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!