Indian startups need more Community Managers


Location of the Republic of India.
Image via Wikipedia

A Google search for ‘Community Manager India’ and ‘Community Management Jobs India’ does not throw many surprises. What it means is that either Google isn’t tracking the developments about Community Managers or there isn’t too much happening in this space.

While attending these un-conferences & meet-ups, I bounce into many start-up founders who are passionately pitching their ‘brands’ to the community folks. In other words, they also double-up as community managers for their companies.

Sometimes I find it quite strange that majority of the Indian companies have been very slow to realize the potential of Community Managers. It could be possible for a variety of reasons: either the concept has been untested or Indian companies do not see much value in it. The traditional mindset always says that it is all about selling at the end-of-the day and everything else adds on to the costs.

OTOH, the role of a Community  Manager/Community Evangelist has grown immensely in Europe/US during the last 24 months or so.

A quick-recap about the role of a Community Manager:

Community Manager Definition

A person who talks passionately about his company’s product/service, loves solving customer problems, spreads the word about his company through all mediums, draws the first blood with a potential client and most importantly builds ‘relationships’.

A Community Manager is a facilitator/interface between his company’s customers/community and the company itself. He is the one who establishes connections and ensures that the conversation keeps flowing smoothly.

Community Manager Traits

  1. Has a clear understanding of the goals & objectives of his community.
  2. Understands the context and usage of social-media tools for his company (twitter, blog, social-networks).
  3. Does not hone the role a salesman.
    • In events like barcamps, conferences and meet-ups does not try to sell his brand too hard. That is something which he is never expected to do. There is a subtle difference between evangelizing and selling.
  4. Is results driven (quantity/quality).
    • Is focused more on the quality than the quantity. For e.g. It doesn’t matter if he has posted ’10’ comments about his company’s product [quantity] but has failed to respond to that 1 blog-post which talks about a bug in the product [quality].
  5. Isn’t afraid of negative criticism/feedback for his company.

Why do Indian companies need Community Managers?

  • For real-time understanding of user needs
  • To create a passionate community of existing & potential users
  • To constantly monitor the conversations about their brand.
  • A human face for their brand, central point of communication between the company and its customers.
  • For a sharper, more focused and alert customer-service
  • To keep a tab on competitors

Questions for you

Do you think we have been slow in understanding the potential of a Community Manager? How do you see this role evolving in 2009? If you’re start-up founder what KPI will you set for your Community Manager?

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4 Comments

Filed under Community Manager, Web 2.0

4 responses to “Indian startups need more Community Managers

  1. Hi my friend, Here in France, we have a lot of community managers.
    We have to develop this new jobs to help compagny on the web.
    You have to do the same, because your country and economy are developping very fast.
    To be not late, I think you must make efforts to convince compagny’s owners to invest in such jobs.

    Best regards

  2. Great post. Probably time to take stock of any progress. Though we do find that this tribe has increased in number, I still dont find their role gettign strategically defined or integrated with the brand/ product strategy. Any thoughts?

  3. Sharan Tulsiani

    Hey,
    What, didn”t my name come up? 🙂
    Community manager to Social Media fella

  4. I personally believe we are not only slow in picking up the idea of community managers but my stint with few startups entreprenuers has put a doubt on my mind about proper their understanding of such a concept and their extendability.

    But your article is a great primer to start off with. Even I remember I covered the same last year though from an International angle but surely we have lot to catch up in terms of utilizing such concepts from theory to more practical executions.

    Food for thought, though!


    Sampad

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