Friday, January 22, 2010

Wanted: A Conversation Manager

Quick, name your organization’s conversation manager.

So, who is it? How long did it take you to name that person? Do you have such a person employed with your group? Do you know what a “conversation manager” is?

If you’re a communications professional with a knack for interactive (social) media then …rejoice! My guess is there will soon be plenty of conversation manager job openings available to you in the near future, because every organization needs someone who spends a good deal of time managing the social media conversations taking place about their organization.

On Twitter, Facebook, via blogs, in videos on YouTube, message boards (and the list goes on) …there are a lot of places available for members of the public to praise and criticize your organization. The good news is, all of that information is out there, free of charge for you to peruse and respond to, which you should almost always do. The only problem is this takes time. Either you have a number of people with not enough to do or you need help. And that help is out there in the form of what some are starting to call conversationalists, individuals who:

A) Have a passion for multiple platforms of social media
Pretty simple. They use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, have a blog, etc.

B) Have a high degree of real-world communication sophistication
We’re looking for emotionally intelligent people here. If their Facebook page is plastered with derogatory language and pictures of the user shotgunning beers, you might want to look to the next applicant.

C) Understand the personality of the organization
If you’re working with a conversation manager who’s not a full-time employee of your organization (a PR firm, for example), you want to make sure that person has taken the time to understand how your organization thinks, a.k.a. what your organization’s personality is. This goes beyond what you sell or provide your members or customers …it’s more about what someone from your organization would be expected to talk about should they run into someone at a coffee shop. In other words, what matters to you personally, beyond your business goals.

So, I’ll ask again, who is your conversation manager?