#CmgrChat 9/15 – Defining the Role of Community Managers

For round two the topic was discussing the roles that community managers play and how they get there with 565 tweets, 76 contributors. Β  Pretty interesting to hear so many common themes amongst community managers, and how the job just kind of gets created since it’s so new.

You can find the full transcript of course, on or here.


Q1: Who do you directly report to?

<My Apologies, but decided to eat all of the tweets for Q1, and there are no records of the answers>

From my recollection most replied that they responded to marketing or PR departments, or to a CEO directly.Β  Please feel free to answer Q1 again in the comments section


Q2: What kind of Training did you receive, if any? And from who?

JennaLanger: I haven’t had any formal training, but going to meetups, conferences, and participating in twitter chats teach me a lot

JennaLanger: In school I took classes in interpersonal and computer-mediated comm. Not direct CM training, but taught me a lot about ppl

JennaLanger: Part of the training is learning the product inside and out. Makes it much easier to help people get the most out of it

40deuce: I didn’t get any real community management training, but I do have training in PR

bcromlish: I think like many of us, I taught myself… applied for a job demonstrating what knowledge I had and got it.

bcromlish: I read books and 1000s of blog posts until I was blue in the face

mhandy1: I literally had to read 20 + books just to get the job… I’d say training is via experts.

klavaute: None specific to SM. Been experimenting for 2 years. πŸ™‚

jessicamalnik: I’ve had some training from internships. However, most of it is self-taught. Reading case studies and just diving in.

bbenishek: No formal training. English major, but been in marketing. Read books, looked at LinkedIn #sm webinars. And these chats!

SueOnTheWeb: Founded a community so I’ve just had on the job training πŸ˜‰

shawnabraham: We’re the pioneers of this kind of position. So no formal training here. But a bkrgnd in marketing and being a medianerd helps

KellyLux: I’m also learning by doing and by hanging out on Twitter & IRL with really smart, creative people.

LynnKoves: I did @usanfranonline & learned from following marketers on twitter for 2 yrs

Draddog: Training? In 1996 we were doing community on Guestbooks. Get off my lawn you kids! πŸ˜‰


Q3: What was included in your initial job description?

shawnabraham: Social Media wasn’t even mentioned in my job description. But it was clear that it was going to be key to my success.

shawnabraham: (Con’t) I was hired to connect our students in a school that largely has online students. SM is an obvious avenue for that.

Draddog: Establish a community, guide and manage it, present reports to internal teams. Be the public face

JMattHicks: It was pretty general stating that a solid understanding of PR, Marketing, and Social Media would be a great foundation.

JennaLanger: Initial “job description” was to participate/lead community, blogger outreach. But in a startup I knew it would be much more

dbbradle: Also, you have to be an excellent writer.

RussoNoon: “Marketing” meaning, make posters and a website that works. Things have changed in a year.

RussoNoon: Certainly someone was hired to analyze analytics to assess ROI?

40deuce: I had no job description as the position didn’t exist before me. I’m creating the job description (and the job) as I go

klavaute: There wasn’t one. I was hired as copywriter & started CM part-time….now full time managing our community/strategy

JPedde: Mine was pretty detailed. Hit multiple avenues – PR, Marketing, Tech. Outlined objectives. Was made by SM consult. co

shawnabraham: People are realizing you can’t just hand over your FB account to someone just because they’re the youngest person at the company.


Q4: Better to hire a Community Manager who knows the company from within, or one who knows the ins and outs of the job?

dbbradle: I’d argue for an outside. I’d hate to see a brand get butchered by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

JennaLanger: Definitely hire from within, or one of your fans. You can’t evangelize a brand well if you’re not passionate about the product

40deuce: I don’t know if there’s a right answer to this one. I came in and learned about my company, others do it the other way

Draddog: Who has the most passion for the comp/product? I’d say find the person who has the experience necessary who loves the product.

bbenishek: Hiring from without can help the person translate the company messaging so everyone gets it. Would you want to read you

sharonmostyn: Depends on available candidates within, sometimes no viable options and outside help is required.

ebono: Whoever is more outgoing, in tune w/ culture of business & effective communicator. No dud can be a successful cmr

klavaute: Tough one. For us, (financial industry – mortgages), probably best to hire within – necessary u know our product/process

elysa: In time for last question πŸ™‚ I think it depends on company – I was hired from “outside” but I know the area really well

RussoNoon: You can always teach technical skill, you can’t fake relationships or genuine feel for an organization

@KellyLux: It would be preferred if you had some1 who was a bit of both. they know SM & come in & learn the co. b4 taking over

kmithani: Just cause you don’t know the ins and outs of an industry, doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. How do you think I got my job?

@blaisegv: #cmgr needs to kno company but that can be learnt reasonably quickly. Experience and skills cant, so the latter!

ebono: Someone that is genuinely excited to learn the ropes is better than someone that has to learn the ropes

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.