Social Hiring Strategy

Social Media vs. Community Manager

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The last 15 years have seen an amazing trend building where Social Media Marketing has become the de-facto marketing tool of our generation. Now we have a new kid on the block, called Community Manager. But wait, is it really new, and how does it impact my hiring strategy?

Social Hiring Strategy


From the 90s to today

Community managers have been around since the early 90’s at least. They might not have been called Community Managers,, they might not have belonged to a brand or company, but they were there.  What changed? The role of community in brand marketing is expanding and getting more formalized and trendy as companies look for new ways to engage with their prospective and current customers.

That brings a new challenge in itself.

15 years ago, when we started hiring social media managers, the role was pretty clear cut, compared to the rest of the marketing field. We were looking for people with skills on these very specific new platforms. Then, it was MySpace and Facebook and slowly we moved into Twitter and LinkedIn. Now it’s such a vast playing field, that you could never hire based on individual platforms, listing all the social channels you want covered. Now we are looking for community managers and social media managers but they are not the same. It can get really tricky but i does not have to be.

Hiring for the right role

I recently set out to hire my first Community Manager to join my team. When I reached out to my recruitment team, they just gave me the templated social media manager job description and hiring criteria expecting that this will do it. When I pushed back, they were surprised. I took some time to clearly define what I need in a Community Manager, then  I went further and did the same exercise for the SoMe Manager. I also defined what the requirements and responsibilities should look like from a hiring perspective. You don’t have to agree with me, but I wanted to share in case you are facing similar challenges.

3 Golden Questions

Ultimately it comes down to three little questions*. To define the role you are hiring for, ask yourself these things:

Question SoMe Answer CMGR Answer
Who will this hire be talking to? To the Public Customers and Prospects who are tied to your brand
What is the return on investment I expect from this role? Examining the effectiveness of the messages sent to the audience. Depends on the purpose of the Community:

  • Call Deflection
  • Growth in SOV
  • Content sharing
What does success look like for this role?
  • Number of followers
  • Number of Average Engagement per post
  • Reputation Score
  • Share of Voice (SOV)
  • Traffic created to website
Community Health:

  • Visitors/ Logins/ Registration
  • Participating/Contributing/ Lurkers

If you can answer these questions you will know clearly if you need a social media manager or a community manager. Going from your learnings above, these might be the responsibilities and qualifications you could be looking for:

Social Media Manager:


  • Listening: monitor and respond to customer service or reputation issues
  • Influencing: Sharing valuable content
  • Networking: Associating the brand with influential individuals on social
  • Selling: generating leads on social
  • Measuring sentiment on social
  • Creating and scheduling content as needed


  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising or related field.
  • X years of social media marketing experience.
  • Thorough understanding of social media publishing tools and editorial needs.
  • Communication and interpersonal skills for extensive interaction with internal departments and social media agency.
  • Project management skills to schedule and manage multiple concurrent campaigns.
  • Experience using <add name of scheduling and analytics tool>.

Community Manager:


  • Adding and removing members
  • Welcoming new members
  • Establishing Community culture
  • Moderating posts
  • Providing customer support
  • Gathering feedback and testimonials
  • Introducing members and networking
  • Hosting events
  • Enforcing guidelines and policies


  • Understanding the use and purpose of social media and online communities
  • Communication and interpersonal skills for extensive interaction with internal departments, external community members,  and social media agency.
  • Project management skills to schedule and manage multiple concurrent campaigns.
  • Passion to help peers and customers
  • Great networking skills to create a team of volunteers and moderators for your community

Of course due to resource restrictions you might find yourself in the position that you need a hybrid role filled, so who should you hire. Ultimately you will have to make that decision, just be aware what responsibilities you need and choose the title of the role according to that. That way you can get the right applicants for your needs.

For an in-depth analysis on skills and personality traits for each role, take a look at this presentation deck from PubCon SFIMA 2017 or watch the recording.


*Special thanks to Suzi Nelson at Digital Marketer for writing such a compelling story with examples of what is wrong in the hiring world for Social and Community role.



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