Community Manager is a funny title.
When I first started doing this social media headhunting, community manager was the only pure social media job out there. It's role was similar to running a forum, with the additional duties of adding in new ways for people to communicate (the social part).
That's now what it means today. To some extent, community managers are now more numerous as content creators and aggregators then true, peer-to-peer moderators in a closed forum. If the title community manager now means social media content manager for 80% of the jobs, shouldn't we wave the white flag and admit that the old-school community managers need to come up with a new title?
I only say this because I've been sourcing community managers for two different companies, and 95% of the people I see wouldn't fit either job without a lot of pushing. I mean, sure, the roles are somewhat the same, but trying to make social media content aggregator contractor into a old-school community manager is a bit like trying to get two dogs into a bathtub. Everytime you think you have one part sealed in, something else comes out that ruins the search.
Don't think I'm complaning. I actually live talking with community managers of all stripes. The growth in this field and the wide array of metrics and expectations open my mind up to the incredible possibilites of a good community. In some ways, it even reminds me of what I should have kept at years ago.
We should probably address the difference. I have this fancy 3d cube animation, but it's not ready yet, so you'll have to wait for it to appear, but there's the basic difference.
Old School Community Manager: Job is to create or manage a critical mass of individuals who share an interest in a product, skillset, or industry. This is not a metrics driven job. This is not a leadership job. It's a moderator/facilitator with the air of authority but not the presumption of authority. You need to be able to smack down trolling and negative behavior, but you can't actually rule the roost. You need to coax people into sharing their thoughts without actually doing the work for them.
I'm looking for these people in Austin, by the way, so contact me.
Social Media Content Manager: You either write posts, columns, tweets, updates, and pics, or you take other people's work and aggregate it. Your goal is to drive eyeballs and time to your site like a traditional marketer, but you're supposed to do so in a way that is personal. But also scalable. And engaging. And funny, but not too funny.
This is the bulk of positions and job postings out there. It tends to be junior people, with the occasional senior thrown in as a digital strategist.
PR/Customer Support Community Manager: Your job is to fight fires, make people happy, make sure that those who want to talk to the company know they're being heard, and in some cases, you're actually trained a product support specialist (which is a nice way of saying salesperson). You can be in a Jive community or on Twitter or on the phone, but it's the same job.
It will be interesting to see where this title goes. Far too many Community Managers are creating content no one sees or engages in. That's not a sustainable business model, and the fake metrics we've used for years won't hold up over time. This is one of the reasons I tell entry level people not to take social media jobs - they're not learning anything but noise making in most instances.
And that other job? That's a remote community manager role for a giant brand, but I don't want to post it, because I don't want hundreds of people sending me the wrong kind of resumes. But if you see me clicking on your profile, you might ask why.