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Community Management is Far from Entry-level

One way I keep up on which companies are developing community strategies and/or building larger community teams is by monitoring community manager job postings. It’s also very interesting to read the descriptions to see the different interpretations of the role and what success metrics the candidate will be measured on.   

I’ve been disappointed and shocked recently, however, to learn that some enterprises have been listing experience as “Entry Level.”  [Take this keyword search on LinkedIn for an example.] Ww-ww-ww-what??!  

I’m sorry, but if you’re listing this position as entry-level, my immediate reaction is that you’re not taking your online community initiative seriously.  I mean, are you just checking of a box here?

☑ Hire [any] in-experienced person as Community Manager

❑ Launch online community

❑ Be successful

Like a sales job, you’ll want the candidate to have a proven track record as well as relevant work experience. Do you honestly think the person applying for this entry-level position will have conflict resolution, customer service, and project management under their belt? Not to mention experience leading cross-functional teams, member behavior, public relations, marketing and an analytics background? Most likely not.

My advice? Go after a community manager that’s already running a successful online community. Or, if you’re lucky enough to come across an unemployed community manager, scoop them up immediately! Believe me, you’ll get what you pay for. And if that’s an entry-level candidate, then expect entry-level results.


Online Community Manager Salary Guide

As mentioned in a previous post, Community Management is Far From Entry-Level, I indicated that conducting a keyword search is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse on the growth of community management as a profession. From gaining insight into which companies are developing community strategies and/or building larger community teams, to the different interpretations of the role and what success metrics a community will be measured on.

A nice complement to that is Onward Search’s Social Media Jobs Salary Guide [INFOGRAPHIC]. If you’ve been paying attention, you would know that I have an obsession with infographics.

What it seeks to explain is that social media job opportunities continue to grow based on companies looking to hire social media marketing professionals to drive business value. It’s “a comprehensive look at the best job markets, the most in-demand job titles and salary ranges for social media professionals in the top 20 U.S. cities.”

The breakdown by job title is skewed in my opinion. Companies are still trying to nail down social media titles as it relates to job functions and responsibilities. I suspect the landscape would look a little more flat.

I’m happy to see Boston, Massachusetts come in at the top 5. I’m rather surprised by all the startups and the explosion of SXSW that Austin, Texas isn’t higher up. It’s no shock to see New York, New York top the list considering all the agencies and PR firms that are headquartered there.

The Online Community Manager salary range sits middle of the pack and I agree on its representation.

Can this infographic also be interpreted as a career path tool for social media marketers?

Coin Operated Binoculars

Community Management from Afar

I follow quite a few community managers and social media strategists from Europe, most notably in the U.K. In fact, Europeans account for over 30% of the traffic to this blog.   

Over the last couple months, I’ve noticed that my Twitter feed has been slowly [yet steadily] taken over by job postings for community manager roles in Europe. I don’t have the growth rates for community management roles in Europe compared to that of the United States, but it seems the demand for community managers in European countries is high, very high. It’s great to see actually. It means the community manager role is growing on a global scale and will be here for the long-term. Aaaahhh job security!

I have no plans to uproot, but it got me thinking; can you manage an online community from another country, or continent for that matter, and be successful? We work in a telecommuting world these days. Working remotely and not sitting in corporate headquarters or in a satellite office is not unheard of.  But separated by a body of water like the Atlantic Ocean, several time zones, a stranger to local customs, and very little [if at all] face time with customers and internal stakeholders seems like a near impossible feat.

So, my question to you is, do you think a community manager can live in another country and still deliver a successful experience to members? Who is doing this well today? Would you do it yourself?