Do you need a community manager for your social media?
Managing a business’s social media account is no mean feat. It demands devising and executing a flawless strategy, responding to current trends, and, importantly, building meaningful relationships with customers. Unsurprisingly this breadth of responsibility and skill sets can rarely be managed effectively by just one role.
Most businesses are familiar with the position of social media manager and it is often seen as a catch all for required social media skills. Less commonly thought of is the role of community manager. So what is a community manager, how do they differ from social media manager and do you need one for your business?
What’s a community manager?
A community manager is responsible for creating and nurturing relationships with your customers. They are your ultimate brand ambassadors providing a bridge between company and followers in order to create a core, loyal group of clients.
On social media, community managers typically embody the persona of your company and integrate themselves in the online community, connecting with potential customers and nurturing existing ones. They often deal with those who have not yet heard of your business and help to boost brand awareness.
Another significant part of their role is to ensure that the brand community is comfortable and engaging well with the business and other community members.
A typical day as a community manager could include
- Reaching out to potentially new customers, chatting to them and letting them know about the business.
- Answering questions, chatting to and otherwise engaging with your business’s online community.
- Developing data-based strategies to grow the community and retain existing members.
- Creating a program of online events to keep community members active and involved.
- Occasionally creating content that will resonate with your brand’s community.
- Creating good connections with industry influencers and getting them involved with the brand community.
- Responding to online crises before they become a PR issue.
In essence a community manager is the touchy feely part of your online strategy. The human element that is the binding force behind building a retaining a truly loyal community. A lot of the role’s most important attributes are the most intangible, for example soothing over a Twitter argument before it turns nasty or crafting a post that gets members talking to each other.
Is that different to a social media manager?
In one word, yes.
A social media manager is both more focused on setting up the overarching strategy and more outwardly facing. Ideally a social media manager defines the brand on social media, and all the logistics that go with that.
Social media managers are responsible for:
- Identifying which platforms the brand should be using based on their target audience profile.
- Developing and creating content designed to capture the interest of a target audience.
- Designing an overarching social media strategy to boost engagement and hit marketing targets.
- Monitoring SEO and web traffic metrics.
In short: Social media managers are in control of social media as a marketing channel to push brand material as a one-way communication flow. Their eye is very much on the metrics and strategic success of social media and how this is translating to achieve marketing objectives.
While there can be some crossover in tasks between the two roles, particularly in companies where there is not a community manager, the fundamental focus of the positions is very different.
Why would you need a community manager?
Community managers are the soul of your brand and faced with the terrifying task of creating a community out of nothing, they succeed where it would seem nearly impossible to.
So when should you start the hunt for a community manager?
A long sales cycle
Quick-buy consumer products may benefit from deep customer relationships, but they are nowhere near as essential as they are for services which require a long complex sales cycle. Customers that need to wait months or even years to commit to a brand’s product or services often significant amount of information that needs to be communicated all for a high price. In these cases a community platform is the perfect engagement solution.
Facilitating conversations between customers, delivering relevant information and nurturing relationships helps to make the buying decision faster and more enjoyable for everybody. Community managers can ensure the community is well looked after during this tricky interim period between decision and sale.
Done well this can also lead to upsells or recommendations which garner new connections. It also creates a good space where any frustrations or issues which could otherwise flare up can be dealt with quickly.
Creating genuine relationships with customers
Brand loyalty is one of the most difficult customer qualities to garner, but it is undoubtedly invaluable. Community managers are excellent at creating a close community environment which fosters positivity around your brand.
Community managers also add the much-needed human touch to interactions with customers. Whether this is answering product-based questions, responding to complaints or generating discussion, community managers give your brand the relatability required to form trust and loyalty.
Attract and retain your hard-fought leads
Marketing and sales are the main flag-bearers for bringing in new leads, but what happens when these prospective customers just come to dip their digital toes in the water of your brand? Community managers are there to ensure they are welcomed in and have a fulfilling experience worthy of a return visit.
Nailing the tone
Communication is the key to every successful relationship and nailing the right tone for each situation is a skill every business should have in its wheel house. Community managers have a genuine interest in your customers and, alongside a total mastery of your brand, they can ensure that your business is putting its best foot forward in every interaction.