Community manager roles are on the rise, as an increasing number of businesses enter the social media party. Brands want superstar representatives, and plenty of industry experts have provided guidance on top traits to look for during the hiring process. Marcy Massura of Weber Shandwick gave a talk at SMSS Boston on characteristics of successful community managers; Social Axcess contributor, Maggie Grainger, outlines the “7 Habits of Great Community Managers;” and Mashable contributor Erin Bury identifies “5 Qualities of Highly Effective Community Managers.” So what’s the number one community management quality that industry experts most emphasize? Passion.
Passion is something that most of us understand at a visceral level. But practically speaking, what does passion look like and how does passion manifest in the community management role? I reached out to eleven social media Yodas for their definitions of community management “passion.” Below are their wise words.
1 – “Passion is the neverending desire to engage, respond to and delight one’s community, whether it is for work or in many cases, for pleasure or personal interest.” Aaron Strout, head of location based marketing at WCG and co-author of Location Based Marketing for Dummies
2 – “The passion that drives the community manager, like the passion that drives a parent, is hard to define but easy to spot: It’s a combination of genuine love for the subject, a profound care for the outcome, and sense of shared pride in the success of the community as a whole.” Dave Evans, author of Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day and The Next Generation of Business Engagement
3 – “Community management passion can be for the brand or for customers. It is the type of person who jumps up and down trying to change things for the better.” – Frank Eliason, SVP of social for Citi
4 – “Passion equals creativity, and an effective communications manager needs that passion to roll with the punches and deliver quality content and 2,000+ ideas — every day — in an environment with bosses who only remember your last hit.” – Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan
5 – “Passion is best described as the overriding fuel that makes someone want to do something. In community management, it’s that spark in someone’s brain that makes them love talking to customers. Or in other roles it’s the love of pounding out code or processing that paperwork. They feel like their role is critical to the overall operation and the company would fail without them. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. It’s that fuel in our minds that makes us weather any storm to do our job.” – Jason Falls, owner of Social Media Explorer
6 – “Passion is about doing the work you were born to do, when no customer question is too banal, no complaint too frustrating, no response time too quick. Passion shows. And it matters.” - Jay Baer, social media strategist, keynote speaker, and co-author of The Now Revolution
7 – “Passion is being a champion for your brand and your brand’s fans. It requires a lot of time, but it’s worth it with every thank you, or comment of appreciation from one of your fans. My recommendations are to work for a brand that you believe in and be committed to telling that brand’s story each and every day. Showcase that dedication by engaging with your brand’s fans in a way that encourages a two-way dialogue and shows you care about their questions, comments and feedback.” Jessica Gioglio, PR/social media manager for Dunkin’ Donuts
8 – “First of all, I think everyone is a community manager at some level, in some place. Their passion for that idea/issue/product is what gets them to engage in that capacity. A CEO might look like a CM to his core team…his/her passion for growing a successful business is what drives him/her. This is why often times companies tap highly engaged community members to become the CM for a community. They’re already passionate about the topic and community. The best CMs temper their passion with a desire to help others and an understanding of strategic goals. They’re selfless, whereas someone who’s simply passionate might be more focused on what’s best for them.” – Jim Storer, community manager & social media strategist with The Community Roundtable
9 – “There’s a fine line between passion and overzealousness. A passionate community manager is one who can represent the community (or the brand or company or product) with a levelheaded spirit and enthusiasm that doesn’t cross the line into fanaticism.” - Mark H. Anbinder, IT consultant at Cornell University and contributing editor at TidBITS
10 – “Passion in a social media manager is an overwhelming desire and commitment to excellence in execution. It’s that uncontrollable drive to foster relationships and provide value to your company’s target markets. Passion comes from a core belief in mutual benefit.” – Robert M. Caruso, CEO of Bundle Post
11 – “Passion is a great buzz word, but at the end of the day, you don’t get to explain it…you feel it. It is like an electricity and when you are lucky enough to be around someone who has it, you know it and it is infectious. A person who is passionate about what they do can excite other people to want to engage. That is why passionate community managers are amazing…they are not faking it. They love the brand, so it is easy for them to be believable and transparent.” Terra Spero, mco-founder and CEO of RealTime Marketing Group