According to LinkedIn, in 2021, the 3rd most sought-after job in the world was that of a ‘Social Media Community Manager.’ This trend is only set to increase as social media becomes an integral part of our social and professional lives. In this article, we explain what a social media community manager is, and how to become a great one.
What is a social media community manager?
The role a social media community manager plays is evident in the name: they are someone whose job it is to maintain and build good relationships with their brand’s customer base (i.e., their community) via social media. In essence, social media community management is a customer service role combined with that of a company ambassador. As a social media community manager, you are responsible for establishing your company’s online presence, protecting it, and ensuring its growth by compassionately and diligently overseeing an entire digital community of established clients and potential customers.
5 steps to becoming a great social media community manager
Social media management is one of the most in-demand jobs in the world precisely because of its fundamental importance to the success of companies and online brands. As such, it’s not a job you can just waltz into — you’ll need to follow these 5 steps if you want to become a great social media community manager.
1. Undergo training
The role of the social media community manager encapsulates several different specialized areas.
You have to be adept at building communities and maintaining strong relationships with them. You must be able to manage customer complaints and feedback. You’ll need to learn how to use graphic design software and have an awareness of the fast-paced, ever-changing social media world around you. Additionally, video editing, market research, and technical analysis will all be expected of you.
As such, if you want to promote yourself as the right person for a social media community management role — either within your company or with another brand — it’s a wise move to undergo some training before putting yourself out there.
There are numerous courses available (some free, some paid) that would better equip you with the kind of expertise you’d need — in social media marketing, design, analysis, and market research — in order to excel as a social media community manager.
2. Manage your time
Time management is absolutely fundamental to success as a social media community manager. The digital world is constantly evolving, and — being global — is awake 24/7. You’re going to have to be able to plan well ahead in order to stay on top of all of these changes whilst still executing the various aspects which comprise your job as a community manager.
On a day-to-day basis, you’ll be expected to respond to Tweets, Instagram DMs, and TikTok messages, compose, publish and promote community-building content, and analyze and reflect on the successes and failures of each past post in order to improve these statistics with successive ones. Some of the ways to become an exceptional community manager include completing projects on time, doing exceptional work, and communicating effectively. You can use time tracking tools (e.g., RescueTime, TimeCamp, etc.) to maximize your potential. There are, however, other RescueTime alternatives on the market that can automatically track your work and allow you to categorize it into daily tasks.
All the while, you may also have a wider team of social media experts to manage (depending on the size and scope of your company). All of this requires meticulous planning, punctuality, and efficiency of work rate. If these are things you struggle with, start working on them now!
3. Hone your skills
We live in a tech-savvy age. The youngest generations have been born into a world that the current most successful leaders in business could hardly have dreamt of, at their age. Zoomers were practically born with a smartphone in their hand and a social media handle on their birth certificate. For better or worse, that’s lent them a degree of digital literacy that most of us will simply never attain.
Whether you’re a Millennial, a Boomer, or indeed even a Zoomer — if you want to apply for the role of social media community manager, then we highly recommend that you spend some time honing the skills you already have.
You’re going to have to compete with people who know social media like the back of their hand. In fact, even if you feel that this statement defines you, there are still plenty of aspects of social media that you may be surprised to learn you are unfamiliar with:
- Post impressions
- Post reach
- Content analytics
- Content development strategy
- Influencer networking
The list goes on. The point is, take time to get even more to grips with social media, even if you think you’re already a TikTok guru or an Instagram sensei.
4. Build a social media presence
Want to prove to that potential employer of yours that you’re the person for the job? There are few clearer, more trustworthy examples of your innate ability to establish, grow and maintain a social media community than already having one of your own.
Of course, having the backing of a company or brand with desirable products and services is a great starting point for building an online community. But social media community managers should be able to build a community around anything — be it a single idea, a series of memes, or a shared interest.
Naturally, we’re not suggesting that you’ve got to have Cristiano Ronaldo’s 477 million Instagram followers before you can apply for a social media community management position. The strength of a community is rarely reflected in numbers alone.
No, we suggest that you are prepared to demonstrate your ability to foster an authentic, reciprocal sense of connection between an account of yours and a collection of social media followers (however large or small that number may be).
Finally, it’s time to mobilize. Take all of the lessons you’ve learned, the skills you’ve honed, and the followers you’ve amassed, and go after that dream job of yours.
Just remember, this role is a fairly new role in the grand scheme of things, with boundaries that remain hazily established at best. Some companies may require relatively little of you, whilst the biggest brands around will expect the world.
We’d suggest that before you go charging ahead, you read to the end of this article. We’re going to dive into what elements you can expect to find in a social media community manager job description, then we’ll break down the top 5 transferable qualities employers will look for in you, before finally giving you some pointers on how to find a job to match your skills.
Community Manager’s Job Description
There’s no set ‘job description’ when it comes to the role of community manager.
Depending on the size of the company you’re applying to, the industry they’re in, and their marketing department’s goals for the social media account(s), your job may require different skills and comprise different tasks.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look a some of the most common responsibilities you’ll find in a social media community manager job description:
- Establishing and managing a brand’s online identity
- Growing engagement across all relevant social media platforms
- Producing quality content optimized for different platforms
- Managing yourself and your team with a social media content calendar
- Building a sense of community with customers by responding to comments and messages
- Analyzing KPIs (key performance indicators) of your campaigns, such as likes, click-throughs, impressions, shares, and so on
- Staying abreast of competitor social media tactics
- Networking with influencers and other agencies to expand brand awareness
Top 5 skills social media community managers need
In addition to the general requirements of the job, there are also key skills that employers will look for, and will normally list in any job description for a role in social media community management.
1. Strategic thinking
The ability to plan ahead for the development of your brand’s online presence, expansion of its community, and publication and promotion of social media content designed to do both, all the while keeping in mind your company’s social media goals. An awareness of what makes for successful content development strategies is a great start.
2. Analytical thinking
An analytical brain able to competently assess both the quantitative and qualitative information gleaned from analysis of the successes and failures of your social media content campaigns. An ability to convert your findings into tangibly positive change going forward by identifying pain points and solutions to them.
3. Solid understanding of social media marketing
Social media marketing — an approach to social media designed to drive sales and subscriptions to services — is not the same thing as social media community management. That said, many of the principles which lead to successful social media marketing campaigns will serve you well in a community management role.
4. Strong copywriting skills
The ability to write captivating, engaging, informative text for use in a multitude of different circumstances (as scripts for videos, descriptions for feed posts, as questions for Stories polls and quizzes, and in reply to customer feedback). A strong sense of authorial voice that is not only unique but also strongly represents the brand.
5. Great communication skills
Fantastic listening, writing, speaking, and presentation skills, as well as a compassionate approach to management (both as a leader and as an employee). The ability to communicate complex company goals and ideas to the wider social media community, as well as to respond professionally and profitably to any and all customer feedback.
How to find a social media community management Job
Some of the most successful social media community managers are, in fact, freelancer professionals who — either by themself or through a marketing agency — may manage a dozen or more different clients’ social media profiles at once.
Advertisements for social media community managers may come directly from a well-established company or brand, or through a marketing or advertising agency, so keep an eye out for both!
Some of the best places to look for social media community management jobs are on LinkedIn, Indeed, or through local marketing agencies in your area. Alternatively, if you’re a freelancer building up your portfolio, there’s never any harm in approaching start-ups and small-medium-sized independent businesses and offering your services directly.
Community management for social media has, over the last 5–10 years, become not only one of the jobs in the highest demand but also one of the most impactful jobs in terms of customer engagement, sales conversion, and brand image.
Today, the average social media community manager can make anywhere from $46,000 to $76,000 USD (or £20,000 to £40,000 GBP). Not an insubstantial amount of money for spending much of your day on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat!
However, if you want to be a great community manager for social media, then it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication. The role is far more nuanced and involved than simply knowing your way around your social channels.
If you still want the job, then we highly recommend that you undergo specific training if you can, practice honing your existing skills and managing your time, build up your own social media community presence, and provide potential employers with demonstrable examples of the core soft skills they’ll be looking for.
Follow this guide on how to become a social media community manager, and we’re confident the hard work will pay off. Good luck!