Community Management of the Future

Even though Community Management seems to be at it’s height, we’ve still got a long way to go before we come to some kind of consensus as to what CMs do day to day, what they’re called, and what we expect them to do.  So what does the future of Community Management look like to those that are in the trenches currently?  What do dream teams and company set ups look like?  Take it from those who know:


Q1: What is the perfect community management tool that has not yet been created?

ChefKatelyn One that puts every social media profile in one giant program, allows you to connect with others, AND analyze stats

leodesousa an analytics based tool that can surface interactions based on rules you define

plautmaayanUniversal analytics for all online platforms.

econwriter5One that allows updating profiles with the push of a button to create a unified experience

KellyLuxThe perfect tool would allow me to stay on one dashboard all day and have everything I need. 700 tabs open is a nightmare.

djfanco Perfect #CM tool: automatically filter violating or mediocre content and deliver the awesome stuff directly to my bosses.

jamioetting Combine a CRM with SM, search tools, video, analytics, to-dos and email and it might be half right

Q2. What does the ideal community management team look like?

evanhamilton Director/strategist, analytics, content creators, event organizer, moderators…who else do we need on our team?

catykobe I think the ideal team is composed of marketers/PR and support people. 1 member should be close to exec team

AnjelusX  3 Tanks, 2 Bashers, and 1 negotiator.

benfowler Cross-functional – No Silos! Marketing, prod dev, customer service, C-suite, all in harmony with great customers

Jmodio  A mixed bag of experiences. Someone more marketing, maybe someone more personal/cust service.

justicewordlaw You have a person that enjoys analytics, design, marketing, and someone that is that organizer too

lttlewys Don’t you think that someone should be on the exec team, allowing for cohesiveness within entire company?

KellyLux The ideal community team would have a dedicated CM who only does CM, along with coders, designers, writers, etc

debng  The ideal community management team would include one person from each department

_faith : My ideal team: someone available for every timezone’s waking hours, balanced mktg/PR, sales, analytics & cust. service

MaryIrene definitely the engager, the data manager, the content creator, and the creative director. Right now, they’re all me.

MaddieRuud Intimate product knowledge is key

MaddieRuud Ideally, we would have CMs in different time zones for 24/7 coverage, plus engineering resources to provide support

evanhamilton I’d love to have a designer/front-end dev on my community team someday. So nice not to bug product/marketing

racivcm  a variety of expertise and the ability to communicate and expand ideas within the group

JPedde The dream Community Team: Cmty Strategist + CM + SM Strategist + Web Analysis team + SEO Strategist + brand marketer

Q3: What skills will be needed by the community manager of the future? All the same? Anything new? if so, what?

_Danicia_ Skills many don’t already have. Conflict resolution, actually /talking/ to your community.

Jeanetteix CM is constantly changing and adapting to new tools. CMs will need to continue to keep up with trends & be in-the-know

kadeeirene  I think a background in PR (knowing how to speak to the public) & Journalism (knowing what they want) would be good

MaddieRuud  CM team of the future will be much more human-oriented, vs tool-oriented. Tools will get simpler. People are always complex.

Jmodio Time Management, probably some coding skills

JPedde Understanding laws, platform TOS’, compliance would be an interesting “feature” of the “Future CM” as far as skills

rhogroupee:  psychology not technology

jimstorer  An ability to pick up the phone and talk with members. Seriously, increasingly it’s becoming a CMs secret weapon

SyracuseJen  Knowledge of laws and regulations? What’s legal….what’s confidential?

jamioetting:   I see data analysis on a large scale as one of the most important future skills for a�#cmgr

ATT_Jam Comprehensive knowledge of privacy laws, increased focus on *internal* resources/involvement

larboz  You want the best of a PR, Journalist, Customer Service, Marketing, Analytics person that understands psychology.

Q4. Over time, will Comm Management become part of the C-Suite of executives (Chief Community Officer)? Why or why not?

LoisMarketing Effective CMs are already in the C-level suite. They are CMOs

leodesousa  Isn’t that the role of Dir Marketing and Communications or VP External Affairs?

D4nLandau I think it will fall under Chief Comms Officer -Comty Mngmnt is part of commnctions n needs 2 b embraced by PR, internal, etc

ATT_Jam  I hope so. I’ve seen people talk about a “Chief People Officer”. I love the idea of that being commonplace

joshkocurek Until companies see the CMGR position as more than something they can just outsource to an agency, it’ll be hard.

JPedde If managing internal cmty & external cmty & overseeing communication between depts + handling budget = you want Executive

PostAdSummit: We just named a Chief Content Officer. Anyone else seeing more of these pop up?

Q5: CMs make up 5% of the “Social Media Job Titles” out there. In the future, how do we grow that percentage at companies/brands?

annabelleblue  Companies need to realize that CMs and Social are not mutually exclusive.

leodesousa  Link the work done by CMs to profitability, delivering value, meeting social mandate and goals – “show me the money”!!

hillaryboucher Keep educating! Grow your initiatives and grow your team!

MaddieRuud We need to educate around the importance of direct attention to people, not just the tools that are used to reach those people.

crockettj Companies and brands need to know the importance of CMs. We need to let them know the negative effects without a CM

D4nLandau why do we need more socmed in job titles? In the future, socmed will just be part of everyone’s job

kadeeirene  There is still ambiguity in SM titles & people making up their own, once titles start mainstream I think CM will stick


*This digest was taken from the #CmgrChat that took place on Wednesday February 29th, 2012.

**This week’s #cmgrchat was sponsored by @PostAdSummitThe Post-Advertising Summit celebrates the end of the broadcast age and the dawn of a new era for marketing. Story Worldwide is the world’s first post-advertising agency. We connect brands and their audiences through engaging stories — for any market, in any language, across any channel.

Enjoy this article?

Enter your email to receive free community management advice in your inbox:
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.


I love how Kelly wants one dashboard because she doesn't like having hundreds of tabs open. I have a phobia that if I have less than 10 tabs open at any given time, my computer will explode out of lack of things going on ;)

DavidSpinks moderator

Pissed I missed this one...  probably for the better.  I would have yelled.