This was late 2008 and it was still a really new position, without definitive job descriptions or templates. She described the job as a mix of writing, PR, communications, and social media, and I thought “I can do that” without knowing what I was getting myself into.
Defining A New Role
Obviously the rest is history, and it seems like the position of Community Manager was made for me. But despite the fact that it’s almost two and a half years later, I still get asked all the time about what a Community Manager does and the skills employers should look for when they’re hiring one for their business.
I haven’t seen a template circulating around – so why not put one together to help small businesses who are looking to add one to their company?
So here’s my stab at putting together a Community Manager job description – obviously you need to tailor it to your company’s needs. If you have more of an emphasis on in-person networking, or on social media analytics/metrics, then make sure to include that. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all description, but it’s a place to start.
Community Manager job description
A Community Manager is the face of a company, managing communications in both directions. This digital-savvy employee is responsible for all communications, PR, social media, events, and content creation, among other things.
It’s a Web 2.0 communications role, incorporating online tools and in-person networking to create relationships and ultimately build the company’s brand, both online and off.
While every day as a Community Manager is different, this is what the role’s responsibilities may include:
1. Content creation – writing blog posts, articles, newsletters, communications materials, and material for social media channels
2. Social media marketing – creating, managing and growing the company’s presence through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other strategically relevant online properties
3. Events and event planning – attending industry events in your city (often outside of 9-5 hours) and planning meetups for your community
4. Public relations – (note: some companies may have devoted PR departments so this may not be relevant) managing incoming media requests and building relationships with industry journalists; creating, executing and measuring media campaigns
5. Customer relations – the Community Manager is often responsible for customer support – answering questions however they come in (phone, e-mail, Twitter) and managing any online feedback forums such as GetSatisfaction pages
6. Communications/marketing strategy – the Community Manager is responsible for creating strategic marketing/communications plans to provide direction for the company’s public-facing communications
7. Analytics – Using Google Analytics and other measurement tools to provide reports on metrics, and continually find ways to improve on those metrics through testing and new initiatives
8. Business development – Depending on the company and depending on how senior the role is, a Community Manager can also be responsible for business development and sales
How To Hire A Community Manager
Here are the skills to look for when hiring a Community Manager:
1. Outgoing personality – they will be required to walk into networking events and be comfortable introducing themselves to strangers
2. Writing skills – a background in journalism or experience with writing helps since they’ll be creating so much content for your company
3. Social media experience – experience with social media tools isn’t a must, but it’s definitely helpful and cuts down on training. Look for someone who can navigate WordPress and understands Twitter and Facebook for business
4. Interest in your industry – a Community Manager needs to be passionate about what they do. If they’re not interested in your product or service move on
5. Willingness to work around the clock – being a Community Manager isn’t a 9-5 job. Make sure they understand that the job involves working some evenings and weekends, and responding to community members outside of work hours (but please, please compensate them accordingly)
6. Good employee – The skills you would look for any employee apply here: great time management skills, ability to multitask, intelligence – but they’re especially important for a Community Manager since they’re managing so many different areas of the business. Look for someone smart who doesn’t get stressed under pressure
7. PR experience – having experience with public relations is a nice to have, especially if it’s a focus for your business
8. Culture fit – this especially applies if you’re at a small company. The person needs to get along with your other employees and needs to mesh with the company’s culture
9. Education – I’m a big believer in valuing intelligence, personality and overall fit before looking at a degree. But if it really matters to you, look for someone with a degree in journalism, communications or English, or someone with a PR or corporate communications certificate
I’m a big believer that experience doesn’t equal ability – if you meet someone with no experience but they’re smart as a whip and extremely passionate about what you’re doing you might want to give them a chance. After all, when I started at Sprouter I didn’t have a Twitter account and had never written a blog post in my life.
You’d be surprised how quickly people can pick these skills up, so look for the things that can’t be taught in a month – charisma, personality, and intelligence.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to hire digitally-savvy employees I recommend reading Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan. They devote a chapter to picking and measuring your people, and they get to the heart of what to look for in a digital employee. They advise employers to hire digital citizens; to hire for analytical chops; to hire for web reach; and to hire content creators. I especially love their checklist of questions to ask potential employees – the go beyond “do you have a Twitter account” to questions like what blogs they read, whether they rank first for their name in Google, and what RSS reader they use.
Hopefully this is helpful, and if you have anything to add to this description feel free to add it in the comments.
A Couple Sample Community Manager Job Descriptions
Summary of Position:
The Community Manager is an appointed administrator for clients’ corporate social media communities (i.e. Facebook Page). The Community Manager is responsible for moderating User Generated Content that appears and escalating any issues to the appropriate internal/client teams.
Community Strategy 30%
- Assist with creation, conception, and presentation of social media strategy and integrated marketing campaigns.
- Interpret the direction of strategy/planning and creative leads.
- Communicate and coordinate client service, production and strategy/planning teams ensuring that community strategy supports overall brand goals and objectives.
Management & Moderation 60%
- Listening & Reporting
o Utilitze social listening tools like Radian6 and Buzzlogic to generate insights
o Summarize insights and conversations to create actionable, client-facing reports that lead to optimization
o Create and maintain Content Calendars, including writing Facebook Status Updates
o Post relevant content in accordance with Content Calender
o Review user generated comments and posts in a quick and timely manner
o Respond to comments, when appropriate, in order to foster a positive community and add value to the user’s experience.
o Enforce the Social Media Guidelines as defined by the brand.
o Escalate User Generated Content, where appropriate, to internal and client stakeholders.
Team leadership 10%
- Participate constructively in inter-department and cross-service line communications
- Actively participates in a wide variety of social media activities such as blogging, community development and management, social bookmarking, commenting, etc.
- Understanding of popular social networks – design, functionality, users
- Demonstrated ability to produce community management guidelines and documents that reflects the holistic understanding and implementation of the role of social media and its effects.
- Proficiency in PowerPoint and presentation tools and skills.
- Porificiency in social listening tools like Radian6 and Buzzlogic.
- Exceptional communication skills within the agency team.
- Very high attention to detail.
- Excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills.
- 2 to 3 years of experience managing social media platforms or communities for brands
- Undergraduate degree in communications, marketing, advertising, public relations, media studies, business and/or related fields.
Community Management Specialist
360i is looking for a Community Management Specialist to serve as the initial point of contact for inbound requests from online properties and the web at large. The Community Management Specialist will be responsible for ensuring active and engaged communities around a defined topic or topics by managing long-lead editorial calendars, monitoring online conversations and participating in those conversations to build brand visibility and thought leadership. The goal is to establish a presence for our partners as well as to integrate their messaging into the community in a compelling and valuable way for the members. In this role, you will work directly with our Digital Communities Director within our exciting Emerging Media practice.
About 360i – Over a Decade of Digital Innovation
We’re a next generation digital agency rooted in innovation and drive. We don’t walk; we run. We don’t follow; we lead. We dream, and then we do. Our ideas are big, but our results are bigger. Bigger still is our collective pursuit of positive change – the innovations that will move our industry forward in new and exciting directions.
The digital world changes fast — and our employees are just as dynamic. Our backgrounds and strengths are diverse, yet we’re all fueled by an innate curiosity that inspires us to blaze new trails and a shared belief in the power of the web to forge deeper relationships between brands and consumers. If you’re sharp, creative and forward-thinking – and if complacency isn’t in your vocabulary – drop us a line. It takes a special kind of person to work here, and we hope that’s you.
- Experience developing and implementing tactical plans — including inspired and moderated solutions — that build and nurture online communities
- Demonstrated expertise in engaging and activating community groups
- Experience locating and engaging advocates within the community to foster dialogue
- Demonstrated ability to work with client on developing on-brand messaging that best represents their voice and tone online and incentivizing user-generated content creation and sharing
- Experience establishing metrics, gleaning community insights and reporting/recommending strategies that achieve marketing goals
- Understanding what’s possible on the various technology platforms and the ability to educate and integrate the needs of clients, creative team and developers
- Excellent communication skills and creative writing skillsIf you have an entrepreneurial spirit, get excited about finding smarter ways to do things, and have a burning desire to be part of a winning team where you can truly make a difference, we want to meet you.
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