Community Manager Appreciation Day 2016 is right around the corner. Most community managers work with customers, but I think that employee advocates form a community that needs tender and loving guidance too.
In my opinion, there is a need for two kinds of community managers: one that manages customers and other that manages employee advocates.
What Does a Community Manager Do?
According to Jeremiah Owyang, community managers have four common tenets in their job descriptions.
- Primarily they represent the customer by being a Community Advocate. In practice, this means listening and engaging customers by responding to their needs.
- Naturally they are brand evangelists — employee advocates — themselves. Promoting events, products and content to their community is literally in every community managers' job description.
- They are required to have quality communication skills. Community managers have the knowledge of the communications tools — mainly social media platforms — and the competence to use them.
- They gather community input for strategic use. While keeping the community alive and up to date, community managers are also facilitating a conversation between customers and, for example, a product team.
When a community manager manages a community of employee advocates, the employees are their customers. A community manager acts as an anchor, which prevents community drifting.
Now, let's drill down to the subject more closely.
Why Employee Advocates Need Their Own Community Manager?
Being a customer community manager is a job for marketing or customer service. When it comes to managing a community of employee advocates, it is more of a job for human resources.
Companies get easily excited about the buzz and shiny benefits of employee advocacy — sometimes even too excited. When companies aim for fast results the pressure increases, and suddenly employees may face distress. The results are not going to be as good as expected. A community manager can prevent this from happening by putting employees first. As an outcome, also the results get better.
The community manager ensures that the needs of employee advocates are met:
- Some of advocates may need more coaching. Providing development opportunities add value to both employees and the company.
- Others may have developed new expectations about the content served to them. Personal brands and networks evolve, to keep the good results coming, content must evolve too.
- Several advocates may build an interest to create content. Support is probably needed to get the optimal content published.
- Every advocate needs encouraging. Cheering, praising & perks keep employees going. Also, good examples are needed.
- Everyone needs to know what is going on. Communicating the results and news about the program keeps employees in the loop.
A community manager communicates these needs to others in the employee advocacy program (Coaches, Content Creators, Content Curators, etc.). Facilitating a conversation between employees and management develops the company culture. Being heard, results in better advocacy!
Image by Jose Martin