Community Manager Will Not Be The Most Hired Position Of 2013

by Tim McDonald on Dec 31, 2012
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Social Fresh 2013 Social Media Predictions: 8/10

The position of community manager has been on fire for the last couple years.

While community management has been around for 15 years in the gaming community, the position was little known until about 4 years ago when Jeremiah Owyang created the first Community Manager Appreciation Day back in 2010.

With the increase in use of social media in business, it is easy to see why community managers have been increasingly in demand. With all the growth in the community manager position in the last several years, what’s ahead for 2013? Could it actually be that we see a decline in the number of community manager positions?

For 2013, I’m predicting that community management will not be the most hired position.

This may sound crazy coming from a community manager, but I’m basing it on two factors:

First, there has been an influx of community manager job descriptions that are really describing a social media manager.

Secondly, as companies start empowering their employees to become more social, they will be performing many of the same duties community managers have done in the past. Don’t fear! The community manager position is not going away, it’s just transforming.

How does a community manager differ from a social media manager? First and primarily, a community manager is just as responsible for being the voice of the community to the brand as it is to be the voice of the brand to the company.

In order to achieve this, depending on the type of organization and community, community managers may or may not use and/or be responsible for the social media channels of the brand. We will start to see more companies, recruiters and HR professionals start to become more aware of this in 2013 and as such, job titles and descriptions will begin to change and reflect the positions more accurately. As a bonus prediction, we will see less community manager positions, but will see more social media manager positions.

“Socially Empowered Employees” will be the buzzword for 2013 (another bonus prediction). Companies are moving towards embracing their employees being more active on their own personal social networks for the benefit of the brand. Every employee will become an ambassador for the brand.

With more employees being active on social media, less community managers (as we know them today) will be needed. Since companies will need to make sure that employees are trained in how to use social media to achieve business goals for their job function. Community managers will still be needed to guide, measure and strategize how the workforce is using social, but departments of community managers will be reduced.

Will 2013 be the year that we start defining the role of a community manager more accurately?

With the move towards having socially engaged employees, will we see the need for less community managers?

I say yes.

What do you say?


  • I completely agree, Tim.

    Now that companies have come to understand social media’s place in their business, there will be a push for leaders to empower their employees to be more socially empowered. It’s not an option anymore.

    Similar to what happened 12 years ago with the popularity of MCSE careers, I think the community manager buzz has been drowned out by commoditization. Though I don’t think the community manager role is going away any time soon, I believe that many of those jobs will be replaced by consolidated roles where there is an obvious cross-section.

    It’s one thing to have knowledge of the social networking space. It’s another to exhibit the ability to lead and cultivate once in that space. There will be less of an emphasis on “social media” savvy and an increasing need for “people” savvy for those in this career, in my opinion.

    Big picture: whether we’re talking about a community manager, a social media manager, a sales person, or a janitor, there will be an increasing requirement for employees to have a voice in the social media space at all to humanize the corporate brand.

  • tamcdonald

    Berni, How did you know I’ve used the janitor as an example of a community manager before community managers where around?

    We are moving into a person to person communication age. The era of broadcast messaging will become less and less effective. Brands that don’t humanize will be losing ground.

  • Haha great minds think alike! Also I’m the daughter of a retired janitor so it’s always top of mind for me. I echo everything your saying here, friend.

  • The concept of a company have someone to also voice the public’s view of issues and branding to the company is one that took awhile to develop but it’s an important development. And now as social media has became a mainstay of business the position of Community Manager has came into it’s own. But as often the case the job has taken time to become defined in a uniform way. Now that seems to be clearing up and that of course will result in some numbers changing to reflect the changing job description. But that’s not any reason to believe that it won’t continue to be a job that’s growth is going to be high for a very long time into the future.

  • Yes, why not. But I prefer a new definition of community, perhaps in the context for healthcare actors. Who is the community of a hospital or a physicans network? How do the medical employees interact with their community? That´s not the same like for brands in consumer markets. The community ist the whole group of stakeholders themselve. So for health care we need a new definition of “what ist community management” for this actors?

  • True “community managers” need to know everything, not just social. They need to be experts in user experience, content creation, audience development, business development and, yes, social promotion. I think you’re correct that the title is in flux and as more editorial organizations own their own social activities, there will be less need for the duties associated with the post in the past. However, at that point, I hope, the real meat of community growth positions can begin to flourish, because there is a lot of work to be done outside of brand awareness.