By Melisa Manrique, Community builder and Author at MigrantMama
When joining a coworking space as a founder, a freelancer or a corporate, you soon get familiar with new vocabulary such as “flex and fix desk, slack channels, remote worker, co-working retreat, nap room” and last but not least “community”. Often accompanied by a second term like “brunch” or “drinks” or “meetup”, the term community belongs to the coworking vocabulary as much as a good cup of coffee in the coworking kitchen area.
OurPlace is doing an amazing job in building a community of like-minded individuals in Switzerland, starting with a stunning location in Morges and growing a strong online presence. Belonging to the OurPlace community means for you to take advantage of a unique working environment as well as a vibrant network that can help you bring your business at the next level.
But do a location and a slack channel make a community? The short answer is: no, it does not. The long answer requires a better analysis of the role of that charming, organized and outgoing individual who focuses on building a loyal community for your brand. We are referring to the “community manager”.
If you are asking yourself whether you need a community manager for your own business, read further to better understand how and when this decision can impact the growth of your company.
Starting with the Right Definition: a Community Manager is…
We have mentioned a few of the characteristics of a “community manager” among which organized, charming an outgoing. Basically, a delightful person you would love to hang out with, but what does s/he actually do every day? Here we offer some clarification. In fact, the role of a community manager is often confused with the work of other colleagues: the PR, the social media manager, the event manager, a
the pacifier, and even the info-point-on-legs!
On the one hand, the community manager needs to have a good understanding of the above-mentioned roles, yet on the other, her/his tasks differ from those and rather enable an overall successful team-work. How? Because the community manager is the bridge between your community and your team.
A very easy way to understand the role of your community manager is to see her/him as your “brand ambassador”. This manager is in constant contact with your customers, listening to their feedback, to their complaints, engaging with their latest topics of interest, and checking trends. The community manager builds a safe offline and online environment where your customers feel free to interact with one another. S/he focuses on fostering a sense of community based on your brand values.
The confusion is however understandable. Similarly to a PR, s/he will build trustworthy relationships, yet not with journalists but with current and prospective customers. Similarly to the social media manager, s/he will acknowledge the current topics your community is interested in, but s/he will not necessarily engage in managing the social channels. Similarly to an event manager, s/he will develop concepts for community events that are based on community wishes and needs; but s/he will involve the event manager for their realization. Last but not least, similarly to an info-point-on-legs, the community manager will be very fully informed about what is happening in the community. However, the end goal is to enable the community members to collaborate and support each other, rather than simply providing the answers.
From DIY to Hiring a Professional Community Manager
At the beginning of your startup journey, you might be tempted or might not have enough resources to hire a community manager. This is comprehensible and common. However, if your company starts to grow steadily and your schedule becomes busier between investments talks, public interviews, speakers slots, then you might want to invest on a professional community manager who will help you with the brand growth and development.
The Key Qualities of a Good Community Manager
If you decide to look for the person who will be your brand ambassador, you should have a good idea about what your brand stands for and who your target audience is. This will ease your choice for the right community manager for your business.
Aside outstanding people skills, a good community manager knows how to communicate effectively and listen carefully. S/he will be engaging not only with the current customers but also with potential ones thus requiring empathy and patience in relation to complains; as well as curiosity and creativity in relation to new requests. The community manager will work hard to build a proper fan base proud to represent your brand and be part of your community.
And now, at the next community event remember to cheer to the great work of the community manager!
Keywords: coworking space, community, community manager, community events.