The ‘In The Trenches’ Community Manager

Community strategists, directors, and moderators are great. But the one essential role for every community is the ‘in the trenches’ community manager. This is the person who spends nearly all their time directly engaging with members.

I worked with a client recently who had a few members of staff, but none committed to this role…and it showed!

Members weren’t getting the quality and quantity of responses they deserved. There wasn’t someone they could trust and build a good relationship with. The tone of the community was polite and direct instead of warm and welcoming.

When helping hire for these (often junior to mid-level roles), I encourage clients to look for one critical trait:

Is this person 100% committed to helping our members succeed?

If you ask a potential recruit what excites them about this work, does helping members succeed come up?

In their past role, can you see evidence that they went the extra mile to answer questions?

Will they reply with warmth and personality? Does this shine through in other online engagements?

Is their motivation truly aligned to doing everything they can to support our members?

While community skills can be taught, it’s impossible to imbue someone with this trait. They either have it or they don’t.

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