How much do online community managers earn?

Rebecca Weeks Watson · November 4, 2009 · Short URL:

Survey results reveal salaries, roles and satisfaction levels of social media managers

 Have you ever wondered what level salary you should pay your social media marketing employee? Or maybe you're curious what you could earn as a community manager within a large corporation?

This month, Forum One Networks, an events and research consulting firm, revealed results from its “Online Community and Social Media Compensation Survey.”

Initiated in July 2009, the purpose of the study was to gather information about the compensation of social media and online community executives, as well as insight into team structures.

Survey participants represented a comprehensive sampling of organizations involved in building online communities, including software companies, large community web sites, niche community sites, platform providers, media and entertainment companies, retail and independent consultants. A sample of the 300+ organizations that participated includes Autodesk, Avid, Best Buy, Consumer Reports, Electronic Arts, hi5, IBM, Nokia, Quest Software, and Sony Online Entertainment.

Having read the entire report, I’ve summarized several key findings I believe will interest you:

The gap between the average male and female salaries widened, with male respondents averaging $86,644 (up from $85,423 in ’08) and females averaging $75,624 (down from $77,319 in ’08).

The average salary of the U.S.-based research participants was $84k. The majority of respondents reported a salary increase in 2009. The average annual salary in 2009 was $80k among people based in Canada, and $85k in the UK.

Several respondents indicated they felt as though they were being inadequately compensated because of lack of data available regarding community and social media salaries, as well as lack of understanding of community and social media ROI relative to their organization’s activities.

Roles and responsibilities are still being defined and vary tremendously from company to company.

Average overall job satisfaction was down by a fraction, from 4.2 (out of 5) in 2008 to 4.1 (out of 5) in 2009.

Almost 49% of respondents indicated their Community teams reside in the Marketing and Community departments. “No formal structure” and “Throughout the company” were also popular responses.

Approximately three quarters of the respondents (73%) said that their job duties were not only comprised of working within the online community.

Most of the respondents work 41-50 hours per week, and 26% work over 50 hours per week.

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