#CmgrChat 6/29 The Evolution of Community Management

Esteemed guest Blaise Grimes-Viort put it best in this chat when he said, “People interacting with a brand and not each other is not a community in my mind.” Although the hiring of “community managers” has really taken off in the past couple of years, and businesses as well as their customers are more excited to work with community managers, there’s still much room to grow — as far as the role and emerging discipline are concerned.

In this chat, hear from several CMs on where their jobs have taken them and where/how they hope to go and *grow* over the next several years.


Q1. How has Community Management changed/evolved over the past few years? Stories welcome!

ericfoster IMO, community management started out of a support role. Usually by a support manager responding en masse to the member base.

elanazak A1 Community management is now almost a necessity instead of an option.

blaisegv A1: It’s changed massively over past 5 years. But only around tools used and the scope of the role. Fundamentals are still same

KT_Little I think over the past few years people and customers might have not engaged much with communities because are shy/not interested

bottlethecrazy A1. For me, hearing my mom accurately describe what I do to her co-workers made me realize how much com mgmt has grown haha!

justinisaf It’s moved from building community (forums, BBS) to marketing to an engaged an audience (twitter) and is slowly moving back.

sarahkayhoffman Community Management has gotten “smarter.” Better tools, ways to track & knowledge on how to make communities even better.

contrapuntist I’d have to say acceptance is the big difference. Companies are recognizing importance of having a Community Manager

DanKlamm Organizations are starting to place more value on community management and integrate it with other core functions.

econwriter5 Not only has #cmgmt gotten smarter, but so have the communities themselves.

meghan_krane A1: More and more customers expect a community and look for opportunities to engage and join in

KimberleeVDW The members are in control, listne to their needs


Q2) What do you see as the career development path of a community manager? How can they (we) grow?

JGfromOC We have to get beyond engagement and better understand the business. Think with the long tail in mind and analyze ROI.

justicewordlaw We grow by solving more issues that can make a specific niche perform at a higher level

pushingvision As with all jobs with loose descriptions, you are have to set parameters & expections, while allowing for changing/breaking them

NicholasDragon Keep up with the trends. As things change, we (SM Managers) are expected to stay on top and react quickly.

yolunia I see content curation being even more important. People will manage their streams by what is most relevant to them

meghan_krane One of the challenges of the CM title is that is often an isolated position – you have to create your next promotion

blaisegv To grow, it’s a mix of a keen curiosity to learn new skills in other fields but especially sociology and psychology of crowds

KatieFelten A: interact with the community, also taking the CM Master class from @RichMillington its really good

grmeyer @kellylux career path for #cmgrchat -> work yourself out of a job and make everyone around you better #win

immunity We grow by learning from each other & sharing our best practices & the @cmtybc is a good place for that.

SamHosenkamp How can comm mngrs grow? Find creative ways to engage community.Start chat on topics you feel strongly about,write blogs,etc


Q3. What kinds of skills are essential for CMs going forward? Think specific skills rather than degrees…

_faith Kind of a given but… multitasking!

grmeyer Ability to acknowledge, triage, delegate, and solve problems with flexibility, resiliency, and fun

IslandPrintGrp Bettering yourself. That is the most important skill for a CM, IMO.

rhogroupee Negotiation, curiosity, intellect, confidence, love of ppl…

yolunia A hybrid of skills: copywriting, prodmgmt, SEO, stat analysis, leadership + expertise in subject/brand

themaria Don’t get too attached to your own ideas or anything you do, help others have better ideas & develop them. Leave ego at the door

ericfoster Critical thinking, ability to recognize priorities, Act, and an amiable manner. All 4 in one package is tough.

evanhamilton Most important skill for Community Managers: Making time to get out of the trenches & think about strategy.

rvstoltz Making sure you are not shooting from the hip. Need to be well informed and have a plan.

pwride Not sure it’s just about skills but about being tapped in to all departments and earlier; information flow vital.

DanKlamm:  I see analytical skills gaining importance as orgs aim to measure results.

MikeFraietta Following along. Please no stat classes for CMs. Build bridges & forget ladders. Universities still exist in 10-15 years?<-ha! 😉

ilovegarick Skills for #cmgrchat? Always stay calm, cool, and collected. Praise in public & take concerns offline/back-end.


Q4) Where do you see community management’s place in business in the next 5 years?

vargasl Where? Everywhere? It is socializing and expanding listening grid so the cmty is convos and the people having them are focus.

yolunia Fragmented. Focused in certain niches that are tailored to where the consumer/reach of people are.

KatieFelten I think in 5 yrs Community Managers will be the norm at the majority of companies and will be an exec or mgmt role

blaisegv I gave this presentation of where I saw the #cmgr in organisation in ideal world

jasonhparker I think social technology will be radically different. Way more emphasis on mobile, and how to reach coi’s via smartphone.

grmeyer In 5 years, all F100 companies will have C-level folks who focus on making the experience insanely great

themaria: In 5 yrs, community mgmt will be an integral part business, touching all functional areas, not a silo. Hopefully.


If you haven’t already, do join an upcoming #cmgrchat on Wednesdays 2-3pm EST! We do our best to make community members feel welcome and feature a variety of voices in the digests.  If you have suggestions for future topics, make sure to get in touch with us, or leave a comment below.  Cheers!

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About the author

Judi Huck

Mover. Shaker. Candlestick maker. Currently engaged as a community and social media strategist.