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What exactly falls under the jurisdiction of a community manager? Here, I've outlined a typical job description for the growing profession.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

‘Community Manager’ is an increasingly popular job title.

I think of the community manager as a classical conductor, dedicated to showing the online community (the orchestra) how to get in sync, never through force or coercion, but by using the magical powers of suggestion alone. It’s an important job, to put it mildly.

But what exactly is the role of a community manager? And what does a community manager do?

Here goes:

Work Description for a Community Manager

So what exactly falls “under the jurisdiction” of a community manager? I’ve outlined the typical responsibilities here:

  • Develop- and drive the online community strategy.
  • Adapt corporate messaging/content to work in social channels.
  • Manage online influencers and secure influencer publicity.
  • Transform social media channels into customer experiences.
  • Set up landing pages and compile lead magnets.
  • Drive traffic, interest, leads and sales to landing pages.
  • Monitor the online community proactively and reactively.
  • Analyse and optimise for increasing relevant online conversions.
  • Run the email list and the autoresponder programme.
  • Strategically follow, follow back and unfollow in social media.
  • Response management on both owned, earned and paid platforms.
  • Deal with online trolls and handle online issues management.
  • Continuously evaluate and report on community reactions.
  • Manage and engage the internal community (i.e. employees).
  • Prepare online decks and processes for when a potential crisis hits.
  • Manage online customer service when it appears within social networks.
  • Train C-level executives (and specialists) on how to behave in social media.

I would suggest that these scopes of work are amongst the most important in PR for most types of companies. So I would recommend to either a) look for talented community managers to hire or b) train your existing team in the fine art of community management.

The Community Manager Appreciation Day

Many community managers I talk to, tend to have this one thing in common. They often feel under-appreciated. No wonder the profession has their own day every 4th Monday of January — the Community Manager Appreciation Day.

Where To Find Most Community Managers

Those who recruit community managers often do it out of necessity. These companies, in particular, often feel they have to have a skilled community manager:

1. Online startups — Because they realise that they have to focus on marketing activities that don’t scale in the beginning. The first 1,000 true fans are critical to any long-term success.

2. Established B2C brands — Because people are seeking them out en masse in social media. They need to deal with all of this interest to avoid unnecessary blowback for the brand.

Personally, I would argue that more companies need to recruit community managers. They need to be proactive about establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with an online community1.

Community Management in PR

It makes perfect sense for PR professionals to add community management to their skill sets. Community management is comparable to internal communications, crisis communications, issues management, public affairs/lobbying, corporate communications, investor relations and marketing PR.

Being a community manager requires quite the specialised skill-set2 and as a corporate function, this field of craft and knowledge seems to be developing fast into a profession in its own right.

Toolbox for Community Managers

Here’re some useful resources for community managers:

RiteTag — Research hashtags.

CoSchedule — WordPress plugin3 that will put your content into a calendar and from there make it easier for your team schedule social shares over time.

Edgar — Put your evergreen social shares on a themed rotation and shave hours of your weekly workload. Handle with care!

Crowdfire — My easy-to-use tool of choice for strategic follows, follow-backs and unfollows. Works with Twitter and Instagram.

Traackr — Research influencers based on keywords and get comprehensive lists of individuals to pitch.

Relation Desk — Keep track of incoming social signals and assign ‘tickets’ to your team. For Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Buzzsumo — Research topics and headlines based on their success in social media.

LeadPages — Create high-converting landing pages based on comprehensive conversion testing. You can also let the system manage your lead magnets.

Mailchimp — If you’re starting out in list-building and automation, this is the tool I would recommend as a starting point.

Buffer — Post your shared content across various social channels with this automated tool. Works for multiple accounts for Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Twitter.

Sniply — When you share content created by others, make sure to capture those clicks with a tool like Sniply.

SumoMe — My favourite all-in-one solution for on-site list-building through popups, welcome mats, roll-out boxes.

Enterprise Level Tools

For bigger companies, I would recommend the following tools:

Adobe Marketing Cloud — Enterprise-class suite for managing each aspect of your online marketing even if you’re a global company with a huge audience.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud — With customer relationships in their DNA and the acquisition of online monitoring tool Radian6, Salesforce is a

Hubspot Marketing & Sales Platform — The leaders of inbound marketing and B2B lead capturing through content marketing.


  1. Check out the CMX Summit — a conference for community managers.
  2. According to this Mashable article, the number of people on Linkedin, who have added “Community Management” to their skills list is up 46% year-over-year.
  3. Also check out the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

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