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  • Writer's pictureJosh Simons

Why Community Management Matters

Fairly common job advice I've heard over the years is to track your accomplishments, especially specific metrics to measure the value you provide to a company. For instance, when I previously worked in healthcare, in my first year as a team lead, I spearheaded several initiatives to reduce the amount of bad debt write-offs the company took. The exact amount was around $1.3M saved, which was a 70% improvement from the previous year.

As a community manager, it's a little bit harder to track down the financial impact you have on the company's bottom line, because the nature of the role is different. When I first started as a community manager, I had to answer the question, "So what exactly do you do?" a lot of times, because it's a relatively new role in a fairly niche industry, there isn't a lot of widespread familiarity with what a community manager actually does. So let's help address that.

What does a community manager do and what value does it add to a company?

Community managers often wear a lot of hats, so there will be some differences across various CM roles, but there are some pretty standard through-lines:

  1. Cohesive Customer Service - Most CMs are involved in the company's support or customer service functions, answering questions, troubleshooting problems, and helping customers and community members. But it's more than just responding to tickets as they come in - it's proactive, seeking out opportunities to help a prospective customer. It's similar to traditional B2B sales, where the sales rep seeks to understand what the client's use case is, and then helps them find the best solution for their needs. A great CM can answer the right questions to help convert someone who's on the fence about buying a product or using a tool into a paying customer.

  2. Marketing and Public Relations - Community Managers are, by necessity, very in-tune with the wants and needs of their community. They have a position of trust and authority, which often makes them one of the public faces of the company - one that the public has easy access to. Much like a Brand Manager's main responsibility is to shepherd and protect the company's image and reputation, a CM has that same responsibility, but it's often placed on their individual actions both within community spaces and outside of them.

    1. This can be incredibly tiring and tedious. You are effectively "on" 100% of the time you're interacting online. It's not uncommon to receive a message at midnight asking about a feature, or a Sunday afternoon text looking for customer support.

  3. Product Responsibilities - As a CM, you are often the voice of the community's interests in product meetings. If the team wants to do something that won't resonate with the community, it's your job to express that clearly, and in a way that changes the mind of the decision-makers. That's a lot of pressure. Your company is depending on you to help them get it right.

As the community manager, you are effectively a full-time brand ambassador, and your job is to help make sure that one-time customers become lifelong fans of the brand. It's about maintaining the health and vibrancy of the community. While some people will track this with metrics for support tickets, social media followings, the number of people in your discord, and any other form of numerical data, there is a certain intrinsic quality to a great community manager that can't be measured. The closest you can probably get is with sentiment reporting, but even that misses the personal and relational components of the role.

If you're a community manager, or work with one, how do you track the value you bring to the role?

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