Career Path for Community and Social Media Managers in Gaming

I recall that one of the reasons for me quitting one of my jobs was a lack of a career path for a social media and community management specialist. There were of course plenty of other factors, but this was probably the biggest one. Thinking of it, it’s not a huge surprise, really. The job of a community manager is a pretty new thing in the industry and companies have only started generally adapting it a few years ago. This means that the role is not firmly established yet and that people may face similar struggles as I did with my ambition back then.

Because of this, I came up with a detailed plan of seniority for the role. Sure, I created it sometime after leaving the company and published it in the February instalment of my LinkedIn newsletter but this time I want it to become more than a selfish afterthought as I’d like it to be an open resource for people who may face the same issues as I did. Or maybe their managers or HR want to have some sort of template to adapt to their use. Feel free to do so. I just wanna help with establishing standards for the role, that’s all.

I’d also like to address that the role that I refer to in this piece combines both the roles of a social media and a community management specialist. This is done purposefully, as these roles are often combined in the industry and community managers need to do tasks from both specialities and sometimes from other ones as well – thus I mentioned paid campaigns, project management and a few other things that could raise a brow when we talk about a more conventional approach to the role. This may of course differ and you are free to adapt everything to your and your studio’s needs.

Junior – 0-2 years of experience

You can’t expect an awful lot from a junior. After all, juniors can’t be expected to carry the burden of creating communication strategies, doing high-level management and writing perfect copy each and every time. Here’s what they can realistically be expected to do:

  • Create social media content (usually copy).
  • Gather, process and forward insight from social media analytics and comments.
  • Moderate comments and talk with followers in comment sections and DMs.
  • Plan organic social media content according to instructions set by others.
  • Learn to hone their writing skills, feel what to write and plan out social media content, set up ads, delegate a job to be done to graphic designers and so on.

Juniors should support their mids and seniors in their daily activities, having some independence. The work of a junior should be tied to what their more experienced colleagues do at work. Treat your juniors as help and prospects for the future. Also, spend time with them, teach them proper behaviours and allow them to experiment. Encourage them to ask questions. They need to learn as much as possible and, as this is a people-oriented role, there will probably be a ton of unexpected and one-time-only occurrences. Be patient and nurture them. Allow them to talk to people – to fans and to other employees, as they need to broaden their perspective and develop their communication skills.

Mid – 2-5 years of experience

The person in a regular position should be expected to do stuff specified in the junior’s job description. Aside from that, the skills a mid should possess are:

  • Ability to write good copy.
  • Having already developed some sort of know-how.
  • Being able to provide input for people creating a communication strategy.
  • Being acquainted with a number of ad platforms.
  • Manage ad budgets.
  • Entirely understanding the placement of social media communications in the company and being aware of what its purpose is in the scope of the company.
  • Being able to cooperate with graphic and motion designers, while also having at least some theoretical knowledge of graphic design and composition; the ability to make mockups for internal use.

A mid should be a “workhorse” of your team, responsible for most operations. However, according to a Polish proverb, the appetite keeps on increasing when one eats, so keep in mind that the mid’s opinion should be taken into consideration when dealing with higher-level topics, such as working on communication strategy.

Senior – 5+ years of experience

Being a senior should of course entail everything that a mid is able to do, while also these things:

  • Ability to plan high-level communication strategy in SoMe.
  • Ability to manage all of the SoMe processes when it’s BAU (business as usual) and to initiate projects (such as a, say, a competition conducted in SoMe channels).
  • Knowledge about high and low-level importance and impact of SoMe on business.
  • Knowledge of installing pixels and other technicalities.
  • Training skills.
  • Personal skills related to contacting your clients (or pseudo-clients if you are an in-house) once in a while.

Seniors often can and will strive to either work fully independently from others or will try to partly manage others. If it works out for everyone, I’d say let them do that, as seniors probably have enough experience to make your team kinda manage itself. This however may spiral out of control, so you better have an eye on that. It is also worthwhile to use seniors’ knowledge, know-how and skill in order to make them teach mids and juniors.

Lead – at least with a senior’s experience

A lead should be able to do everything a senior does, plus these things:

  • Represent the team within and possibly outside of the company.
  • Assign tasks to others.
  • Nurture the growth of other team members.
  • Hire and let people go, including conducting job interviews, screening candidates and conducting exit talks.
  • Possibly other things, it really depends on what authority the lead has.

Middle and upper management, team composition and other stuff

I think that such a career path is fitting for a lot of companies that are dedicated to having entire social media teams. When your company’s small, you can stick to a single SoMe specialist (preferably with a graphic/motion designer), or even a marketing generalist, but the bigger you grow and the more products you have, the more hands-on deck you will need. I also decided to not include any roles past lower management (the lead position), as each company is structured differently and there’s no single way of organising the middle and upper management. Even if there are some trends regarding that matter, they are not uniform across the industry and it’d be wishful thinking to imagine that the structure of your studio’s decision-makers will diametrically change because you’ve decided to hire a community manager. However, CMs and SMs are most often a part of a marketing team, a PR team or a customer service team or function as independent specialists who answer directly to a member of the board.

This is an odd topic, as it wasn’t very complex, but at the same time, it took me more than 8 months to figure all of this stuff out and to put it in words. I believe that having the career path figured out may be a good incentive for an employee to strive to do better. There are many hurdles and obstacles in the everyday work of a CM/SM and it’d be nice to know that there are things that one will possibly achieve over time – not only for the sake of their employer but also for themself. 

I hope that you found this article useful. Will you employ the displayed career path, at least partly, in your company? Share your thoughts in the comments. If you’d like to hire me, DM me on LinkedIn or pop a message over to Have a wonderful day, cheers!

And sorry for no images, they seemed kinda redundant in this article.



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