Community Management: To Infinity and Beyond!

This final week of #cmgrclass has circulated around the future of community management. Considering the exceptional growth this field has seen over the past few years, it’s reasonable to assume that its growth will only excel in the years to come. As recently as 2009, people like Dawn Foster were giving talks entitled “Online Community Manager: Yes, It’s Really a Job”. Now, only 4 years later, this career path has taken a commanding and fertile root in companies worldwide.

While the future growth of community management is all but guaranteed, the field itself continues to evolve as the full potential and benefits of well-crafted community management is realized.

In her post Community Manager Job Description, A Definitive Guide, Erin Bury shares how she went from not knowing what the job title “community manager” meant back in 2008, to becoming gainfully deployed as one, and then gives, as a title implies, a definitive guide to what she perceives is the role of a community manager.

In broad terms, Bury defines the role of a community manager as “the face of a company, managing communications in both directions. This digital-savvy employee is responsible for all communications, PR, social media, events, and content creation, among other things.”

Prefacing the list with a brief disclaimer that each and every day as a community manager is different, here are the items she found crucial to the job:

1. Content creation

2. Social media marketing

3. Events and event planning

4. Public relations

5. Customer relations

6. Communications/marketing strategy

7. Analytics

8. Business development

 

Taking it a step further, Rachel Caggiano and Matt Kelly do a bit of community manager forecasting in their post Rebranding the Community Manager – The 7 Skills of a Community Director. The concepts presented in their post build on a foundation of Bury’s definition, and go on to state how it’s currently changing and speculate how it will continue to evolve.

They found that “today’s community manager needs to be a fan segmentations specialist, an ad and content targeting expert, a crisis radar technician, and a leader of multiple content creators across the organization. A real business director with the necessary gravitas to get the most out of the community, as well as the brand, to really drive value,” and dub this highly skilled individual as something new but in so many ways the same…the Community Director.

 

ogilvy_cmgrdirector

 

This graphic from Ogilvy details the 7 skills of a community director as detailed by Caggiano and Kelly, which is a career path that I best understand to be a community manager with a really productive growth hormone. Whether this is where the future of community management, or, ummm, community directorship, will take is remains to be seen, but the fact remains that the future of community [insert productive noun here] remains bright.

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