It is one of the titles of the role that forms an image of “cool-winner-who-does-it-well”. Community Manager is one of these people… But it’s quite recent.
In the initial high-growth years of social media, the Community Manager role was traditionally entrusted to the Webmaster, or even roles even more far removed from the digital space such as communications managers. Or even to anyone who was available, such as the intern at the time.
The “bad buzz” experienced by many brands (Madame Figaro, Le Parisien, le CIC, MacDonald’s…) generated a level of awareness of the essential nature of this role, especially for B to C strategies. The power of social media has uprooted the power balance, with clients suddenly having an unprecedented voice. Tools designed to spread information very quickly: Twitter, with its popular hashtags and its system based on retweets, Facebook and its effective sharing strategy with “likes” that appear on friends’ walls… Was it the smartest idea of the century to leave an intern in charge of this new community of clients and its new kind of group dynamics (we’ve lost count of brands which have had their Facebook pages swamped with insults or boycott threats because of a Community Manager deemed to be arrogant or improper)? The response came quickly: no, it’s a very bad idea to entrust this responsibility to an intern, regardless of their abilities!
The professionalization in the approach to the role did not take long to bear fruit and it was the brands able to make themselves available and listen effectively which saw their reputation increase significantly among web-users. Carrefour, Décathlon, France TV, la Fnac, Citroën and many others recruited talented Community Managers, able to use humour cleverly and be on target every time to stamp out any hint of negative media. As the principal online brand representative, the Community Manager has become a strategic role. Generally they come from Gen Y, the generation who lived through the start of the internet and masters all the codes, their average age is 28 and their level of education is at least a 3-year degree course for 84% of them and a 5-year one for 57%. Statistics that are now similar to management roles in the field of digital economy, proof, if such proof were needed, that it was time for the Community Manager to be at the heart of digital brand communication.