08 February 2010 ~ 19 Comments

Online Community and Social Media Job Descriptions

Get a JobI recently posted a comment on Sue’s post discussing Community Management job titles, which led me to think a lot about the large number of different types of community management job description I have seen over the years. I also feel that, with the rise of social media as a career field, the title of community manager is being misused with what seems to me to be some confusion over the difference between what a community expert and a social media expert does.

So over the next week or so, I’m going to compile a rough list of job description templates for each core type of role. This will be within both  Community Management and Social Media, in an attempt to formalise the strands. All of this is of course only my opinion and comments are very welcome.

My thinking follows the following assumption:

  • community management is generally a more internally facing role, feeding back into the organisation from brand-hosted communities (although this can include managing groups based within social media tools such as Facebook pages)
  • social media management is externally facing, building and leveraging connections with “customers” to facilitate broadcasting of a brand message or ethos.

There’s potentially a great conversation to be had about that assumption so I might focus a future blog post on it – let me know in the comments if you’d be interested!

The job titles that have inspired this series are the following (I’ll add more if I see any!)

Online Media Manager
Social Media Manager
Social Media Community Manager
Brand Evangelist
Brand Community Manager
Brand Advocate
Digital Community Brand Advocate Web Manager
Community Producer
Community Executive
Community Liaison Manager/Executive
Community Host / Moderator
Community Evangelist
Community Developer
Community Product Manager/Executive
Community Support Manager/Executive
Assistant Community Manager
Community Content Manager
Head of Interactions
Chief Community Officer

The following list is a work in progress, but I’ll try to break job description templates into two strands, and then into generic levels of responsibility, as such:

Online Community Moderator

Online Community Manager

Head of Online Community

Online Community Director

Social Media Manager

Head of Social Media

Social Media Director

Can you think of any others?

[photo by fabien belcourt]

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  • blaisegv

    Hi Kirsten!

    Thanks, I do hope it will be of some use.

    The way I see it, it does depend on the organisation structure. These blog posts will stick to an assumption of a rigid hierarchy, to make it easier to come up with generic desciptions of responsibility.

    In that context, I would say a Community Manager generally is responsible for one “community” (could be spread across several virtual spaces), whereas a Head of Communities would oversee several Community Managers each working across different community spaces or brands. Of course one could have a Community Manager managing a team of Community Assistants, but for the sake of a reasonably concise set of job descriptions, and my sanity as I could go on forever, I will try and stick to the hierarchy above.

    But you've made me think to add a sub-line for each job spec to clarify this, which I'll make sure to do! Thank you!


  • http://www.kartworks.net Kirsten Wagenaar

    Hi Blaise,

    Nice list! It gives our dutch community managers group also a good basis to start from.

    I´m curious though about one thing: what is, according to you, the difference in tasks and responsabilities between Community Manager en Head of Community?


  • jacquelinecohen

    Hi Blaise
    Would you include the following?
    - Web Manager
    - Forum Manager
    - Content Manager
    - Resident blogger
    - Twitter Manager

    I think as brands become more focussed on social media activity, they're not just going to be looking for managers to “manage” the overall strategy, but for individuals to manage the content and success of key areas of online activity and chatter.

  • http://www.kartworks.net Kirsten Wagenaar

    Ha ha, yes I can imagine all too well one could loose his sanity on these descriptions :)

    So I guess you see a Head of Community as a sort of Community Coördinator. That would make sense.

    Good luck with clarifying and working out the descriptions. Let me know if I can be of any help anytime.

    Btw how do you pronounce your name exactly?

  • blaisegv

    Hi Jacqueline!

    I'll have a think about how these would fit in. I agree that in some circumstances, particularly with a very large network, companies will need to hire people for very specific roles to cover particular aspects of their social ecosystem.

    In terms of the more generalist ones you mentioned such as Content Manager, do you mean UGC or staff editorial?

    For me, editorial and blogging doesn't fit the scope of this excercise, as I wanted to concentrate on specialisation. However responsibilities from the job description I will produce can be folded into any other role.

    I'm just worried that by going off on a tangeant, I could cover more ground than I need to; for example, one could argue that any role could/should include elements of community management and social media…

    I have included “Moderator” above, so I could include some of the above that deal specifically with community or social media tools.

  • blaisegv

    That’s right – team management and strategy. Add a budget on top and possibly direct management of the Product, and in my structure that would lead to Director level. I’m mulling over Connie Bensen’s CCO role and how that would break down, and will probably add it in at some point.

    Could you send me a link to any discussions your guys have about job roles etc please? Would be great to see what you come up with!

  • http://twitter.com/SueOnTheWeb Sue

    I love where you are going with this. There does seem to be a growing confusion about the differences between a Social Media Manager and a Online Community Manager etc.

  • blaisegv

    Thanks Sue!

  • http://www.kartworks.net Kirsten Wagenaar

    Clear! Thanks.
    All our discussions are in dutch for now. I set up the blog: http://www.communitymanagers.nl which, for now, is also in dutch but we have plans to eventually translate and write everything in English so that community managers from other nationalities can also join the conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/rhappe Rachel Happe

    This is something we are working on as well at The Community Roundtable and agree that social media management and community management typically have different emphasis. The way I see it social media management is more responsible for content creation and interacting with a broad network – often this is seen on the marketing end of the spectrum and in the B2C space where the goal is not so much to encourage relationship development between network participants as it is to respond and produce content people want to share.

    Community management is typically more focused on a more discrete group of people (even if relatively large) and developing and encouraging relationships is a bigger emphasis.

    Those are obviously not hard and fast rules but that's how I see it. And as you get more senior on both fronts, the role takes on more management/budgeting/strategy work.

  • blaisegv

    Great – I'll run it through Google translate for now – looking forward to the translation!

  • blaisegv

    Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment!

    Absolutely agree with you in regards the split of responsibility and different focus each type of role has. It is of course possible to create hybrid roles, and in some cases a Community staff will also be responsible for covering Social Media responsibilities and advocacy – in fact my job used to cover both until I started building a team and diffusing skills throughout the company I work for.

    Would be great to see the results of your studies!

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  • http://twitter.com/WilliamsTell Chris Williams

    Both fields are relativity new and probably need some time mature so clear lines can be drawn between them. Social Media is here to stay and and emphasis on this up and coming medium is set to increase. I see the whole field being broken down into further roles as it matures :)

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  • Karen

    My vote is for Social Media Content Manager … and I want to be one:)

  • tua022012

    Thanks for your link. It’s useful for our community.

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    I hope it’s useful for you and you like it. Please continue sharing more information at this topic.

    Best rgs!

  • paulbradshaw

    This has always been a hugely useful list but I’ve just noticed there’s no description of ‘Community Editor’. Do you have any experience of the distinction between that and a community manager?