The Job of A Community Manager |

Inside Jobs: The Job of A Community Manager

The Community Manager has existed since the advent of newsgroups, but it is only in recent years that this position has exploded in popularity.  Today, the Community Manager is the most popular role among social media teams.  Businesses want to hire Community Managers.  Job-seekers want to be Community Managers.

What is a Community Manager?

The Community Manager’s specific day to day responsibilities vary greatly between demographics, geography, and type of organization, among many other factors.  But the crux of the position rests on one important skill – communication.  The Community Manager constantly communicates with customers, users, potential users, and the organization’s internal team.

As a full-time Community Manager the average salary as surveyed in January 2012 here was $51,647

The Community Manager is a people person.  Though the tools of today have largely moved these positions behind a computer sending out blog posts, Twitter conversations and Facebook discussions, the fact remains that it is a position that requires people skills.  The most successful Community Managers know that they are communicating with people, not anonymous computer users.

The Community Manager’s role is focused on three main areas.

Brand/Product Evangelism

Definition: Evangelism – A preacher of information about a specific set of beliefs with the object of conversion.

The Community Manager is an evangelist of the organization’s product, brand, and values.  They reek of conviction.  They are converts.  Community Managers believe in the product.  They make you believe.  And none of this is done deceptively.

Community Manager’s speak positively about the brand and product.  They provide valuable content.  They field discussions about how to improve the product.  Though the Community Manager may be thought of as a preacher on a hill with a megaphone, it really is a two way conversation with the company’s specific user community.

Think of it this way.  In the words of Kristine Naldoza, HR Associate at HootSuite, the Community Manager is “the messiah of HootSuite.”

User Advocate

The Community Manager, in essence, represents the user.  This boils down to listening.  Though the Community Manager will be pushing out content and doing the talking most of the time, they must be effective listeners.  This involves understanding what the user is saying.  The Community Manager, along with the support team, will be the ones consistently communicating with the company’s users.  It is here that insights can be made and the product improved.  In a sense, the Community Manager is one of the key voices of product re-design within the organization.

Being a successful Community Manager is a great stepping stone to more senior roles.

Community Builder

Community Manager’s actively go out into the community and preach the gospel of the brand.  They organize events.  They lead Meetups.  They speak at events, schools, coffee shops, and conferences about the benefits of their brand.  They network.  They earn a position of trust within their targeted community.  In short, they build the community.  They make it a place that users and potential users want to hang out.  They focus on giving value so people choose to spend their time with, and identify with, the brand.

Required Skills

The following are several skills that organizations look for when considering hiring a Community Manager.

Social Media

For the Community Manager of today, social media skills are a must.  This does not mean simply being familiar with the different social media platforms.  Companies are looking for social media power users; those people that actively use social media regularly.  Before inviting you for an interview, many hiring manager’s will look at your social media profiles and search the content that you produce.  Make sure your social media profiles are of high value and current.

Content Creation

The Community Manager must be able to communicate seamlessly.  They must be researchers.  They must produce and package content in a way that’s both easy to consume (and spread) and gives value to users.  Whether it’s creating infographics, writing blog articles, or providing helpful tips, Community Manager’s must be content creators.

As written in the book Rework, “if two candidates are the same, hire the better writer.”  If you’re interested in becoming a Community Manager, make sure you produce great content.


Listening is among the most important qualities that a Community Manager can have.  Though speaking and pushing out content to the community will take a large percentage of time, listening is even more important.  They will tell you want they want.  They will spread and engage with your content.

Giving the community your ear is really how you become a successful Community Manager.


Contrary to popular belief, the Community Manager does not merely sit behind a computer.  The Community Manager is largely a face-to-face role.  They are expected to organize and speak at events, make introductions, and become a familiar face in the community.


Though many companies do hire full-time Community Managers, there is a significant amount of part-time Community Managers.  These people generally freelance, work a full-time position within the company but use only a portion of their time for community management, or work on a part-time basis within an agency.

As a full-time Community Manager the average salary as surveyed in January 2012 here was $51,647.  In my research, however, I’ve found that an entry-level Community Manager will earn a salary range of approximately $35,000 to $42,000 per year.  An experienced Community Manager can earn $50,000 to $60,000 per year, while $100,000 isn’t unattainable for an experienced Community Manager in a mid-large sized organization.

A Very Hot Job

The Community Manager is one of today’s hot jobs.  Companies are hiring Community Manager’s faster than ever but the competition is even stronger.  To be successful as a Community Manager you must really get social.  Here’s a re-cap of the top skills demanded:

  • Be a Social Media Power User
  • Create Epic Content
  • Listen to Users
  • Speak to Users (Evangelize the brand)

Being a successful Community Manager is a great stepping stone to more senior roles.  Director of Community, Director of Customer Success, or senior Marketing roles are all well within reach.  The skills learned in this role make the Community Manager an invaluable asset to any organization.

“To me, the Community Manager is like an intersection.  You’re a guide to get people where they want to go.  You point the direction and help them get there.  And you may even influence the direction they go.”

 – Community Manager wishing to remain Anonymous.


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  • There was a discussion at #SWchat looking to distinguish the difference of Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager. What would you say the key differences are?