Community manager: The new social media companion

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Community manager: The new social media companion

If you’ve been on the job hunt in the digital marketing field lately, you may have noticed a growing trend in the call for “community managers.” As broad as the title may seem, the role is exactly what it says: managing the online presence of an organization’s or company’s community.

Most people would think, “But isn’t that what a social media manager already does?” Well, yes—partly. While that is true, let’s think of the community manager as a more organic version of the social media manager.

The best brand ambassador is an individual, not a company.

In the simplest terms, social media managers post as their brand or organization, while community managers post as themselves.

A community manager is very much like a brand ambassador, engaging and interacting with the online community on the front lines. This can entail building positive relationships, directly interacting with customers and a doing a fair amount of “social listening”—documenting the sentiment of conversations around the brand/product, and ultimately, implementing a strategic conversational agenda.

Tweet from USGBC social media

Advocating for my brand as a person, in my city.

The community management role has grown in importance as social media dialogue and online communities—as resources—become the norm. What one employee or a very small team could once do full-time now requires more hands—most of all, more “ears.” If the social media lead is responsible for output strategy, then the community manager is largely responsible for monitoring and acknowledging the audience’s response, while relaying key insights to the social media marketing team at large.

A community manager is the most important brand ambassador for an organization. According to Everyone Social, 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family and colleagues over other forms of marketing. It gets better: Employees have five times more reach than corporate accounts, and social followers of your employees are seven times more likely to convert. This data is essential in making the case for a community management role on your social strategy team.

Deploying active listening and person-to-person connections.

At any moment in time, you will find me on any number of my personal platforms, advocating for USGBC‘s mission and engaging with partners, members and enthusiasts. However, I am subtle in my actions, and this is the key. It is in the subtleties of giving praise or thanks, supporting a particular campaign or even crafting some of my own thought leadership that I am able to truly connect with people in my industry, in a very real way.

“For a community manager role, skills like being able to interact with people online and understand how customer trust works is crucial,” says Sprout Social.” They’re tasked with growing a community and nurturing it, rather than focused on pushing for sales growth. Being able to present themselves authentically online is a core component of success.”

Tweet from USGBC social media

Sharing some of our member content with a casual voice.

Naturally, a community manager gets a bit more freedom, as they get to be themselves, versus acquiring the voice of the brand, as a social media manager would.

Sprout adds, “In a social media manager job description, it’s common to see skill requirements like being able to set goals, understand analytics…They need to craft a post to push a product in one minute while responding to a service request in the next one.”

Smaller teams and communities may have one person feasibly doing both of these jobs; however, as a brand’s presence grows (which is the whole idea), the ability to effectively perform all the aspects of both positions can eventually become ineffective. No one can be two places at once, especially at the speed of Twitter, so I predict this role and its responsibilities will continue find priority on marketing agendas globally.

Learn more about social listening and engagement