Although many bad things have come out of the pandemic, one silver lining is that companies are recognizing that the only way to be truly successful is to lead with a community-first mentality. This newfound appreciation of community is leading to an increased interest in Community Management for both employers and employees. This role requires a generalist attitude and combines the experience of a slew of industries.
If you're interested in learning more about Community Management and exploring what it truly means to work in this space, then you may have attended our recent event What is Community Management and is it For You. During this event, we chatted with folks who have pivoted from different backgrounds into Community Management to learn about the ways that different industries' skill sets have translated to this role. Cait Levin (Community Educator at Commsor), Lisa Barroca (Community Manager at Cultivate), and Sara ____ (Community Operations Consultant) dove deep into what it really means to work as a Community Manager, what their top strategies for pivoting into this type of role are, and how to prepare yourself for success in this type of role.
If you weren’t able to attend, no worries! We recorded the event (you can watch it here) and you can keep reading for some major takeaways from the event.
Because there is a new burgeoning interest in the Community Management space for many people who may not be too familiar with what the role entails, it was helpful to get some additional context from those working in Community Management roles. According to Sara, the roles and archetypes in community management are so different, so you need to know yourself well, what you're really good at, and what you aren't good at in order to thrive in this role. “Understanding where your strengths lie will really help set you up for success when looking at places to apply and while interviewing since the job descriptions are so different,” Sara said.
For Cait, a huge part of community is trust building. “Authenticity is something that can really be felt, so being able to show up in a way that's appropriate to your role as your whole self goes a long way in being able to connect people,” Cat shared.
Cait walked the attendees through how she forged a path as a community manager. “My path to becoming a community manager was a series of concentric circles,” Cait explained, “I started in community and then I kept going away and coming back. Building relationships was always the part of my job that I loved the most.” Cait welcomed new members and onboarded them, managed their user-generated content program, and moderated discussions, which are all the types of things that community managers do now.
Cait then went on to work in publishing and education before pivoting back into Community Management. Point being, you don’t need to take a linear path to secure a role in Community Management, you can take your time to discover what you want and need from a role. In many ways, having a diverse background can help you thrive in this space.
Just like your path to Community Management may look different than someone else’s, so can your day to day experiences on the job. For Lisa, about a third of her time is spent in the community. “That's anything from writing posts, responding to members by directly engaging with them in Slack, to getting on one on one calls,” Lisa said. She then spends about a quarter of her time in content creation and another quarter of her time focused on strategy and project management.
Sara’s day to day looks totally different than Lisa’s. Sara spends the bulk of her time on the back end, “From an operations perspective, I'm focused solely on the back end—data and analytics and spreadsheets to map out community strategies, and to determine what's going to happen next? I use that information to create a process to move forward.” To thrive in her role, she relies on observation, organization, and empathy on a daily basis.
Again—it’s so important to note that there’s no one right way to land or execute a role in Community Management. This is a relatively new and evolving field and one that is about to explode. There’s no better time to make the pivot into Community Management, so don’t forget to check out the recap of this enlightening conversation here!