anymore. It’s a far more fundamental business role, one that ties together responsibilities from a number of different places, both online and off.

[From A Different Look at Community Management « Social Media Monitoring and Engagement – Radian6]

In the words of the recently deceased John Wooden, “don’t mistake activity with achievement” and when it comes to community management wiser words have never been said. Every business function has to demonstrate through objective measure why it should continue to exist, the much talked about community management function inside an increasing number of marketing organizations is no exception.