Questions you should ask before taking that “Social Media” or “Community” role

I know most of the “Community Managers” in Silicon Valley and beyond, many of them are my friends, I read their blogs, see them at events. A small group I help them to grow, and mentor them as Shel Israel did to me, so I know the Community manager role well.

We also know that the Community Manager role is appearing at almost every company, (learn more about this role) and every PR firm is starting to have a division to focus on this area as well.

This is a great list of questions that arm anyone that’s going into a role that requires them to be involved with social media. James Durbin has spent some time to help the job seeker make sure they don’t get into a firm or agency that asks them to do something un-authentic, awkward, or just boring.

List of Social Media Interview Questions
by James Durbin

There’s a few questions that I would add:

-How is success measured, and does that impact my income?
-Does social media only imply online work, or does it include real life events
-Will I have resources and time to attend industry conferences, workshops, and events?
-How will I be encouraged to learn and stay on top of the fast moving curve in social media?
-Important one: Will I be encouraged to make mistakes, hopefully so our clients don’t have to? (I’m fortunate to be a role where this is ok)
-How much do you value social media in the future of communications?
-How much freedom will I be allowed to craft out this new role?

  • Great questions Jeremiah.

    I was trying to think of the tough ones that corporations aren’t good at talking about until you signed the employment contract.

    In some ways, I wonder if companies can really do what it takes to hire community managers. Are the good hires someone slipping underneath the radar, or are they solid hires from a solid employment process?

    The skills to be a community manager can be taught – we just recently worked with a housewife with limited technical savvy, but a burning curiosity, a willingness to learn, and passion for what she did.

    She now runs a 9 channel community site with 12,00 uniques and impressive advertising revenue for a bootstrap site that is just a few months old.

    No one would have given her a chance three months ago. Today, they’d jump at the chance to hire her.

  • Jim

    That’s a wonderful story. I really believe that being a social media or community person has very little to do with technology, and a whole lot to do with ‘being human’. I applaud you and that housewife.

  • Somewhere you said that it’s more of a marketing/PR background rather than the IT & I totally agree. Communities are all about people. The passion drives it and the technology is so user friendly now. If the position evolves, isn’t the engagement more authentic too?

    Great questions to consider from both sides of employee/employer!

  • I’m community developer for 2 projects: Video on the Net, our conference about the Internet’s impact on TV, Film, and Broadcasting, and, a video guide platform. I’ve made community my business for the last several months, but it was my passion before that.

    Your list is great. Attending the events is part of the role. Sometimes, doing things for no direct return is part of the role. Making sure I can interact in a way that benefits the community and educates my employer is important.

    Another to add to your list: am I empowered to do things differently than they’ve been done to date? Not only my role, but can I take on the organization and move it to change? That’s the sweet spot to me.

    Very great post, and no, you didn’t crash my browser (Firefox on MacBook dual core).

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  • I agree with Chris – that’s a good point! Does the company have a flexible corporate membrane that can be stretched? (as Mr. Scoble so aptly put it).

  • Chris Brogan

    Glad to see you here, I’m a big fan of all the work you’ve been doing lately, Yes, you are a man of the Community.

    Connie, excellent insight as always.

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  • These are great questions. I am recruiting for this position at Yum! Brands in Louisville, KY and this information has been very helpful. Thank you and please let me know if you have any candidates for me!

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