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Become an Online Community Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become an online community manager. Research the job description, education, and skills to find out how to start a career as an online community manager.

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Should I Become an Online Community Manager?

Online community managers use social media to connect a business or organization with its primary audience. These professionals benefit from earning a bachelor's degree and need online experience and knowledge of relevant software in order to obtain a job in the field. They should have strong communication skills and must be able to build their communities.

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Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Communication or journalism
Experience Online experience and knowledge of relevant software
Key Skills Strong communication (written and verbal) skills, build communities, social media platforms, organized, and photo editing, depending on the industry
Salary (2015) $48,513 (median for all online community managers)

Source: Payscale.com

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Aspiring online community managers aren't necessarily required to follow a specific educational path in order to obtain a job. However, many employers look to hire individuals with at least a bachelor's degree. Majors in communication or journalism suit the needs of the position. Coursework covers media studies, writing, and ethics. Many colleges and universities offer courses in social media and online communications. Some allow students to specialize or major in these fields. Prospective online community managers also benefit from taking courses in information technology and HTML.

Step 2: Develop Social Media Skills

Online community managers must understand the importance of social media and how to utilize it to reach consumers. Employers require professional or personal experience in online publishing. Prospective online community managers should be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, photo sharing sites, blogs, and online media specific to their industry.

Step 3: Understand Software

In order to build or further develop communication platforms for their employers, online community managers must understand software related to social networking. They are required to edit photos, build their own software, and utilize existing programs. An understanding of these technologies is gained through personal experience, formal college education, or during workshops offered by professional or government organizations.

Step 4: Use Written and Verbal Communication

While their platforms are non-traditional, online community managers utilize the same written and verbal communication skills prevalent throughout the marketing and communication industry. They must be able to deliver company messages using correct grammar and spelling, craft content of appropriate length and subject matter, and use hyperlinks to manage information. They also deliver presentations internally or externally to manage branding and reach consumers. Online community managers must be well-spoken, organized, and able to put their thoughts into words.

Step 5: Gain Experience for Career Advancement

As online community managers gain experience in the field, they may enjoy promotional opportunities or new job prospects.

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