Yes, The Community Managers Are Taking Over

by David Spinks on Aug 15, 2013

Originally published on TheCommunityManager.com

community-manager-takeoverThere’s been a big trend in the community space lately.

Name a startup and they probably have a community manager… or they’re desperately looking for one.

Not only that, but more and more community managers exist on the executive level…they’re finally getting seats at the table.

VC’s are hiring community managers now too. Spark Capital, Quotidian Ventures and FoundersClub all have full time community managers and they’re no interns. Spark just hired all-around badass Danya Cheskis-Gold who previously ran community at SkillShare.

Media sites, marketplaces, collaborative consumption platforms, social platforms, game developers and even developer platforms are ALL hiring community managers.

It seems many companies are discovering that yes you can build it, and yes they might even come.

But you have to be focused on the customer, on building engagement amongst users, on listening and learning, on making the sure product properly represents the needs of its people and on improving retention.

Community is no longer being looked at as a fluffy, “nice to have” role. It’s a necessity as it’s been proven to greatly increase retention.

So for those of you looking for the next hot job in the tech world, think about getting into community.

Salaries are about to shoot up. If you’re a CM, ask for a raise.

Salaries will shoot up for 3 reasons:

1. Increasing demand.

Pretty simple.

2. Low supply.

It’s incredibly difficult to hire for a community manager. This is because the role has two important factors; experience and relevance. You can find an experienced community manager but if they’re not relevant to your community, they won’t be a good fit.

There aren’t a great deal of highly experienced community builders out there given the relatively recent resurgence of the role. And the ones who are that good already have amazing jobs.

The good news is there are a lot of new CMs being trained by companies like Google, Yelp, Airbnb, Soundcloud, all of whom have community teams in the double digits.

3. Difficult to outsource

What’s interesting is that while developer salaries are at an all time high, that profession has less defensibility than community. Products are becoming easier to build with out of the box solutions, developers are being pumped out by boot camps and much of it is being outsourced.

Community needs a platform to exist which you can get out of the box, but the relationships that make up the actual community cannot be automatically implemented and its very difficult to outsource.

It’s an exciting time to be a community manager.  There are a few good resources out there that can teach you the skills you’ll need.

Get on board.

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David Spinks is the CEO of LetsFeast.com and TheCommunityManager.com....

  • http://theclosetgeek.net/ Barry Ricks

    GO Community Managers woot!

  • Dan J Mckee

    Can’t tell if this a joke or not…

  • http://theclosetgeek.net/ Barry Ricks

    Haha I guess it could come of as that. No I’m not joking, I want to become a community manager and I thought this picture that my buddy made fit along with the article, since the quote was said and all.

  • http://socialfresh.com/blog Jason Keath

    Looks more like unbridled enthusiasm.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Thanks for the confidence booster to ask for a raise, David. ;)

    I completely agree with the notion that this kind of position cannot be outsourced. The CM needs to be in-the-know across many aspects of the business so he/she can most effectively communicate with the community in a consistent social voice and be knowledgable regarding the company direction. The importance of the job is only going to increase!

  • Andy Newbom

    It is mind boggling how many brands are still giving unpaid, inexperienced, non strategic interns literally RUN THEIR BRAND using social media tools. Heres to professionals doing it professionally.

  • http://www.whatspinksthinks.com/ David Spinks

    Keep in mind, I’m not talking about social media marketing here. I’m talking specifically about community management. Though these CMs are often also asked to do social media.

  • http://www.whatspinksthinks.com/ David Spinks

    I wouldn’t say it *can’t* be outsourced. I’ve seen at least some aspects be outsourced successfully. But it is difficult. I’ve helped companies build their community strategies and rethink their products with community in mind. That stuff is easier to outsource, but I’ll usually end up training someone to take over the implementation and day to day, which is harder to outsource.

  • http://www.whatspinksthinks.com/ David Spinks

    Just want to note that this article is specifically referencing the Tech and Startup space. Spending all of my time in both SF and NYC, I have a pretty good feel for the community scene and that’s where I’m seeing this trend.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Hey David – thanks for the response. When building community strategy and rethinking products, did you go the route of outsourcing in order to get a new outlook? I can see that sometimes you need a new set of eyes.

  • http://Fireeye.com/ John Summers

    I feel great full to have been working in Community Management for the last 7 years and seen how it has grown so much. I will take my raise now please…

  • Andy Newbom

    agreed, the pay needs to go up for sure, especially as we apply more strategy to the plan