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Joel R

Which hat do you wear?

A successful community manager is a combination of so many things.

Being a successful community manager demands that you be a multi-faceted person and to apply a dynamic personality to a position that’s always in flux.  You’re the authorized ambassador of your organization; you’re the chief moderator who sets and enforces community guidelines; and you’re the counselor and friend to all of your peers in the community.  You may also be the one who updates your community suite, approves members, and manages the moderator team.  Oh, and you find time to be the social media coordinator, digital designer-in-training, and all-around fantastic human being.

You wear many hats and it can be challenging to juggle all of those hats. So what do you do?
Take a breather.  The good news is that you don’t have to wear all the hats, all the time.  My head used to spin at the sheer amount of work that I faced as a solo community manager - especially when my community first started out – and I didn’t have a disciplined approach to community management.  I didn’t even know what hats to wear!

Over time, I’ve learned that there are specific ‘hats’ to community management.  The best way to figure out which hats to juggle?  Determine which hats are most important to you, which hats to wear for a specific goal, and which ones to swap out as your needs change.  Create the change you believe in by wearing the right hat.

No matter the niche or industry, you should be a self-professed evangelist who is passionate and always learning about the topic.  This personal interest will shine over time with your expertise in helping other users, bringing in new members with your helpful knowledge, and focusing discussion to evolving trends.  You’re trusted as a leading voice of the community and your organization, and you can use your expertise to spread the positive impact of your organization’s mission.  

User Advocate
You’re passionate about your users because you understand that the beating heart of your community is the valuable feedback, peer support, and testimonials that your users provide. You’re a champion of nurturing a positive and supportive community that’s aligned with your organizations’ goals.  Customer service is a vital component to your team’s community outreach.

Digital Marketer
An effective community manager will engage people, even outside of the community.  This means being a leading voice on external sites like blogs, partner communities, social media, industry events, and professional organizations.  It extends the reach of your organization through non-traditional marketing and gives you and your community an online impact in relevant areas.

Relationship Builder
Part of your job is to be a networker for all the people around you and to be a bridge for authentic relationships.  You want to listen to the ensuing conversations happening around your product, company, or industry, then add value and build relationships with key stakeholders both online and in-person.  It’s especially important to build meaningful relationships within your organization to advocate for your organization’s mission through your community.

Suite Administrator
Finally, you should be an expert in Invision Community to leverage the built-in tools.  Invision Community makes it easy for community managers of all technical backgrounds to get started and run successful communities.  The more you learn of the Administrator and Moderator functionality, the more effective you become in supervising your community staff and driving your organization’s success.

Community Management is one of the most exciting and rewarding roles in the modern web.  It’s a position that’s filled with dynamism and people, and you grow yourself in ways that you never imagined.  An effective community manager needs to extend herself by trying on new hats.  And while some of these hats may be new to you at first, I encourage you to try all the hats and slowly develop your expertise in these new roles over time.  Putting on more hats is the first step to becoming a more valuable and effective community manager.
What hat do you wear today, and what hat do you want to wear tomorrow?  No matter which new role you decide to embark upon, hats off to you for stepping up and growing yourself as a community manager.  

Joel R is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. When he's not running his own successful community, he's peppering Invision Community's private Slack channel with his feedback, community management experience and increasingly outrageous demands (everything is true except the last part).

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