This post was originally published on Ben Cotton’s blog Social Web Thing.

As we celebrated Community Manager Appreciation Day this week, I thought about the attributes, skills and behaviors that make a successful Community Manager (you can view all the #CMAD conversation on Twitter).

I’m lucky enough to have managed several high-profile communities throughout my career, ranging from mobile phone to sports apparel to food brands, so I’ve drawn upon my experience when compiling this list.

My colleagues Britta Heer and Jasper Krog correctly point out that Community Managers should be appointed based on their strategic, communication, social and management skills, so here’s what I consider to be the 10 attributes every successful Community Manager needs.

  1. Strategic focus

    Here are many challenges and opportunities awaiting brands who engage in real-time conversations with fans, but this activity needs to be underpinned by a clear strategic framework and an effective Community Manager who understands and can execute the strategy.

  2. Relationship development

  3. The central focus of all Community Management activity is the ability to identify, nurture and develop long-lasting relationships with new and existing community members for the mutual benefit of fans and the brand.

  4. Leadership

  5. Effective Community Managers help shape the conversation which takes place online and they need to possess strong leadership qualities in order to guide the conversation and community in line with the overall strategy.

  6. Issues identification

  7. There are many examples of crisis’ blowing up on Facebook pages, but a successful Community Manager will be able to identify, monitor, intervene and escalate issues where appropriate, before they develop into a crisis.

  8. Emotional intelligence

  9. Admittedly, this is a very broad term, but Community Managers need to have high emotional intelligence and be able to spot, assess and respond to the emotions of the community using the correct tonality, language and frequency.

  10. Attention to detail

  11. Paying attention to detail at all times is critical to being a successful Community Manager. Whether it be posting content, replying to individuals or recording daily activity, focusing on and appreciating the detail is crucial.

  12. Authenticity

  13. Great Community Managers have the ability to let their personality shine through when engaging with fans, whilst staying true to the voice of the brand. These types of authentic, personalised conversations are what the community wants, rather than default, corporate answers.

  14. Mediation

  15. Frequently within online communities there are opposing views, which can often lead to inflamed, passionate and angry exchanges taking place between different community members. However, a good Community Manager will be able to calm things down, mediate and bring any conflicts to a resolution.

  16. A ‘thick skin’

  17. Online communities contain a wide spectrum of views and there are bound to be times when people vent their anger at the brand, product or community manager. Subsequently, having a ‘thick skin’ and the ability to remain calm and not take things personally needs to be part of the Community Manager’s personality..

  18. Respect

  19. Following the last point and it may seem obvious, but treating all community members with the respect at all times is absolutely essential when looking after communities. There have been many examples of bad Community Managers engaging in slanging matches with fans, causing reputational damage.

What attributes do you think somebody needs to be an effective Community Manager?

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