2010: The Year of the Community Manager

Within the social media ecosystem, the unheralded stars are the community managers who toil away behind the scenes.

These are the people who spend countless hours on the Web (seemingly 24/7), engaging with customers, writing blog posts and leaving comments, tweeting, updating Facebook, uploading videos, and answering questions from the media/bloggers, customers, partners and investors.

While the “A-List” social media bloggers capture the spotlight, community managers are walking the walk as opposed to just talking the talk. They’re the ones in the trenches doing the blocking and tackling while others are getting the glory for scoring touchdowns.

That said, I think 2010 is going to be the year of the community manager.

As more companies start to embrace social media as a key part of their communications, marketing and sales strategies, they are going to realize that community managers play a crucial role. It’s a job that combines Web expertise with the ability to filter and generate lots of content, customer service, marketing, business development and media/public relations.

It’s a job that will require people with enthusiasm, expertise and experience. As a result, community managers are going to migrate from being  junior employee who are knowledgeable about social media to someone who has a broad set of skills and experience. For companies, this means it will be more of a challenge to find good people, and the need to pay them accordingly.

Within the corporate hierarchy, community managers will start to occupy more seats at the strategic table because they’ll have as good a handle on what’s happening within the business landscape as anyone within the organization.

This will give them a combination of strategic insight and a tactical role, highlighting their growing importance.