Leadership

The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Community Managers (with real-life examples)

January 14, 2022
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min read

A community should be built while keeping the needs of its members in mind. Find out what you should always consider when you hire a community manager

The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Community Managers (with real-life examples)
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Solving people’s problems takes emotional intelligence, visionary bets, and the wisdom of others.

The role of the community manager is not to manage people but to enable them.

You are managing the environment for the members and community to thrive.

A community manager is a communications hub between the company and the community.

Initially, your community team might be one small group of people that are generalists and do all sorts of things like - support, moderation, and safety, programming, AMAs, etc..

As you grow your community team needs to become more and more specialized.

You want someone to be:

●       empathetic

●       analytical

●       excellent communication skills

●       great at building and organizing programs

●       and an expert at building operational systems

Understand that not every community professional may have all of these skills. And that's okay. 

Look at the strengths of potential community managers

It’s really important to structure your team around your people's strengths.

Now that you know what you want, let me tell you where you can find this special unicorn. The best place to find and hire community managers is from within the community itself.

In fact, Instagram's first full-time employee was a community manager.

Back in March of 2010, Josh Riedel was Instagram's very first hire. Hired specifically as a community manager, Riedel was brought on to help Krieger and Co-Founder Kevin Systrom work through the early user concerns of the company. Back then, usernames had to go through manual approval, so users wanting to change their username had to wait until either Systrom or Krieger got around to actually doing it. They realized that this delay would cause problems for them – I mean, after all, no user or customer likes to wait for anything.

Both Krieger and Systrom simply didn't have the resources to focus both on community building and engagement, as well as on scaling the product. So, instead of bringing in an engineer as their first hire, Instagram brought in someone to manage their growing community of users – and that's made all the difference, enabling the company to scale quickly.

This was against every business textbook of hiring engineers. or designers or PMs. They hired a community manager first. Read more about it here.

Time it right

One of the biggest challenges that leaders face during community building is paying heed to the loud 1%. You need to learn how to listen to feedback and analyze it carefully before you take any product decisions.

More often than not, the company founders do the heavy work in the early days. This is because hiring someone before your product gains traction isn’t the best idea. But if you can’t keep up with relationship building all by yourself, then it’s probably time to bring someone in.

Always remember to make sure that your early community team is closely collaborating with your product folks. They know what users want, and this is insightful information for product developers.

Pick the cream of the crop

Exceptional community managers can strike the perfect balance between thinking creatively and systematically. You need to find someone who’s great at building relationships. At the same time, you should also look for a person who identifies as a system’s thinker. This is because they will be responsible for setting up key structures and processes in your community.

Writers make for great community managers. They have to think out of the box, but also structure their thoughts at the same time.

Compensation carries less weight than you might expect.

Only 1 in 10 community moderators said cash or equity compensation was a primary reason they joined the community.

Much higher on the moderator/ member wish list? The ability to make an impact (55%), the problems they'd be solving (42%), the mission (40%), the team (39%), and the culture (30%) 

What’s the pay of a community manager?

Community managers still don’t have a concrete role in every business. This is why it can be quite difficult to understand factors like scope of work and payscale. At the end of the day, community managers have to trailblaze their own way up the business ladder.

The pay scale depends on a number of factors like:

●       How significant is the community to your business

●       Is community a separate function or a part of another department like marketing or product

●       How big your community team is

●   The role of the community manager

Although many companies today are actively looking to build community, they don’t really  understand the amount of effort that goes into it.

Community managers usually form a one-man-team. They wear a host of different hats.  These include engagement, content, operations and much more. Understandably, it can be a Herculean task to successfully scale a community with this smorgasbord of responsibility .

The community suffers when community managers burn out. And this happens often, due to low pay and long hours.

It's traditionally been a struggle to find anything remotely in the range of what could be considered fair compensation for the amount of work and range of responsibilities that fall under the community manager umbrella.

There are plenty of reasons why this may be the case, but the most likely culprits are:

●       The role of a community manager is poorly defined and understood at most companies

●       It is typically seen as a 'soft skill' position

●       It's frequently difficult to quantify the value of community, both with respect to the community itself as well as the work that goes into building and maintaining a healthy one

Thankfully there is an upward trend in salaries over the past 12-18 months, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Community Salaries , by location

Let’s talk numbers

Average salary for a full-time community manager is $77,000 USD. The median is $75,000 USD; the highest reported salary for a Community Manager is $220,000 USD (way to go!!!), and the lowest is $31,000.

Senior Community Managers can expect an average salary of $102,000 USD, with the highest reported at $180,000 USD and lowest at $34,000 USD.

The average salary for a Head of Community is $141,000 USD, with the highest reported salary at $375,000 USD and the lowest at $44,000 USD.

The national average salary for a Community Manager is ₹6,09,535 per year in India.

In a recent survey conducted among community professionals, 63% of the respondents selected community management as the primary responsibility. Apart from that, the community professionals also contribute to marketing (5%), executive management (5%), developer relations (3%), communication (3%), business development (3%), and customer service (2%).

This clearly suggests that community management is closely tied to the company’s growth. We  will see a lot more roles emerge and your responsibilities within it as we explore new frontiers.

Community Manager Hiring Process

I am going to give you a simple hiring process that you can use to hire the best community managers.

The first step is to create a job description for the role.

This is a sample role description that you can use for your company. Make sure to include things that makes sense for your business

- Sample Community Manager Job Description

[Company name] is looking for a Community Manager to help us deliver a more engaging and shareable content experience. You will be creating engaging, shareable content for blogs, social media pages, monthly newsletters and promotional videos. You'll provide community feedback to management and stakeholders while also planning and executing community initiatives and programs like our [program].

You'll also monitor social media campaigns and analyse web traffic from the online community using key performance indicators (KPIs). You will help us find new marketing and outreach opportunities to push our  brand image and products by participating in social events, corporate events and workshops. And finally, you'll work with journalists and PR agencies to ensure accurate brand representation—and make sure that we're always working with the right partners!

If this sounds like something you'd love to do, apply now!!

Now that you have a job description ready, it's time to promote the job opportunity.

- How to promote the job opportunity?

Here are 5 channels used by most industry folks to promote the job offering. They are:

  1. Community Roundtable
  2. CMX Hub
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Indeed
  5. Monster

The applications will start pouring in as soon as you post the opportunity. Let's move on to the next step!

- What are the set of questions to ask when interviewing an online community manager?

Pro tip: Your goal should be to identify someone with a sense of Emotional Quotient, Empathy and some technical know-hows.

1) What are your favourite community platforms for community management? What would you improve in one of those?

2) Have you built a community before? What was the experience like?

3) Tell me the most interesting community building tactic you have observed in a community

4) Can you tell me how to measure community KPI’s?

5) How would you deal with rude and unfriendly community members?

6) What would be your first action step in conflict resolution?

- A simple test to identify the right fit for your community manager position

During the interview process, it's a great idea to ask prospective community managers to highlight their passion by creating something on the spot.

This could be anything from a 90-day action plan for how to promote your community.

By doing this, you'll get a better sense of how they would approach the task and their thought process. 

I am sure this exercise will weed out all the non-passionate and lazy community managers. 

Voila! You have successfully recruited a rockstar community manager for your business.

At this point, it’s pretty obvious that being an exceptional community manager requires a wide variety of skills. Hiring the right person for your community might not be easy, but it will definitely reduce a huge chunk of your stress. So, what are you waiting for?

Help us help you get the best out there!


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