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I’ve always been bad at generating ideas for presents. But with the help of Etsy’s gift recommender, which gives you gift ideas based on each of your Facebook friends’ interests, I found a Sarah Palin flask. As odd as that flask sounds, it was the perfect gift. Etsy is all about connecting people with great hand-crafted local art while simultaneously helping small businesses grow. Rather than just being a marketplace, it brands itself as a community of artists, creators, collectors, thinkers, and doers. As such they encourage people to meet up in person by attending workshops, connecting online for learning labs, and joining forum threads to discuss business, crafts, and more. The person in charge of fostering this sense of community between their millions of sellers and buyers is a Community Manager.
A Community Manager fosters a sense of community by building close relationships with, and between, a company or brand’s customers. Basically a Community Manager strives to create a virtual world that all the key players in an industry want to take part in. They do this by synthesizing conversations, facilitating discussion, curating and creating content, and pushing the community to evolve. Community Managers play an important role in involving a large number of people in innovation, collaboration, evangelism, and loyalty for a company or product.
While a typical day for a Community Manager varies, these are some of the tasks you might encounter:
The great news is that demand for this position is continuing to grow. Currently the average yearly salary for a Community Manager is $57,000. With this role you have the opportunity to work for an agency or for a brand. As you grow, you might take on a more senior role or switch between agencies or brands. You could also become a Social Media Manager ($25,000-$70,000), Program Manager (average $113,000), or even Community Director ($33,000-$94,000).
To be a Community Manager you will probably need a bachelor’s degree in journalism, marketing, advertising, business or psychology. In addition you should have great written and verbal communication skills, an understanding of marketing and online culture and trends, and the ability to speak publicly. The cool thing about community management is that there are a few ways you can get experience even before your first gig:
If community management still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
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