Much like communities, the roles of the people who manage them vary widely. There are so many factors to consider when creating a Community Manager job description — particularly ones that span departments and workflows in the way that community management does. But that’s not to say there aren’t a few common threads running through the fabric of community management across industries.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to creating your own CM job posting — and finding the right manager for your community.
Any Community Managers reading this will likely be thinking, "Uh, what don’t I do?’" CMs usually have to be jacks-of-all-trades (and masters of some too — more on that below).
Usually, however, a Community Manager’s role involves a degree of:
The above will likely form the foundation of the Community Manager job description, but you’ll need to get specific about your community (or the one you hope to build). What does your community program look like? What technology does it/will it run on, and what are the core elements (forums, live events, etc.)? Which teams the CM will be interacting with the most? Detail = good.
If you’re on the hunt for a great Community Manager, these boxes are the ones to tick. You want a CM who is:
Jack-of-all-trades, remember? The most successful Community Managers can seamlessly shift gears between different working styles and regularly learn new processes.
Effective CMs should be comfortable balancing tasks within multiple projects with different stakeholders, which requires a high degree of organization. They should be able to manage both everyday tasks and long-term campaigns.
Easily adapting to new software and user interfaces is a must. Community Managers will need to be the primary administrator and operator of the software or platform their community runs on. What’s more, CMs need to be confident working across platforms to set up ancillary workflows, like onboarding sequences, forms, and databases.
The best CMs are storytellers, skilled in both written and verbal communication. Different community positions require different modes of communication. For example, some community roles are almost entirely text-based, whereas other roles expect their Community Managers to speak on video regularly or even host live events.
Community Managers need to be comfortable collecting and interpreting data. That means being able to accurately describe its significance, and understanding what it means for the community and/or business.
The ability to empathize is a key skill for any Community Manager, useful in everything from building relationships and understanding community dynamics, to diffusing conflict and more.
A few tips from community experts to get you started.
In other words, where does your community live? "A Community Manager working on engaging customers in a forum would have different responsibilities, skills, and qualifications to a Community Manager working on offline events," Manager of Community Engagement at PicsArt, Jocelyn Hsu, points out. Also worth flagging here is whether your 'community' is exclusively made up of your social media audience. If so, you might want to consider hiring a Social Media Manager instead.
"Community Manager can be a pretty vague title and you should try to be more explicit if you want someone with more strategy experience," advises Commsor’s Chief Community Officer, Alex Angel. Note that candidates with four or more years of experience under their belts are qualified for more senior roles.
This means doing your research on what is fair compensation for the amount of work that's expected. Our 2020 Community Job Survey is a great place to start.
Hiring managers should not see Community Manager roles as a dumping ground for everything that doesn't fit neatly into another position, says Commsor's Community Education Manager, Noele Flowers. "For example, writing a newsletter for community members is appropriate. Writing sales emails to the entire email list? Not so much."
Having a list of 15-20 must-haves will limit candidates who apply. Keep your list to the five or six most important things.
You might be tempted to include a call-out for applicants with bubbly personalities or extroverts, but Alex advises against it. "Those aren't important traits for CMs to have to be extremely successful at their job, and many fantastic CMs are introverts."
Keen to learn more about the ins and outs of finding great Community Managers? In Before the Lock podcast hosts and community experts Brian Oblinger and Erica Kuhl are talking exactly that at Community-Led: The 2021 Community Club Summit in their session, Signing The Offer: Connecting Hiring Companies and Community Pros, on May 12, 2021.
To book your spot for this talk and more Community-Led presentations by leaders in the field, sign up here.