Hiring a Community Manager

Hiring a community manager can be tricky for companies, especially ones filling this position for the first time. Last week, someone told me they wanted to hire a community manager and asked me if I could put together a few resources to help get them started. I thought it would be more useful if I turned my email to him into a blog post so others could benefit from it.

The community manager job itself can be a bit vague, like most leadership positions. The role changes from hour to hour depending on what happens in the community, and the person you hire will play a big part in shaping how your company engages with the outside world. It is important to start by carefully defining your goals for the community along with what you want the new community manager to accomplish.

I’ve written a few blog posts on the topic of community managers including information on what community managers do, the skills required to manage communities, and the various roles that fall under the broad umbrella of community manager:

Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester) and Jake McKee (Community Consultant) also have quite a bit of info about community manager roles & hiring:

The community research being done by ForumOne can also be a very valuable resource for anyone involved in communities. There are also a number of Facebook groups focused on community management, but this one seems to be the most active.

There are also a couple of job boards that focus on hiring community managers and related jobs, the Community Guy job board and the Web Strategy board. These should give you a feel for job descriptions, and they might also be good places to post your job description.

The big question is “how much should I expect to pay this person?” In my experience, salary ranges for community managers vary widely. I’ve seen numbers ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. Community managers for technical communities (developers, etc.) make more than end user, social communities. Salary also changes significantly depending on whether the role is really more low-end, tactical moderation or something more strategic, like building a new community or revitalizing a troubled community site. Job experience, location and how well known the person is can also make a big difference in the salary range.

For more information, you can read blog posts from some great community bloggers. Mukund Mohan has a good list on his Best Engaging Communities site.

I would be curious if any of you have other tips? If so, please drop them here in the comments!

2 Responses to “Hiring a Community Manager”

  • Dawn
    Regarding pay: yes its all over the map. It depends on 3 factors is what I have seen:
    1. Which “department” does the person reside – Marketing tends to pay more than Support or if you are in the Development team running a developer community in my experience especially if one of the goals is to increase the Net promoter score or increase up selling and cross selling as part of the community charter.
    2. What the person’s responsibilities are: If its to market the community, increase usage, promote viral adoption and moderate you will be paid more than if the only requirement is to moderate and keep users “happy”.
    3. How are they measured? I.e. what’s their contribution to the top / bottom line more than “I have a happy customer base”.

  • Mukund,

    Thanks for your thoughts on this! I think you are absolutely correct that those 3 factors can all have a big impact on pay.

    I should have talked about reporting structure in this post. As a community manager for developer communities, I have reported to a CEO, a CTO, and CMO. All were very different experiences. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post on reporting structure.

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