A profile of today’s Community Manager
What does a Community Manager do? The clue’s in the name, right? They manage communities, whether they are online or offline. Well, yes, but there’s a lot more to the role than that. Let’s take a look at what a Community Manager does, the key skills they need, which department they belong to and how much they actually get paid to do the job.
What is a Community Manager?
In short, a Community Manager is the person representing the brand in front of the community, responsible for managing the conversations and connections of members of a community, whether it’s a local networking group or a global social media platform. But that only tells some of the story. Because the job is a hugely varied one which involves not just moderating the community and supporting members, but also creating content and developing strategies to deliver on the business objectives (e.g., increased retention, reduced service cost).
Community Manager: breaking down the job description
What does the role actually entail and what type of person does a Community Manager need to be? Let’s get into this by looking at a generic job description for the role:
Required: A Community Manager with great interpersonal skills and a high level of experience in supporting digital communities for different audiences.
As Community Manager, you will be responsible for ensuring the community runs smoothly day to day. You will consult with different teams such as Sales, Marketing and Product to drive best practices and engagement.
So what does this brief job description reveal? Here’s the breakdown:
Technical expertise matched with emotional intelligence: It goes without saying that a Community Manager needs technical experience in the relevant digital platform, and they should be a keen fan of data. Oh, and they have to be a great organiser too. But the rest of the example description above makes it clear that the role of the Community Manager isn’t just a technical one. The position requires them to balance all that technical know-how with emotional intelligence.
This is because Community Managers need to be able to empathise and connect with the members of the community and make sure their needs are being met. As part of this, a great Community Manager will have the ability to actively listen, take time to understand members’ feedback without judgement, and also give feedback as and when required.
Community Managers also need to be able to respond appropriately to issues and queries at all times, even when they’re under pressure. Those people skills are also vital for working with event managers, tech vendors and partners - and everyone else who helps them make their community a success.
Societal and cultural awareness: While the job description above doesn’t directly state it, an important contributor to the emotional intelligence required by a Community Manager is the willingness to constantly build on their societal and cultural awareness. This is vital for making sure that the cultural sensitivities and needs of their audience are always respected.
Confidence with being vulnerable: Empathy is also key to being able to collaborate with other teams or with partners. Linked to this is the ability to be vulnerable, to acknowledge when mistakes are made and keep striving to enhance the way they work.
What are Community Managers paid?
Now that we established that the Community Manager job is a demanding one, we should get a handle on what they are paid for doing it.
CMX’s 2022 Community Industry Report, which shares self-reported salaries only for US-based Community Managers, suggests an average salary of c.$115,000. On the basis of years of experience, the report shows a salary range from $84,429 for up to two years’ experience, $110,992 for three to four years’ experience, going all the way up to $153,435 for 10+ years of experience.
These averages are pretty high compared with Community Club’s Job survey which gives a salary range for Community Manager roles all around the world. In North America (including the US and Canada), annual salaries can range anywhere from $26,000 to well over $176,000.
In Europe, the salary range is significantly lower, with some Community Managers making less than $25,000 at the lower end and going up to $75,000.
The bottom line? Like the role itself, Community Managers’ salaries vary widely.
The salary range for community managers with different years of experience.
Which department does the Community Manager work within?
The team around you counts for a lot. Different departments in organisations have different levels of authority, resources, and budgets, thus department affiliation helps understand the perceived value and goals of the community to the organization. The CMX Report reveals that, of the Community Managers they surveyed, 28% work in the Marketing department, 22% in their own Community department and 13% in Customer Success or Support. It’s interesting to note other departments mentioned in the survey are Engineering, HR and Product. So, again, while there are some patterns, Community Managers can end up in very different types of teams.
How Community Managers succeed
While some aspects, like great technical, organisational and people skills, are common to all successful Community Managers, the role itself and the potential salaries vary widely. Because there is no such thing as a typical Community Manager. Every community has different needs, priorities and characteristics. To adapt to this, Community Managers need the right resources and tech on their side. Whatever the nature of their role, this will help them nurture engaging communities that people just can’t resist being a part of.