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Community Manager Career Guide

What is a community manager?

A community manager connects a business with its audience. They help build and keep up an active community that loves and supports the brand, product, or cause. These managers chat with users, give the business a friendly face, and are the main voice of the company online and in person. They help shape how people see the business, boost online chats, and get people excited about the brand.

Duties and responsibilities

Community managers are all about connecting with people and making the brand look good. They create and share stuff like social media posts, blog posts, and newsletters that get people talking. They also jump into conversations, handle any problems, and check out what the community likes to keep making better content.

They don’t just stick to online chats; they also put together events that bring people together. This could be online hangouts or real-life meetups that help keep old members around and attract new ones.

Work environment

Community managers work in all kinds of places, from tech startups to big companies and even non-profits. They often work remotely, meaning they can do their job from anywhere. They spend a lot of time online, on social media, and at different community spots where their audience hangs out.

Sometimes, they might need to travel for work, like going to events or meeting with community members. 

Typical work hours

Community managers don’t just work 9-to-5. Since they need to be around when their community is active, they often check in during off hours, like evenings or weekends, especially if something big is going down or there’s a special event. Their schedule is pretty flexible to fit with the community’s rhythm and needs.

How to become a community manager

Becoming a community manager means you need the right education, some real-world experience, and a bunch of important skills. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started:

Step 1: Finish high school

First things first, get your high school diploma. It sets you up with the basics you need for more advanced learning later on.

Step 2: Get a bachelor’s degree

You’ll usually need a college degree for this job, especially in fields like marketing, communications, or business. These subjects teach you about things like market research and how to understand what customers want.

Step 3: Gain some experience

Try to get your hands dirty with some real work. This could be an internship or even volunteer work that involves dealing with social media, talking to customers, or making cool content. This experience is super valuable and makes your resume look great.

Step 4: Learn key skills

Being a community manager isn’t just about having the right degree. You need to be a great communicator, really creative, and good at understanding what people are feeling. You can improve these skills by taking online courses. For example:

Step 5: Get certified

Stand out by getting certified in social media management or digital marketing. Places like HubSpot Academy or Google Digital Garage offer certifications that prove you know your stuff.

Step 6: Build your online presence

If you want to manage communities, you’ve got to be active online. Post regularly on social media and maybe even start a blog. This shows off your skills and gets you noticed.

Step 7: Start applying

Now you’re ready to look for a job. Make sure your resume and cover letter highlight your skills and experiences that are right for the job. And get ready for interviews by knowing what kinds of questions they might ask and having your portfolio ready to show off.

How much do community managers make?

The salary of community managers can vary depending on several factors, including their location, education, experience, industry, and company size. Additionally, the scope of responsibilities and the scale of the community being managed can influence compensation.

Highest paying industries

  • Software Publishers: $70,000
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises: $68,000
  • Advertising and Public Relations: $66,000
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: $64,000
  • Information Services: $62,000

Highest paying states

  • California: $74,000
  • New York: $71,000
  • Massachusetts: $69,000
  • Washington: $68,000
  • New Jersey: $67,000

Browse community manager salary data by market

Types of community managers

Community managers come in all shapes and sizes, each specializing in different areas. Here’s a breakdown of the main types:

  • Online community manager: This person lives and breathes the internet. They’re basically the digital face of their company.
  • Brand community manager: Focused on marketing and brand vibes, this manager works to make customers feel like they’re part of a family. They aim to make the brand stick in people’s minds, building loyalty and a sense of belonging, which boosts the brand’s fame and reputation.
  • Residential community manager: Stepping away from the digital world, this manager takes care of places where people live, like apartment buildings or gated communities. Their goal? To make sure everyone living there has a great experience.
  • Game community manager: In the cool world of gaming, these managers keep the game’s community happy and engaged. They work with game companies to help players, respond to their feedback, promote new stuff, and act as a go-between for players and developers.
  • Nonprofit community manager: These managers work for good causes. They rally everyone around the organization’s mission and help make a difference through strategic community interactions.

Top skills for community managers

Here’s what you need to shine in this job:

  • Communication skills: You need to listen to what the community wants, turn that into a plan, and clearly share your company’s news and updates. It’s all about making sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Organization skills: Managing a community means juggling a lot of tasks at once. You might be scheduling posts, planning events, keeping track of feedback, and working with other teams. 
  • Cultural competency and adaptability: This skill helps you connect with everyone, no matter their background. Plus, things online can change fast, so being able to adapt to new trends or surprises is super important.
  • Leadership abilities: It’s not just about keeping things in order; it’s about leading your community toward a common goal. You need to be able to inspire people, handle any disputes, and make everyone feel like they belong.
  • Marketing and PR skills: A big part of this job is also about promoting your brand within the community. Knowing how to market and handle public relations means you can boost your brand’s image and get more people engaged. 

Community manager career path

Community managers have plenty of ways to grow their careers. Here’s a look at the typical paths you can take:

Climbing up in community management

One common route is to take on more responsibility within community management itself. You might manage a bigger community or move to a more well-known company. As you grow, you’ll get to shape the community’s direction, come up with strategies to get more people involved, and make the community more active.

Heading toward executive roles

If you aim higher, you could become a senior manager or even head of community. Beyond that, there are top executive spots like director or vice president of community. These big roles involve a lot of planning and making big decisions that guide the growth of the community. You might even lead a team of managers and other staff.

Chief-level positions

In some industries, community building is so crucial that you can advance to chief-level positions. A chief community officer, for instance, leads strategic efforts to create a supportive environment that boosts customer or member satisfaction and loyalty.

Switching fields

With your skills in building relationships, creating content, and moderating discussions, you could also move into public relations, content marketing, or social media management. Your knack for engaging audiences might even lead you into user experience design or customer service, where understanding and empathy are vital.

Going entrepreneurial

Community management also teaches you a lot about running a business. Some community managers use that experience to start consulting other businesses on how to build and manage communities. Or, they might start their own company, using what they’ve learned to build something new from the ground up.

Here’s what’s trending and what the future looks like for community management:

  • Growing importance in customer experience: As social media platforms grow, customers expect quick replies and active engagement. Businesses need community managers more than ever to handle these interactions and enhance the overall customer experience. 
  • The rise of personal branding: There’s a growing recognition of how personal branding can boost sales and expand market reach. These managers are crucial in maintaining a consistent brand message and providing valuable content to strengthen this image.

Employment projections

The demand for community managers is on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for marketing, promotions, and marketing managers are expected to grow by 10% through 2031, which is faster than average. This growth is driven by the increasing need to manage a brand’s online presence and engage with customers effectively, leading to more job opportunities in the field.

Community manager career tips

Understand the community deeply

Knowing your community inside and out is crucial. This means understanding what they want and need, knowing who the influential members are, recognizing the community culture, and keeping up with trending topics and events. The better you understand your community, the more effectively you can help it thrive.

Safeguard the brand’s image

Protecting the brand you represent should always be a top priority. Be ready to address customer complaints quickly and professionally, answer questions about your company accurately and respectfully, and ensure that the brand’s image is consistently positive and impactful.

Engage and build relationships

Regular interaction with your community is key, not just when solving issues or responding to questions but also when participating in discussions and networking. Building strong relationships within the community creates trust and goodwill, which are vital for a healthy and successful community.

Keep learning

The field of community management is always changing, so staying informed and improving your skills is crucial. You can do this by:

  • Attending webinars and workshops on community management
  • Following industry leaders through blogs, podcasts, and joining professional communities
  • Earning certifications like the Certified Community Management Professional (CCMP) or the Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification

Build a professional network

Networking is essential in community management. It can open doors to new job opportunities and provide insights into best practices. Consider joining networks such as:

  • The Community Roundtable
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Community Managers Meet (CMM)

Evaluate and adapt strategies

Being able to assess and tweak your strategies is critical. Regularly check your community engagement metrics and adjust your strategies based on what’s working and what isn’t. This helps keep your approach effective and aligned with the community’s needs.

Where the community manager jobs are

Top employers

  • WeWork
  • Regus
  • Impact Hub
  • Coworkly
  • NextSpace

Top states

  • California
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • Florida

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • JobHero
  • FlexJobs


What skills are required for a community manager?

Communication skills are fundamental to communicating effectively with community members. Leadership and motivating others are also essential, as you often need to stimulate engagement and participation. Knowledge of social media platforms and proficiency in handling content management systems is also necessary for this job.

Can a community manager work remotely?

Absolutely. Many work remotely as their job involves online networks, social media platforms, and virtual communities. However, some roles might demand on-site work for community events and in-person meetings.

Is a degree necessary to be a community manager?

While not mandatory, a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communication, journalism, or a related field can be beneficial. However, many companies place more emphasis on relevant experience, excellent communication skills, and a demonstrable ability to build and manage a community.

What’s the role of a community manager in marketing?

Their role in marketing revolves around cultivating a positive image for the brand within the community, influencing consumer behavior, and gauging customer sentiments. This often involves creating and executing content strategies, running social media campaigns, creating engaging activities, and interacting with members to foster a sense of belonging and loyalty.

Can introverts succeed as community managers?

Yes. While they need to interact with many people, introverts often excel at building deep, meaningful connections. They can be great listeners and can contribute to a community with thoughtful engagement and detailed follow-up, which is crucial to building meaningful relationships with community members.

What should I know about managing a virtual community?

Managing a virtual community requires understanding the particular dynamics of online interaction. You should be familiar with the tools and platforms your community uses, understand the etiquette of online communications, and recognize the importance of regular, consistent engagement. You also need to keep in mind that successful online communities are built on trust and respectful exchange of ideas.

How to deal with conflicts within the community?

Handling conflicts in a fair, respectful manner is crucial. Encourage open and respectful communication, strive to understand all perspectives, and intervene with a neutral standpoint when necessary. Establishing and enforcing community guidelines can also prevent conflicts from arising in the first place.

Does a community manager need to have technical skills?

While in-depth technical skills aren’t usually required, familiarity with digital tools and platforms commonly used in community management can be advantageous. This may include social media platforms, collaboration tools, content management systems, and data analytics tools.

I have great socializing skills. Is that enough to become a community manager?

Socializing skills are important, but successful community management requires a broader skill set. This includes strong leadership and organization skills, strategy development, content creation abilities, and a good understanding of the community’s interests and concerns. Being a quick problem-solver and having a proactive approach to engagement initiatives, in addition to socializing skills, will improve your effectiveness in this role.

How can I measure my success as a community manager?

There are several ways to gauge your success. This includes tracking engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and active participation in community discussions, or assessing member satisfaction through surveys. Additionally, your impact on community growth, the connection members feel toward your brand, and your ability to turn members into brand advocates can speak volumes about your success in this role.