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21st Apr 2021

What a video game community manager does and how you can become one

All of the advice, job responsibilities, required skills, and more that you need to find out if being a community manager in games is the career path for you.

From indie titles right the way up to AAA blockbusters, where there’s an active video game community, there needs to be a community manager to go along with it. These talented individuals work to bridge the gap between a game’s players and developers by taking feedback, communicating updates, and fostering a community that people want to be a part of. It’s a popular job role in the gaming industry, so we’re here to tell you what a community manager does and how you can become one.

Class Summary: What Does a Video Game Community Manager Do?

To put it simply, community managers are the player-facing component of a game studio. The job is often multi-faceted, with responsibilities ranging from moderating a game’s community to ensure it’s a vibrant and active place to be, to—especially in smaller studios—taking on more marketing-focused duties like managing social media channels and conducting PR activities. Ultimately, the role comes down to building a community of players, making it an enjoyable place to be, and acting as the conduit between the community and the developers.

Your Primary Quest

A community manager has a few different areas of focus. Generally speaking, the smaller the studio, the broader this job will be, so your experiences may vary depending on where you work.

Something that is present in nearly all community management jobs is, you guessed it, managing the company’s community. But what does that actually mean? Well, your players want to feel connected to the game they’re playing, as well as the team behind it. They want the option to meet other players, discuss the game, suggest updates, air grievances, feel part of something — they want a community.

A community manager may go about meeting this need in different ways, but Discord is certainly a common medium to achieve all of the above, as are dedicated game forums.

However, your Discord server won’t run itself. It’ll be on you to make it an enjoyable place to be, from moderating it to be free of nasty characters to community-focused initiatives like game nights, fun events like costume competitions, or anything else that brings players closer to the in-game world.

You’ll also be monitoring community sentiment. If an update that the devs push receives predominantly negative feedback from the community, this is important to highlight to them. It might be that the update becomes more-liked over time, but failure to listen to the community can kill a game. A good community manager will keep their team abreast of how the players really feel. This could be through conversations on Discord, social listening, or moderating the forums; the channel’s not important, but understanding community sentiment is.

The Skill Tree

Junior

  • Gaming knowledge
  • Empathy
  • Written communication
  • Digital native
  • Social media platforms
  • Content creation

Intermediate

  • Data analysis
  • Marketing strategy
  • Digital marketing

Senior

  • Team management
  • Project management

Community management has lots of parallels with social media management, as you can see from some of the key skills required. Some jobs in the field require the candidate to also be the primary social media manager, so knowledge of the key platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Discord, Reddit, Facebook) is really crucial.

Even if you’re not working as the primary social media manager, though, you’ll still want to have a basic grounding on these platforms for the purpose of listening to feedback and running community events.

Another mission you might have as a community manager is to grow the number of active players in your game. In this case, you might wear some paid marketing hats, where you’ll be creating campaigns across digital channels. If this is new to you, then don’t panic: lots of the skills you use in community management also carry across to paid marketing, such as copywriting and data reporting.

Player Profile

If you like the sound of making an online community the best it can be, and reckon you have (or can learn) the relevant skills, then it's time to start preparing for that career and building your player profile.

Don't skip the tutorial!

Since community management is so closely tied to marketing, the most beneficial degree types to hold when job searching in this area are marketing/communication qualifications. Having a degree in this field can help you find that first job and get your foot in the door, but it’s not the only way in.

Remember, creating content and managing a community play a big role in this career path — both of which are skills you can build outside of education!

In fact, when Twitch streamers come to us and ask where their skills could fit in another job role, we often recommend community management. A Twitch streamer is someone who cultivates a community, keeps them engaged with content, and regularly interacts with them. Sound familiar? It’s a lot like community management!

Let’s turn this into practical advice for you. If you’re job seeking with a relevant degree, your search will be easier, but we know that it’s not the right path for everyone.

In these cases, we’d recommend looking into the basics of working with communities and producing content. There are online courses that can help you here, and countless videos on YouTube that can get you up to speed with popular content creation software like the Adobe Suite.

We’ll speak about how you can showcase this to a potential employer a bit later in the article.

Do your dailies

More than most sectors, community management requires you to have a very thorough grasp of the gaming world. From new releases, to industry events, to trending memes or topics; you need to have your finger on the gaming scene’s pulse so you can best serve your community.

If you’re considering a career in community management, we’d recommend keeping updated on relevant subreddits and Twitter accounts. Understanding the industry as a whole will help you do the most authentic job possible. The gaming community loves a well-timed, topical joke or meme, but will be quick to call out those that lack authenticity.

Clearing up myths

Most professions have some myths or misconceptions around them, and the same is true of community management.

The most common we hear is that it’s an ‘easy’ job; that community managers spend most of their time talking to people who play their games and posting arbitrarily on socials. In reality, the opposite is true.

Community management is an important part of a company’s marketing and communications team, and requires lots of planning, strategizing, and data analysis. None of the social posts that do well will have been done on a whim, nor can a development studio make major updates to a game based on abstract, uninformed information. Instead, it’s the community managers taking the time to make sure everything the studio does—from social posts to major game updates—has statistics and reasoning to back it up.

And if something is negatively received by a game’s audience, then unfortunately it’s going to be the community manager going in there to resolve the situation, which certainly doesn’t fall into the category of an ‘easy’ job.

With all that said, it’s important to recognize that this is a role that requires critical-thinking and the ability to communicate well — even when faced with angry fans.

Loadout Tips

It's dangerous to go alone and unprepared, so be sure you have the right equipment to succeed in your new community management career. Start off with a strong resume and cover letter. Make sure you are polishing and fine-tuning these for each job application. Trust us, this stands out.

Now, we mentioned earlier in the article that we’d help you with how you can present your skills in this area if you don’t have a formal education. Each of the following will directly showcase community management skills:

  • Streaming on Twitch
  • Moderating a Discord server or making your own
  • Moderating a subreddit
  • Running your own social media page (memes, game updates, industry news, etc)
  • Completing courses on digital content creation tools (Photoshop, After Effects, etc)

These are five things that could suit you if you’re looking to build community management experience. You can also think about if there’s anything outside of the gaming community that you could do. Does your school have any societies or committees that have social media pages? If so, running these could give you valuable knowledge and experience to list on your resume.

It’s certainly not essential to do any of the above to find a career in this field, but it can be a good way to standout from the crowd and showcase your ability in a tangible way.

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There you have it: a deep-dive into community management, what it entails, and what you can do to increase your chance of landing a position in the field.

If this sounds like your ideal career, then why hesitate? Take a look at all the video game community management jobs currently open on Hitmarker here.

Good luck with your search — we're here to help however we can.

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