2020 was a big year for online communities. As a global pandemic forced many to retreat from their in-person social networks, they turned to online versions of the town square to find connections, friendships, and a place to pass the time in the company of others. Online communities sprung up to accommodate the demand.
Even before to the events of 2020, many niche online communities were thriving under the radar and had begun to garner discussion in the business world. Whether self-organized or supported by a brand, most of these spaces relied on the leadership of community managers to keep them healthy. As online communities become more common in the business world, the role of community manager is evolving from a niche hobby to a bonafide corporate role.
Throughout the next decade, we predict that most organizations—from tiny startups to non-profits to the most recognizable names in business—will employ at least one community manager. As traditional marketing reaches a saturation point, brands are having to radically shift their approach to customers, and they’re turning to community managers to do it. As with any role in its nascence, the professionals who will grow and define this field may not even know it exists yet. We prepared this guide to help the community managers of tomorrow explore this emerging career path.