By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
To celebrate the launch of our first ever community manager salary survey we’re going to spend July and August focused on community management as a career. (Haven’t taken the survey yet? Please do – it is quick and your responses provide invaluable insight into the real world of community management!)
This week we’re discussing what it takes to get started as a community manager. Whether you’ve just graduated and are looking to dive right in, or making a mid-career move into the world of community management you might be unsure of what the best plan of attack is.
Several members of the TheCR team have worked as community managers and they had some great advice to give:
Jillian Bejtlich: My best advice is to make sure folks understand what they’re getting themselves into. It can be one of the most rewarding and demeaning jobs all at the same time. Try to aim for communities you’re naturally passionate about (for example, mine is technology, animals, and the outdoors). You’ll find it’s easier to be yourself and a CM at the same time!
Jim Storer: Join a Fortune 500 company’s public forum, preferably for a product you use and/or are familiar with. Become an active member and connect with that Community Manager. Develop a public Twitter list of CM’s and actively read what they share and interact with them.
Next, I opened up the question to TheCR Network. I had a fantastic chat with two community managers from a Fortune 100 telecomm company. They each had some practical advice for new community managers:
- Should be knowledgeable and comfortable with all kinds of social media, not just the Forums
- Should understand the importance of Social in today’s world, how customers want to be able to talk to companies on social media and get their issues resolved,
- Should understand how companies want to be able to engage with their customers on Social Media to promote their products and build loyalty
- Definitely learn to double check any post before you hit “send.” Lots of vultures swirling around waiting for a social media faux pas to screen cap and send all over the internet!
I think every blogger and social media practitioner needs to take that last bit of advice to heart!
For my last bit of research I asked our Twitter friends and as usual got excellent advice from the crowd:
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point any potential job seekers in the direction of our resources. You can always find our annual State of Community Management research here and it’s a great starting point to see how community management is evolving and what skills to focus on. Our community manager profiles and community manager spotlight webinars provide exclusive inside looks into the lives of other community professionals.
Oh, and don’t miss our Community Management Fundamentals deck to get some great ideas.
Are you looking for your first community job? What are you focusing on in your search? If you have tips for fellow job seekers please share!
Have you taken the Community Manager Salary Survey 2014 yet? Your insights into your role are invaluable as we document and define community manager best practices across industries. The survey is short (15 minutes) and we’d love to hear from you. Take the survey now.