When Did Community Management Become an “I” Thing?

My awesome digital team at work brainstorming together.

Recently there have been a number of articles expressing opinions on the correct age of a community manager. Some believe the perfect community manager is someone right out of college, young and who grew up with social media. Others argue it takes a seasoned digital professional to properly manage a brand or company’s social media channels. But honestly, I don’t think it is either.  The best community manager is someone who is a part of a team who can learn from those with different experiences. Maybe that person didn’t start using Facebook in college, but has helped launch award-winning Facebook campaigns. Or maybe that person is a recent graduate who increased engagement on Twitter by 200 percent during their internship. Like many say while dating or getting old, age is only a number. This statement stands true in most of the professional world too.

I’ve seen people older and younger than me do amazing things in the digital space. We all come from different experiences and bring diverse ideas to the table, that is why we are hired. Even for freelance digital strategists or community managers, they have mentors and peers to bounce ideas off of to come to the best conclusion for their client. Social media is always changing and a good  strategy shouldn’t come from a cookie cutter plan. Every client and brand is different, so the content, tone, timing and frequency of a social media editorial calendar should be different too. This is hard to achieve if you have one person, at any age, managing all community management. The most successful digital strategies and community management efforts  have input from several people with varying levels of experience and backgrounds. If a community manager is asked to work alone, they aren’t being set up to succeed.

At the end of the day the best community managers are those who are passionate about the digital space, believe in their client and have a network of like-minded people to grow with. If you have someone managing a Pinterest page who doesn’t see the  value in Pinterest, they probably won’t succeed, regardless of their age. So instead of looking at age when trying to find the perfect community manager, look for someone enthusiastic to be a part of your team and then work together to build social media success. Maybe the 24-year-old isn’t the right person to issue a statement on Twitter during a crisis, but they might be the best person at your company to draft a blog post about issues management. Work as a team and succeed as a team. Community Management isn’t an “I” thing and whether you are 25 or 50, there is always something to learn. That is the beauty of social media, it’s always changing and with that we are always adapting. No one should go into the space alone if they truly want to learn and grow.

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