A Newbie’s Guide on Getting a Career as a Community Manager

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Managers and Community Building

You probably know someone who is a community manager and curious as to how you could jump start your career in the same industry. You’re probably curious as to what tasks do these community managers do aside from being constantly logged in on Facebook as their Human Resource Manager might have given them “the license to Facebook”. You might also be wondering as to how much  they’re making. These and many other frequently asked questions about community managers will be answered in this article.

First things first, we need to define what is a community manager and why companies need to hire them.

1. What is a Community Manager?

Community Manager is becoming a common job title as more and more companies invest in social media and trying to leverage its power to connect their fans with their brands. Even startup companies realize that in order for their product or service to become successful, it’s essential to have someone to help develop, build and manage a community of users and bring them all together to talk about a common interest or activity.

Jobs for Community Managers

Brandwatch asked several community managers during the Community Manager Meet Up at the Driskill Hotel during SXSW 2013 about their views on what they do and what being a Community Manager means to them. Some of the most common definitions is being able to serve as a voice of the brand and ensure that customers and community members are satisfied.

However, community management is more than just listening. It’s about being the voice of the consumer and the community members to ensure that the brand you’re representing is able to listen to its fans and provide insights or report as to what’s the over-all voice of the community.

On his Social Media Examiner articleMichael Brito shared a pretty solid definition of what a community manager is.

community manager usually manages an editorial calendar for a blog/community, a Twitter account and various third-party social media channels like a Facebook fan page or a YouTube account.

A community manager may also be responsible for managing a social listening platform like Radian6 and filtering/assigning conversations to others in the business unit for a proper response. He or she may even organize in-person events (or town halls) to get feedback from the community. The community manager is the face of the brand. Conversations are at the core of the job responsibility.

2. What Are the Roles of a Community Manager?

Community managers wear different hats. The following diagram from Zdnet showcases some of the most common tasks and responsibilities that community managers do which usually include: content creation, customer support, event management, project management and many others. How to be Community Manager


Ryan Lytle wrote on Mashable about the 10 qualities that community managers must have which are: strong communication skills, good judgement, empathy, dedication (community management job is not just your usual 9-6-job), organizational skills, adaptability  level-headed attitude, background in analytics, ability to enable the community and passion for the brand.

Aside from those mentioned, every community manager must have good writing skills, able to think strategically, must know how to curate contents, knows how to engage with influencers, a good listener and implementer.

 3. How Much Money Do Community Managers Make? 

In a recent survey conducted by SocialFresh1,047 community managers, the average salary for a community manager is $57,732.77 in 2012 with men making $54,880 while women in the same role are making $50,400. 

The survey fails to identify whether the respondents are mainly from the United States or was it a combination of responses from community managers around the world. One thing is for sure, mid-level community managers in the Asia Pacific do not earn as much as their counterparts in the US, UK or Australia.

How Much Do Community Managers Make

4. What Are Some of the Most Essential Resources for Community Managers?

If you want to jump start your career in community management, you should be familiar with some of the most essential tools and resources that will help you get the job done. I’ve previously shared my 10  essential free resources and tools for community managers.

It’s a collection of the best free resources for community manager to help build a community, keep members engaged and the day-to-day toolkit such as social media content calendar template, social media sizing cheat sheet and reporting template and community guidelines. These resources include: social media sizing sheet, social media publishing template, information sheet, community management playbook, social media guidelines, Facebook community guidelines, social media reporting templates, social media tactical plan and sample outreach letters.

5. What Are Some of Your Recommended Tools for Community Management?

The following tools are just some of those that I’ve proven to be highly essential in getting the job done on a day-to-day basis. Since every community manager’s task from one another, I have categorized them in the following: Planning, Posting, Listening, and Reporting / Analytics.

a. Planning

Google Docs - When planning for the content or editorial  calendar, it’s important that it’s easy to share it with the team and even with the clients. Google docs allows its users easy and efficient sharing of documents, spreadsheets, presentation and surveys making it a personal favorite when it comes to creating the content and editorial calendar.

b. Posting

There are various tools that enables posting for Facebook only and there would also be various tools for Twitter while some other tools allow posting in various social networking sites and below are just some of my favorites.

HootSuite - Perhaps the leading social media management dashboard. It allows its users to manage multiple networks and profiles and even basic reporting. It allows posting on Facebook, Twitter, Facebook groups and various other platforms. One of its most unique features that other social media management tools don’t seem to have is the ability to schedule bulk posts. It means that you can import your CSV content plan to their dashboard and get your updates scheduled in a jiffy!

c. Listening

When you’re a community manager, you will need to monitor the online buzz and conversation about the brand that you’re managing as well as keep tabs on the conversation about its competitors. It’s important that you use tools that allow you to not only monitor but also engage in conversation that you find relevant. Of  course there are tons of sophisticated tools out there but one of the most basic and probably the most useful is the Google Alerts. Others which you should look into are Radian6, Buzz Metrics and below:

1. SocialAppsHQ : Monitoring & Analysis tool enables you to manage the online reputation of your brand. You can learn more about the overall sentiment, key demographics, influencers and more around your brand, product or competition. Check out here- http://www.socialappshq.com Its absolutely free to start.

2. Simplify360 : Complete CRM Package for Social Media
Have good listening and competitive intelligence. Strong in Social Media Campaigns, has channel analytics. Reasonably priced.

3. ThoughtBuzz : Brand Monitoring Tool. Strong in Asian Language support. Pricing is decent.

4. AC Nielson BuzzMetrics : Good in research and listening. Pricing is high. Targets only tier 1 companies.

5. Sysomos : Good solution for top size companies. Priced on the higher side. Good listening capability.

6. Lithium : Known for integration to different existing tools like salesforce. Good for companies looking to integrate to current systems. Priced on higher side.

7. iEngage : Built by Infosys and Jive, two big software companies. Decent listening capability. Not a great product but one tool to watch out for.

8. Alterian SM2 : Good listening and campaign monitoring. Priced decent.

9. Brandwatch : Serious tool for both research and social CRM. Covers 25 languages (each with automated sentiment analysis). Priced similarly to Radian6.

10. Omllion – Social Media Monitoring, Measuring, Analysing and Engaging platform. Offers watchlist, collaborative working, numerous customisable graphical comparison. Price begins at $120

11. Reputeme : Social Media Tool from Europe’s Top Digital Media Agency Euro RSCG Global, a part of Havas Digital. Most comprehensive tool with automated sentiment analysis, automated demographics (age, sex and location), Channel analytics (profile analytics for Twitter, Facebook) etc.

12. SOCOTO : Probably worlds only Semantic(s) social platform with Listening and Thinking capabilities. It is intersection of Web 2.0 ,Web 3.0, and Marketing 3.0. Influence,Semantic Sentiment,Semantic Knowledge Search,Bigdata, Personalization etc.

Other major tools, often for lower budget:
12. http://ListenLogic.com
13. http://HowSociable.com
14. http://uberVu.com
15. http://ViralHeat.com
16. http://socialtalkplus.com
17. http://SocialMention.com
18. http://Beevolve.com
19. http://socialfellas.com/
20. http://socioanalytics.smgindia.org
21. http://aegislisa.com
22. http://bottlenose.com/tour

Google Alerts - it’s free and it allows you to monitor and receive updates on the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries or keywords.

d. Reporting / Analytics

You cannot improve what you cannot measure. It’s therefore important to keep track of the performance of your campaigns and monitor the results through social media measurement, reports and analysis. Pam Dyer has shared a comprehensive list of excellent tools and their descriptions here.

Facebook Insights - free and readily available for the Facebook business page which you will manage. It only requires some good understanding of which metrics you should be focusing your efforts on.

6. How to Get a Job in Social Media – Through Social Media?

I’m often asked as to how I landed my first gig as a Community Manager and how to find a job through social media. Check out my post on how to find a social media job here and how can social media profiles help you land a job here.

There you have it. I hope it can help you kick start your career in digital marketing (particularly in community management). Should you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Should there be any tools or tips that I’ve missed, do let me know!

7. What are your recommended blogs / resources?

I read various blogs daily such as Socialfresh, The Community Manager, MyCMGR, Community Roundtable and Feverbee mainly because of their practical updates and tips.

8. Recommended readings

64 Facebook Content Tips from Socialfresh – contains some of the best ideas when crafting content for your editorial calendar.

A Dozen Tools Every Community Manager Needs to Have

(Image Credit: TelstraZdnet)


  1. Tales_of_cake says

    Thanks for including our SXSW video and for listing us :) Just one small correction – we cover 25 languages, not 16!
    Great article! Community Management is a fantastic (if sometimes stressful!) job.
    Jasmine (Community Manager, Brandwatch)

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