Online Community Manager in the Business Organization Chart
Probably the biggest source of confusion for any business starting an online community is what to do with the community manager. Because you fill so many different roles, no one is quite sure where to put the community manager’s cubicle. There’s no simple answer to this dilemma because different communities have different goals. Also, many community managers help out many different departments:
Social media: If your business has a social media team, this area is where you’ll find the community manager hanging out most of the time. Because you spend so much time interacting with the community via the social networks and using social media tools to create campaigns, you’re an integral part of a company’s social media strategy.
Marketing: Because the community manager spends so much time with the people who make up the community, you know the most about your company’s target audience. Being involved in marketing and promotional campaigns only makes sense.
Customer service: Community managers monitor the social networks, e-mails, and other channels to ensure customer happiness. When things aren’t working out for members, you make sure that they’re concerns are taken care of.
Editorial: Many community managers handle the company blogs and newsletters. If there’s an editorial department, you’ll occasionally meet with it to help plan content.
As you can see, the community manager’s role is hard to define because you wear so many hats. Though it may be confusing at first, having a community manager answer to one department only may be a mistake. Communication with all involved departments is essential for good community and employee relations.
You also need to consider something else. If other people are handling campaigns or services that directly affect the community, and you aren’t involved in any of the discussions or decision-making, resentment may occur. Plus, not involving the community manager can lead to unsuccessful campaigns run by people who don’t have the community’s best interests at heart.