Daily Archives: February 7, 2013

So What’s a Community Manager, Anyway?


This week in #CMGRClass, we’ve been exploring the difference between community management and social media management, and what kinds of skills are needed for either role. The fact is, there is a distinct difference here that a lot of organizations struggle to see, much to the chagrin of many a social media professional.
To make things more difficult, nobody has a standard definition for each job, and everybody sees the roles a little differently. In practice, a Community Manager may act a bit like a Social Media Manager, and vice versa, depending on the needs of their company. Sometimes the lines are totally blurred, and one person is doing it all. But organizations and social media professionals alike benefit from distinguishing the two roles, and emphasizing where each is most proficient.
So let’s break it down – what does a community manager do that a social media manager doesn’t? How are they alike? How are they different?
The Social Media Manager
Think about this literally, the SM manager takes care of the social media; note the emphasis on media. Rather than focusing on the intricate relationships of the community on the other side of the media, they turn their attention to the platforms themselves. From a strategic perspective, platforms are considered and developed, campaigns are planned and executed, and data is gathered and analyzed to ensure the choices being made are good investments for the organization. Hard goals drive their work, focusing on increasing sales or improving the company image. Social media are business tools to get the job done, so they need a certain level of expertise in the technologies used, as well as the business acumen to succeed.
The Community Manager
Again, the name being fairly self-descriptive, the CMGR is all about the community. The people internal or external to the organization who need support and engagement are the CMGR’s job. Some technical expertise is required, as in order to fully utilize a given technology, a “superuser” mindset is greatly beneficial, if not required. Day-to-day, the community manager creates and distributes content, interacts with the customers/community, provides customer service and support, listens and responds to community members, and uses data metrics to analyze customer satisfaction and community performance and health. Communities are fairly platform agnostic, meaning they can exist and communicate using any number of media, so a community manager is essentially a kind of polyglot. Beyond business and technical skills, however, the CMGR also needs excellent people skills – they need to be able to read people and respond accordingly.
And there you have it, a brief outline of what makes a community manager, versus a social media manager. Again, sometimes these lines are blurred, and definitions vary, but the two roles can be quite distinct. It is important for organizations to understand this, so they can plan, hire, and train appropriately.
Does your organization have each of these positions, or do they blend a little of each into one role?

Community Managers Put the “Community” in Social Media

Many of us have heard the terms Social Media Manager and Community Manger in reference to handling online presence and communities of businesses. But very few of us are clear about the differences in each position. This confusion may be a result of the blurred line of duties for each position. Let’s take a look at what each position includes.



First, Social Media Managers roles are key to some specific roles:

  • they reach out to a wide variety of social media platforms and choose the best ones for their brand
  • they work on Brand Management and promotional campaigns
  • they work on the outer edges of the company to make a presence on social media platforms
  • they are responsible for analyzing metrics and measuring stats
  • usually they are connected to Marketing, PR, and Sales.

The role of the social media manager takes place on the “outer edges” of the business to facilitate an online presence.




Now, a look at Community Manager roles:

  • The voice and face of the brand
  • Connects the community and gets them involved
  • Operates within the company
  • Manages brand by creating a positive experience for community members
  • Focused on flow of information
  • Customer service (by way of getting people to answers) and interaction
  • Shares community concerns and ideas (the voice of the community)

The key to this position is COMMUNITY!  The relationships are nurtured and innovation suggestions are cultivated from those relationship. The CM facilitates the members connection to each other. Building these relationships create trust for the brand and value for the community.

Some of the best advice on this topic that I have read was published by Jenn Pedde on TheCommunityManager.com in her description of Community Manager and the importance of their influence. Pedde stated, “One of the biggest differences between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager is the offline component of the day to day jobs.  A Community Manager should know how to find their influential members on the usual social media tools, but they should also know how to find their influential members offline.” This statement shows the importance of a Community Managers ability to interact with people on many different levels.


Community Manager by kommein

The key to being a good Community Manager lays in a person’s ability to communicate with their audience. Here are some sound words of advice from kommein –  “Online community management is perfect for those of us who have the gift of gab. Our primary job is to communicate. We communicate with our brand and we communicate with our customers and potential customers.” Using our gifts to create the best experience for our community is a great way to be good at what you do and to love what you do. All of that will be reflected in the community members experience.

This brief outline of each position may start to give you a feel for the differences between these two positions. There certainly could be overlap in some of the work that is done by both, but it is important to recognize the differences of each position.

Remember, social media is about RELATIONSHIPS.  Being genuine is a must.

Now that you have heard from me, I would like to hear from you. What do you think? Share you thoughts about the differences of these two positions and enlighten me with your knowledge and passion with Social Media!