It's been four years now since I added Community Manager to my various hats. Today, I see the profession disappearing almost as fast as it appeared.
Social networking is a tool, not a job.
When I started as a community manager in 2012, I quickly understood that my employers had felt the digital trend and the advantages of digital communication. However, the tool was still new and being young seemed to be the only qualification needed for the job.
Today, our parents, and even our grandparents are on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram and Snapchat, for the more adventurous. As the community manager's activity develops, we are becoming aware of two problems:
A hammer can be used for a variety of purposes, but you can't build a lasting career on its use. Social networks are tools and a tool is not a job.
Social networks are used to manage one's brand image, improve customer service, advertise and even conduct competitive intelligence. These are very different jobs and employing one person to perform all these functions simultaneously is probably not a viable strategy.
My whole generation is qualified for this job.
Any young person with a smartphone and a business school education could legitimately claim the position of community manager.
Community management has gradually become a simple task, delegated to a trainee or student, when it is simply a matter of animating social network accounts.
Technological developments will make Community Managers disappear
The main thing that can be said against my point of view is the importance of the Human. In community management, this is mainly expressed through interaction with the community, to respond to comments, questions, and possible attacks.
However, more and more companies are making use of chatbots, and these are getting better every day. Conversationality will not remain for long the added value of the human community manager.
The automation and scheduling of publishing on social networks is increasing, thanks to a multitude of tools (IFTTT, Buffer, Hootsuit etc...), and yet, publishing represents a large part of the Community Manager's job.
Community management is a skill:
I gradually noticed that community management was no longer a cap, but rather a string to my bow. My clients have increased their demands. They say they're looking for a "Community Manager"But ask for someone who can create or refresh their website, redesign their logo, write blog posts, respond to messages, create visuals, and even shoot videos. I've seen some Community Managers try to adapt and provide all these services at the same time.
It is clear that they will never be able to compete with communication experts, marketers, designers and web developers at the same time. All of them have a real added value, and are able to manage multiple social network accounts.
I can only encourage those who say to themselves... Community Manager to expand their areas of expertise if they haven't already done so. In 2013 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne said that 47% of jobs in the United States had a high probability of being automated in the coming years.
The dynamics of digital transformation are accelerating, and the job of Community Manager is a strong symbol of this, a job that is both new and already threatened by technological developments.