The Definition of the Ideal Community Manager

I’m thinking about hiring a Community Manager for my company. Can you name one trait that you believe all great Community Managers should have?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads  #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.

1. Stellar Spelling and Grammar

Logan LenzA lot of people are quickly turned off by the often unavoidable human mistakes that we all make, and when one sole individual is in charge of the voice of a brand, it makes this notion even more prevalent. The best Community Managers are those that are advanced writers with friendly personalities. If he/she can spin the most mundane occurrences into entertaining stories, the community will come. –Logan Lenz, Endagon

2. Compassionate Personality

Nathan LustigA Community Manager needs to actually care about what is going on in the community and understand the longings, desires, problems, strengths and weaknesses of the community. They should know how to deal with people when they are experiencing both the good and the bad. You can’t fake compassion and actually caring about other people, and a successful Community Manager must be real, not fake. –Nathan Lustig, Entrustet

3. Innovative Thinking

Erin BlaskieI remember watching a presentation that Micah Baldwin was giving where he talked about his role as Community Manager. During his talk, he shared all of the crazy (but totally rad and awesome) things that they were doing for their customers. His ability to think outside the box made me want to do the same for our company. Community Managers need to surprise and inspire others to do the same. –Erin BlaskieBSETC

4. Strength to Say “No”

Matt MickiewiczTrying to please everybody–all of the time–is one of the quickest way to run a community into the ground. A Community Manager needs to learn how to say “no” most of the time and weed out the golden ideas from all the chaff. A good Community Manager leads by example, rather than consensus. As the old joke goes, a camel is a horse built by committee. –Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs

5. User Experience Specialties

Brett Farmiloe A Community Manager should be able to double up as a UX Designer. Why? Each customer interaction a Community Manager creates–be it a @reply or a piece of content they shared–results in an unforgettable brand experience. A UX Designer creates interaction models that affect the user experience, while a Community Manager creates interactive content that affect the user experience. UX = CM. –Brett Farmiloe, Blind Society

6. Responsiveness

Bhavin ParikhThe best Community Managers I’ve seen are extremely responsive. They answer questions and take action quickly, even on evenings and weekends. I’ve seen a community grow 100x based on a Community Manager’s attempt to answer all questions within an hour! The members felt valued, kept coming back, and ultimately began answering each other’s questions. –Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh, Inc.

7. Time and Availability

David AdelmanYour Community Manager should devote time to your company. If you’re hiring a full-time employee, they need to be able to dedicate at least eight hours a day to your company and its customer base. If it’s part-time–as many Community Managers are–it’s critical that he or she carve out a few hours a day for you. Community managers are busy and social. You should not be an afterthought for them. –David Adelman, Reel Tributes

8. A Level Head

Justin BeckSometimes tempers flare within a community or on a social media channel, and brisk exchanges happen in the heat of the moment. The key trait for Community Managers is an eye on the long view, and the ability to stay on strategy while not getting caught up in touchy (and fleeting) subjects or low blows. –Justin Beck, PerBlue

9. Likability Matters Most

Ryan PaughBeing likable is a great trait to have in any job, but critical to a Community Manager’s success. When interviewing potential Community Managers, ask yourself: Is this a person that I’d like to have a beer with? If your answer is “No” find another candidate. If your answer is “Yes” then shake their hand and grab a beer to celebrate! –Ryan Paugh, Brazen Careerist

10. Passion for Your Industry

Louis LautmanIt is more important to find someone who really cares about the community more then they do their own needs, because then they will be committed and will do more for the community than they will for themselves. They will make sure they go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of the group. –Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society

11. In-House, In-Heart

Matt CheuvrontThe best Community Managers are those who live and work in-house. Outsourcing can work to an extent, but the best Community Managers are those who live and breathe your company and culture and have an understanding of your brand, its messaging, position and target demographic. The best conversations come from those who believe wholeheartedly in your business and its values. –Matt Cheuvront, Proof Branding

12. Deep Knowledge

Kelly AzevedoAs a former Community Manager I can tell you firsthand that if your hire does know or understand the business inside and out, then it will be an uphill battle. The entire community must come to trust your Community Manager as a knowledgeable resource who is available, caring and responsive to requests. –Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

13. Business Acumen

Ryan StephensPassion is important, but it should be a prerequisite for any job. As the liaison between a company and a community it’s important to be likable, but sound business knowledge is key for mapping and tracking strategic initiatives that invariably increase the bottom line. The ability to provide this feedback to your organization is crucial. –Ryan Stephens, Ryan Stephens Marketing

14. Extensive Existing Networks

Alexandra LevitCommunity managers know a lot of people. They have existing relationships they can bring to the table so your business isn’t starting from ground zero. –Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

The Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.