Advice from the Community: Getting a Job in Community Management

Looking for a job in social media marketing?  Maybe you work in marketing or advertising and you want more direct interaction with your customers. Maybe you want to write more creative copy or you want to develop a brand voice. Or just maybe you feel the urge to tell people your job is to be on Facebook all day (the half-truth).

Community Management takes a specific skill set. To start, it takes creativity and quick thinking, but if you are looking to move your career in this direction there are steps you can take to help this process. The Community Managers here at Ignite Social Media have provided some advice around things you should and shouldn’t do if you want a job in the field of Community Management.

Tips for Getting a Community Manager Job


1Kristina Kelly, Sr. Community Manager

Your brand: “Treat your personal social media accounts like you are representing a brand, because that’s what you are essentially! Use proper grammar, hashtags, photos, and share relevant news to show your social savvy skills.”

Tools of the Trade: “Become familiar with the tools of the trade(HootSuite, WordPress, Twitter analytics, etc.) These skills will help you stand out in a crowd of applicants.”

Freelance: “Take up freelance work. I wrote for FanSided Sports Network to beef up my social media skills. Contributing to local nonprofit blogs are also a great way to gain experience and help your community!”

2Taylor Hornecker, Community Manager

Double Check: “Do a sweep of your personal social pages for any questionable content.”

3Derek Roessler, Associate Community Manager

Be Professional: “Understand that professionalism (without being stuffy) is required. Like any other business relationship, we have to meet client standards and obligations.”

4Stephanie Purinton, Community Manager 

Your Online Presence: “Have an online presence that you’ve cultivated, and make sure that it represents you 100% the way you want to be represented. If you think that an interviewer or recruiter won’t look at it/stalk you, you are wrong.”

Brand Awareness: “Keep a list of brands that you like and dislike on social media. Be able to explain why their strategies do or do not work for you or for their community.”

5Jessica Gaylord, Associate Community Manager 

Grammar: “Be a damn good speller and get excited about proper grammar.”

Patience is Key: “Learn patience – dealing with Internet trolls and angry customers.”

Open Mind: “Have an open mind and be able to step in other people’s shoes. You’re going to be interacting with so many different types of people on the communities you manage, so having perspective and being insightful is really important (and helpful) when handling consumer interactions or building rapport.”

Collaborate: “Don’t be a loner. Community Management is all about #collaboration. If bouncing ideas off other people and participating in brainstorms doesn’t get you pumped, then you may be better off in another field.”

6Azad Abbasi, Manager – Community Management  

Industry News: “Allocate time every day to keep up with new social platforms, social media marketing news, and industry trends in general. As a CM, you should be in the know about what’s going on at the front lines of social media so that you can show your knowledge and keep your future clients and colleagues in the loop about what will impact their business.”

7Ashlie Lanning, Director – Community Management

Create a Blog: “I like when people have updated blogs. It gives me a good sense for their writing capabilities – but it’s not a strike against you if you don’t have one, either.”

Follow Employers: “You should also follow the company you’re applying to, and bonus points if you follow the person(s) you’re interviewing with.”

Faking It: “Don’t create social media profiles just for sake of an interview. We’re CM’s – you can’t trick us when it comes to these things.”

8Jessica Bedussi, Community Manager

Brand Interaction: “Think about how you interact with other brands on social channels. Did you vent about that delayed flight to the airline’s Twitter account? Did you inundate the page of your favorite clothing store after a negative experience? Remember that any brand you interact with could end up being your client or any CM you engage with could end up vouching for OR discrediting you for a future job?”

Interview Chatter: “Don’t completely bash brands’ pages or strategy during interviews. While you’ll want to come in with ideas and suggestions for how to improve a brand’s social presence, remember that the people you’re interviewing with may own this work. Be mindful that you are not tearing apart any agency or client work and only providing value.”

9Meghan Hardy, Sr. Community Manager

Opinions Matter: “You shouldn’t be trolling or being really negative about brands on social. Not only can potential employers see you doing that, but you could be unknowingly burning a bridge with an agency or brand that you apply to later. It’s fine to have an opinion on social, but it should be expressed in a professional manner.”

Now that you know some of the skills of the trade to become a community manager, get out there and get active on your social channels! Make sure to follow us at @Ignitesma on Twitter and on Facebook. Keep an eye on our jobs page for Community Management roles and roles outside of that discipline.

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