Wanted: NFT Community Managers
Strategy & Innovation | Engagement & Growth | Metrics, Analysis and Reporting
The strategic importance of community managers for platform establishment and growth is well documented. As I wrote back in March, community/ ecosystem managers serve a key role in launching and sustaining positive network effects.1 This entails two core functions. One is to activate network effects on the demand side of the platform. This is a critical function that supports the acquisition, activation, and retention of customers. The other is to activate network effects on the supply side of the platform, which unlocks value third-party contributors that provide the content or functionality for the platform.
NFT platforms present a new source of demand for professional community managers. Since the start of 2021, participants have traded over 10 billion USD in non-fungible tokens (NFTs).2 This is driving a surge in growth, with platforms focused on domains such as art, music, entertainment, consumer products, fashion, and others, are looking for ways to engage with the market.
Each of these platforms, in turn, is now looking to build community teams. This is true for the transaction-based platforms that cut across art, sports, music such as OpenSea. It is also true for NFT platforms that focus on specific verticals, such as art (SuperRare); football (Sorare) and RCRDSHP (music). NFT community roles are a global phenomenon. There are community manager roles open in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Korea, Singapore and Australia.
The rapid growth of “web3” NFT platforms opens interesting questions. What are the common requirements for these community roles? Are the talent requirements different from the “web2” platforms we have come to know over the past decade? Or, will these new platforms require different skills and experience?
I’ve collected a sample of ten recent job postings to explore what specific capabilities are being sought.
Naturally, each role has its specific requirements. However, the roles have important elements in common. They fall into three broad categories: Strategy and Innovation, Engagement and Growth and last but not least Metrics, Analysis and Reporting.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Strategy and Innovation
Both strategy formulation and innovation are important expectations for NFT community roles, especially when it comes to more senior positions. For example, a position open at DraftKings for a Senior Community Manager - NFT Marketplace, seeks someone who can “guide the community development strategy, including oversight and operation of community governance initiative” as well as “develop strategies utilizing DK Loyalty Programs within the community.” Likewise, Immutable, an Australian-based NFT platform, seeks a Head of Community who can “Determine the community growth strategy that will turn Immutable X’s users into raving fans and all of the users of our partner communities.”
Innovation is also often considered an important part of the community job role. Take, for example, the Head of Community position posted by NBA Top Shot, the NFT platform pioneered by Dapper Labs. This role calls for candidates who can “Establish industry best practices for community management while innovating, experimenting, and pushing boundaries as is the Dapper Labs culture.” This makes sense, NFT platforms are new, with few established roadmaps determining success. NFT platforms must constantly experiment and test new ways to engage and grow.
As the interface between the platform and the community, the community leader has become a key player in formulating and realizing NFT platform strategy and innovation.
Engagement and Growth
NFT platforms rely on community building to expand their user base and drive positive reinforcing network effects. There are several ways these objectives can be realized. One is active listening. Because they are on the front lines of engagement with users, community leaders and the organizations they run are well-positioned to capture insights from users. For example, it is not surprising to see that the Community Manager role sought by Sorare calls out “Listening and collecting community feedback and reporting it to the product team to help improve our game.”
Another is to grow a community by leveraging major social platforms. All the roles in the sample above expect community leaders to build an audience and users by growing engagement on Twitter, Discord, Reddit, FaceBook, Instagram and Telegram. For example, the job description published by Binance for Game Publishing & Community Development Director states that successful candidate must:
Collaborate on platform-specific global strategies to increase the Binance NFT Games presence across Discord, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Twitch, YT, Snapchat as well as any emerging social media sites that allow us to continuously evolve and increases followers and drives engagement.
Build exposure across key social channels by leveraging relationships with cross-functional teams to further the reach and fame of our content.
These objectives cannot be achieved through short bursts of activity or one-off campaigns. Instead, they must be achieved through establishing a cadence that syncs with the community they are seeking to nurture. This will likely look different for different verticals. The patterns established for a sports community will be different for a music community or an art community.
Whatever the particulars of a given vertical, consistency is important. This comes through in the job postings from the more established and sophisticated NFT platforms. For example, NBA Top Shot states the Head of Community must “Establish and own the day-to-day rhythm of the NBA Top Shot community, building harmony across full time team members and mods as well as the rest of the Top Shot organization.”
The reality of course is that this harmony is not always easy to achieve. Chat in Discord can be a ruckus. Community members often demand functionality that isn’t on a platform’s technology roadmap and complain bitterly then they don’t get their way. NFTs, whether they are delivered by pack drops or auctions, can be delayed causing blowback from the community. Also, not all community members get behind the health and growth of the platform. More than a few come only to try to flip their way to riches. Others provoke and sow dissent.
Although none of the job postings examined for this article mention it, diplomacy, patience, and the ability to diffuse conflict are critical. NFT community leaders must be able to assuage competing interests and act quickly and decisively to ban those who violate community policy.
Metrics, Analysis and Reporting
All the job posts examined in this sample expect community managers to be data-driven. They expect these roles to be filled with talent that can “Utilize an in-depth understanding of metrics in order to analyze and report on trends, issues, and bugs,” as stated in the position for Lead, Ecosystem, NFT posted by Coinbase.
They expect community managers to establish and report KPI’s around response times and other key metrics. But data dumps are, of course, to be avoided. The community team must establish processes and invest in analysis that yields reporting that is insightful and concise. For example, messaging platforms like Discord have extensive analytic capabilities but are only useful if the data is pulled, analyzed, and integrated into daily or weekly reports.
As indicated in many of the job posts, communications must flow in several directions. As OpenSea explains, the Community Manager it is seeking must “Synthesize insights from community interactions and surface critical issues to the engineering team.” In addition to communication serving internal departments, the sample also highlights the importance of reporting back to the community. For example, the same OpenSea job post states the Community Manager should “Preemptively protect buyers from fakes and responding to reports.”
In sort, community managers are expected to build reports on key topics and issues surfaced through community engagement and deliver these in a timely way to key internal and external stakeholders.
Those familiar with community roles at platform companies will not find these job requirements entirely new. Elements of these capabilities have been sought after by web2 platforms. However, the degree of focus on community does appear to be new. NFT platforms are building community capabilities to drive engagement and growth and are actively hunting for the right talent to lead these efforts.