The New Community Manager: Fan Boys
Social media is still in its infancy, and really more like an infant being reborn again, again and again, so Community Management is still a role that has a lot of maturing to do and can often get a bad wrap - but that's a different post altogether. For this post I want to focus on one of the evolutions I see to happening to the offering of community management - a Fan Boy (or girl) Community Manager. Now some of you may think this is an obvious statement, and to be honest, I think that there is a lot about social that is obvious and we have a bad habit of over-complicating it.
I tend to look for community managers that have platform experience, know the tools to use for managing a community, best practice and how social plugs in to and can be used to achieve a brands overall goals with their consumers. I would expect these people to have the ability to copy write and have multiple personality disorder in order to service whichever type of client/tone of voice that's required, as well as having grammatical and spelling excellence.
Now, across a few brands I have been working with, it's become clear that certain projects require a true fan to perform their community management. An expert in the main subject of the brand, be it a sport, a product vertical, or a hobby would be a welcome addition to many a community. More brands are wanting full time, around the clock social support for activities, such as someone to cover live posting during key football matches over the weekend. It makes perfect sense to hire a part time Fan Boy to work along side a traditional community manager to service the social channels and they will ultimately provide the most quality for the community.
Agencies and brands can work with the fan boy to ensure all compliance issues are met, a tone of voice is shared and adhered to so all the engagements are consistent; both sides work from the same playbook and and to the same processes - allowing for more agile community management and real time, accurate (and more engaging!) content for the community.
Yes, you can have an agency and group of 10 people sitting in a room (not cheap!) with the clients just waiting for the power to go out or some 'key event' to happen so you can get likes on a 'newsroom' style post - or you can have the expert engaging with the fans (who knows, maybe they have some creative flair and a toolkit to work from to produce creative assets as well - think spur of the moment Vines, Instagram posts etc) and be part of the live conversation.
There are a couple routes that can be considered with this type of community management role:
The voice of the brand: this fan boy community manager speaks and engages from the brand, as the brand
The expert who works on behalf of the brand: this fan boy community manger states their name and why they are there. They are almost a 'guest poster'. They may be hired because of their current fan base and/or online presence; maybe they are already known in the vertical and can bring their community to the brand channels and get the conversation started quicker and more effortlessly. Bio would read something like "This account is run on behalf of @brand by First Name, Last Name of @myownsite".
Does this mean only fan boys should be hired to do all aspects of community management? No, not at all. I envision most of these roles would be in conjunction with a general community manager who can run the customer service elements, monitor the channels, support on content themes and calendars, tracking, reporting, providing insights, supporting on campaigns etc.
I think particularly over the next year we'll start seeing a major shift towards this type of offering and what's unique about it, is you can simultaneously be a fan/have a hobby and also have a job that requires skills. Community managers will begin to focus on combining what they love to the role of a community management and these CMs will be like gold dust to brands. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll see 'vertical community mangers' as a natural progression.
Picture credit: Social Business News