Tag Archive for 'forumone'

Community Managers: How much money should they make?

About a year ago, the Online Community Research Network took an in-depth look at compensation for community managers finding that online community manager salaries are all over the board. A lot can happen in a year, so they are repeating the study again this year. If you are an online community manager, I strongly recommend taking the survey.

To recap last year’s results, you can read my take on why the data looks nothing like a typical salary bell curve.

Kommein released the results from a more recent survey of community managers, and their survey had very different compensation results.

Data from Kommein

Data from Kommein

The Kommein results don’t have the big hockey stick on either side of the chart. I suspect that the demographics were very different between the Kommein survey and the OCRN survey, and I can almost account for the difference by looking at some of the salary influences (technical vs. non-technical, people in junior or mid-level positions vs. executives, etc.), but this is highly speculative. It could also be a factor of the economy, maturation of the community manager as a job, etc.

This is why I am very eager to get the results from the new OCRN survey to see if community manager compensation really has changed significantly over the past year or whether there were enough differences in demographics and methodology to explain the differences in the results.

What should community managers make?

In general, community managers for technical communities (developers, etc.) tend to 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, scope, management responsibilities, location and how well known the person is can also make a big difference in the salary range as mentioned above.

My advice to people about community manager salaries is that community managers should make $50,000 to $150,000 per year depending on the situation. The low end is mostly for people managing smaller online social communities where relatively little subject matter expertise is required and for people doing tactical work (moderation, etc.) The top range tends to include people in higher level strategic positions in corporate environments who head a large organization responsible for the growth and management of multiple communities, or community managers with name recognition or internet celebrity status working in high profile positions as community evangelists.

What do you think online community managers should make?

Online Community Culture Research

Yet another great research report coming from Bill Johnston of ForumOne. The topic of his latest report is Online Community Culture. 75 people participated in the study, so the sample size is fairly small, but is what you would expect from a niche survey of people managing online communities.

The study found that the most important factors in establishing and maintaining a community’s culture include:

  • Quality, up-to-date content
  • Clear objective / value statement
  • Strong moderation / facilitation

My past experience managing communities leads me to agree wholeheartedly with the findings that these three factors are critical for having a healthy community culture.

  • Communities without great, relevant content tend to wither away as participants decide to spend their valuable time in communities with higher quality content. The culture gradually disintegrates as key people leave. When I have spent some extra time creating content and encouraging other people to create great content, the community activity levels and culture seemed to show improvement.
  • A clear objective / value statement for the community keeps everyone working toward the same goal. My worst experience managing communities came from an environment where there was disagreement among the top management at the company about the value and objectives for the community. It was impossible to build a community culture without a clear objective / value statement.
  • Strong moderation / facilitation helps keep the community clean and on track. Members don’t want a community full of spam or other worthless content.

I encourage you to read the entire blog post about the Online Community Culture report (or the entire report if you are one of the lucky people with a subscription). The blog contains additional data points, quotes from the survey comments, and a great analysis near the end of the post.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Analysts Writing about Online Communities and Social Media

I try to keep up with the latest research and ideas about online communities and social media, but I find myself occassionally missing some good research only because it gets lost in the sea of information streaming across my screen. I decided to set up a Yahoo Pipe to pull all of the analyst blogs together and filter it down to the keywords of most interest to me. As with many of my Yahoo Pipes creations, I wanted to share it with others who might find it useful. Here’s how it works …

It takes blog feeds from the following analyst firms:

It filters for keywords in the content and titles of the blog posts. The keywords searched include: social media, online community, social network, collaboration, and a few others.

Usage:

  1. Go to the Analyst Research Blogs Filtered for Social Media pipe
  2. Grab the RSS feed output

Unlike many of my other pipes, this one is not user configurable. However, you can always clone the source of my pipe and tweak the analyst blog feeds or keywords for filters to make it better for your needs.

My Question for You:

Am I missing any key analyst firms with blogs who cover the social media / online community space?

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts

Community Manager Compensation Study

I’ve mentioned before about how great it is that ForumOne does focused, relevant, and interesting research on the online community market, and their most recent report is no exception. They just released the Online Community Compensation Study results a week ago. Since I participated in the study, I was able to get a free copy of the entire report, but Bill does a great job of summarizing the key points in his blog post.

The entire study was great, but I was particularly fascinated by two pieces of information:

  • Salary ranges are all over the board
  • Women’s salaries are quite a bit less than men’s

Salary Ranges for Community Managers

I’ve always said that community manager salaries cover a broad range, but I was surprised by exactly how broad the range is. My advice to people about community manager salaries is that community managers tend to make $50,000 to $150,000 per year; however, I was really surprised that it wasn’t more of a bell curve. I was expecting to see a few people around $50k, a few people in the $100k+ range and most of the community managers in the $75k range, but the real numbers are nothing like this imagined bell curve as you can see from the graph above.

The number of people in $150k salary range compared to the other salaries was the most surprising of all; however, I expect that these people fall into two groups:

  • people in higher level strategic positions in corporate environments who head a large organization responsible for the growth and management of multiple communities.
  • community managers with name recognition or internet celebrity status working in high profile positions as community evangelists

The lower salary ranges, while I didn’t expect them, are actually less surprising. I suspect that many people volunteer their time to help manage communities for little or no salary. The lower end of the range is also likely to include people managing small communities on a part-time basis or in startups.

In general, community managers for technical communities (developers, etc.) tend to 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, scope, management responsibilities, location and how well known the person is can also make a big difference in the salary range as mentioned above.

Salary by Gender

Unfortunately, women are making less than men by what seems like a large margin to me. I’m not even going to speculate on why this might be true because they would just seem like the same old clichés and excuses that we’ve been using since women first entered the workforce. I’ll just say that this makes me sad.

Disclaimer: The graphs come from the research conducted by ForumOne; however, my analysis and commentary is highly speculative based on what I know of the industry, not the data in the report.

For more info

Bill does a great job of summarizing the rest of the key points along more information about the demographic breakdown in his blog post. I would also encourage you to take a look at the Online Community Report blog to learn more about the research at ForumOne. They have some very interesting studies and are doing more detailed research into online communities than any other companies I’ve found so far.

Related Fast Wonder blog posts