This is the first part of a series I will be writing as I learn about community management and the BraveNewTalent community from Diana Richards and the rest of the team at the BraveNewTalent London office. This will be an attempt to follow three months of learning, experimenting, and experiencing as a BraveNewTalent community management intern.

Having a background in Social Anthropology has certainly helped from a research standpoint, but most of my knowledge is purely theoretical, so coming to grips with the practical strategies involved with building a community will certainly be an interesting process.

Before coming to work in the office, I was tasked with outlining the role of the community manager, as well as comparing this role to that of those who are in charge of social media, PR, sales, marketing, and quality assurance. Fortunately, there has been a lot of debate around the exact specifications of a community manager’s role, so there was plenty of information available for me to work off of. Though the role of a community manager is definitely a collaborative one that may cross over departments from time to time, what became clear is that, while they may not always agree on what they are, community managers are fairly unanimous on what they are not. This phenomenon became particularly clear to me after I had already completed my first task when I read this article on ‘The Best (and Worst) Community Management Job Descriptions’.

Three main do’s of community management:

  1. DO outline a clear vision or goal for your community - Why do people need this community? How will their engagement enrich their lives?
  2. DO formulate realistic strategies and objectives - Create an expected timeline, choose appropriate analytic tools, and start small.
  3. DO engage users and encourage interaction - Invite users who will benefit from your vision, make them feel comfortable, and make sure they know that someone is listening.

What I produced at the end of task one was this consideration of ‘The Role of the Community Manager’, a good start perhaps, but there is certainly a lot more to learn.

Samantha Rosenthal is a Community Management Intern at BraveNewTalent, and a recent graduate in Social Anthropology from SOAS, University of London. Samantha will be writing two blog series, one exploring theoretical debates on the functions of online communities, and one documenting her experiences at BraveNewTalent. She can be reached at samantha@bravenewtalent.com