Schuh, giffgaff and Gratterpalm discuss the importance of community managers

As today is international community manager appreciation day, The Drum speaks to community managers at giffgaff, Gratterpalm and Schuh to find out what value they thought their role brought to the brand.

Vincent Boon, giffgaff

Community managers...., your first line of defence. Your warriors battling away at the frontline always at the ready to ensure a good flow of communication between the customer and the company is maintained. With an innate ability to translate your messages into language your customers can understand and relate to, while at the same time able to translate back to the business the feedback from the customer, so it makes sense to you and fits in with the strategy and roadmap you currently have.

With their persuasive arguments, light touch and good humour they're able to influence, steer and change behaviour within your community on a daily basis, allowing positive sentiment to rise to the surface and swiftly resolving anything negative. Always beavering away to create real relationships between your company and the people that use your service or product. Getting your fans involved in the creation of fantastic user generated content that adds real value to the business. Busily building that army of brand advocates, so they are ready to spring to your companies defence all over the wider web or at home with friends and family.

That person that is ready to throw themselves in the awkward position where they defend the brand and the decisions that are made to the customer, while at the same time fighting to have the customer’s voice heard. Through their tireless efforts the business gains a wealth of information and insight on which it can act and move forward.

Today, spare a thought for your community manager, a true hero of your company.

Jen Rankine, Schuh

What does a community manager do for a brand? We keep everything on track and ticking over. Imagine trying to hang your coat on the back of a door that lacks a hook. Without it, your awesome coat would just be a crumpled heap on the floor*. Community managers are basically a fancy hook that keeps other stuff (or people) from getting stomped on.

When we're not being metaphorical clothes hangers, we tend to create awesome content, keep folk happy and solve any number of problems that consumers feel like throwing at you that day. It's not a 9-5 job. If anyone ever says it is, they are telling porkies.

You'll find CMs lingering on their accounts at 1.36am making sure everything is ok. You'll find them on their phones at weekends (and whilst they're on holiday...) checking pages to make sure nothing has gone wrong. We’re hardwired to our communities and do these things because we enjoy and love every single moment of it. That being said, any donations of Lego will be greatly received and will make every day super awesome.

*door knobs do not count here.

Calvin Chan, Gratterpalm

Community managers are a lot like football refs.

When we do our jobs right, we go mostly unnoticed.

Our value to brands is simple: we convey expertise and drive conversation. A typical community manager might look after blog writing and Twitter updates. I’m responsible for both those things at Gratterpalm. There’s lots of pressure that comes in knowing that everything I do reflects on the agency. A typo in website copy can make us look sloppy. Tweeting out old stories can make us look archaic.

For Gratterpalm and our retail clients, a strong online presence has never been more important. The content that CM’s create and curate go a long way in building brands. What we do can win (and lose) customers and clients – that’s a thrilling but scary thought sometimes.

So show your community manager some love today.

Computer present image via Shutterstock

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Ishbel Macleod

I'm social media manager from The Drum.

I also cover social media news.

All by Ishbel