Technology is increasingly encroaching on every aspect of our lives – including your workspace. As a result, the role of the community manager has been called into question. While some go so far as to suggest that community managers could disappear entirely, it is clear that the role is changing.
Rachel Verghese, owner and founder of recruitment firm Chatterbox Talent, said: “The position of community manager will be tough for anyone without the relevant technical skills. Having recruited for the industry for many years now, my experience with providers that have their own internal IT department means that the community manager can concentrate on the operational, client liaison side of the business centre.”
“If a company outsources their IT there is, then, the added strain of the delay time in response to any issues and this is detriment to any business.” she added.
There is another option, other than implementing an external or internal dedicated IT team – you could arm community managers with the relevant IT skills to deal with any technical issues that arise in a space.
Rachel said: “The skills that I look for in an exceptional community manager rarely varies between service offering (large, small, coworking) as they all require someone who has customer service skills, facilities, and some IT/Telecoms experience helps, of course, as patching phones and PCs is required.”
Here’s a breakdown of the top four IT skills that community managers need to stay employed in today’s connected world:
1. Data Analysis
As workspaces gather more information about how a space is used, community managers need to be able to analyse these high volumes of data to optimise the experience for users.
There are plenty of content management systems available to help you do this – but you need to be able to generate and interpret key metrics, as well as interpret both qualitative and quantitative data.
2. Social Media
Communities extend into the virtual world. You need to establish and build a digital relationship with your community by promoting your space.
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It’s not enough to fire out a few tweets and hope for the best. You need to take an analytical approach where you continually look at what works – and what doesn’t – by reviewing your analytics data. Also, take some time to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) so you can optimise your content to get the best results.
3. Networks knowledge
You need to understand the nuts and bolts behind your IT infrastructure so, if something does go wrong, you can fix or investigate the issue as quickly as possible.
This includes: firewalls, routers and switches; your server installation, configuration and troubleshooting; your network design, infrastructure, setup, support; networking technologies (such as TCP/IP, VLANs, LAN/WAN Routing); and your cloud setup.
4. Basic IT support
You need to be on hand if a community member is struggling with their own IT setup. From Windows 10 to iOS, this means you need to be technically competent across multiple platforms/environments.
You also need to be able to question, research and listen to a detailed insight into the member’s problems – this will help you relay any information to an IT support professional, if needed.
Why you need IT
After all, the role of the community manager is to make sure the community is happy. As technology plays a more important role in that community – it’s essential that there’s someone on hand to fix it.
Rachel concludes: “I prefer a human to interface with in business and can only assume the majority of professionals do. I cannot imagine that the flexible workspace community will be completely free of front of house staff. It’s the special human touch that we buy into with serviced workspace solutions.”
“However I can only assume that as technology evolves, keyless offices, phones on automated answering and divert, swipe cards for purchases etc, maybe the community manager’s role could become obsolete – but I believe we are a long way from that.”