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How to Write an Effective Online Community Manager Job Description

Written by Christina Green | on February 18, 2016 at 8:32 AM

Tips for Writing an Online Community Job Description

One of the great difficulties in finding a top-notch community manager is the employer-held belief that anyone can do it. It takes a very specific skill set and if you've not employed an online community manager before, or if you are just starting your online community, you may be unaware of the demands of the role and skills required.

Ask a ten-year-old gamer what they want to be when they grow up and you'll often hear game designer or YouTuber (yes, that's a thing). They have no idea what's behind the career choice or what would be required of them. To them, the prospect of creating games and testing them sounds fun.

The other difficulty is the employee-held belief that anyone can do it. Often people applying for community manager roles (for the first time with no job experience in online community management) know little about the requirements either.

It sounds fun to be online all day interacting with people. If you have a sexy brand, you'll most likely find a larger percentage of applicants who feel this way. That's why it's incredibly important to create an online community manager's job description that fits the seriousness of the role and how it ties into the growth and revenue goals for your organization.

What Message Will Bring in the Best Community Management Applicants?

When crafting a job description, it's not a sprint. Many people are so desperate to get the new hire in that they try and write something as quickly as possible. Instead think of your job description as an invitation to your next employee.

You want to create a document that speaks to who you are as a company and who you are inviting to join you. Just as a party host gives thought to the invitation and addresses it specifically to the person they'd like in attendance, you want to do the same.

This works much like how you might create a buyer persona representing your ideal customer for your marketing efforts.

The first thing your job description must do is encapsulate your company culture in words. This goes beyond telling your story, or describing who your customers are. The tone is very important in any invitation.

If your company is extremely progressive and fun, don't use a stodgy approach in your job description. If, on the other hand, your company is in a regulated business and there's no room in your online community for a lot of LOLs and Awesome-sauce, don't fall prey to creating an over-the-top cool kids job description just because a lot of community manager job postings do that.

Tone Influences Results

If you present the wrong tone in your job description - one that doesn't fit your company culture - you'll not only attract the wrong type of applicants, but the ones you find may feel disenchanted when they realize your office culture is much different than what was implied in your job description.

Common Skills for a Great Online Community Manager

Write specifically about the skills you want in your community manager. Also require examples of how these skills were used or how they are evident in your candidates. Phrases like "proven track record in" may make people think twice before applying for a role they may not be qualified for. If you want experience, require it.

Community management may seem like a new skillset (Linkedin alone saw a 46% increase in listing this skill on profiles year-over-year) but there are still people in the industry who have worked in that role (even if they didn't have the title) for the better part of a decade or more.

An online community manager is a mash-up of several jobs including content creator, conversation starter, strategist, mediator, crisis handler, customer service person, marketer, technologist, analytics master, and social media personality. That's why an online community manager job description can resemble a digital marketing stew.

Here is a list of important skills and requirements in an online community manager:

  • Excellent communication skills, including listening
  • Flexible schedule, this is not a 9-5 job
  • Desire to help and engage your customers, employees, members, etc.
  • Knowledge of marketing best practices. They will become the face of your community.
  • Empathy
  • Understanding of how to handle a public relations crisis (just in case) or mediation between members
  • Comfortable working with all levels of stakeholders with the same degree of professionalism
  • Cool, stable demeanor
  • Excellent decision-making abilities
  • Able to translate strategic goals for the community into actionable items
  • Strong advocating abilities and persuasive techniques
  • Strong reporting skills
  • Innovative and creative thought process
  • Problem solving
  • Strong relationship-building skills
  • Excellent bridge-building skills and consensus-building both internally in the company and online
  • Experience effectively prioritizing jobs, questions, and interactions for the most powerful engagement opportunities

Online Community Manager Job Description Takeaway

Your job description is an invitation for the role. You can invite the wrong person or attract the right person by the tone, skills, and experience you layout and require. Don't rush to create something that will bring in the wrong person. This will end up costing you time and money in the long run. Take the time to understand exactly who you want in the role (much the same way you'd create a buyer persona for your ideal customer). Then use that ideal to write your “invitation†to apply.

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Topics: Online Community Management

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