Monthly Archives: October 2013

Learning from Community Manager Tim McDonald

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim McDonald, former community manager and now currently Director of Community at Huffington Post. Questions that I asked Tim corresponded with the topics that we have been studying this semester. Topics ranged from: differences between social media manager and community manager, search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and metrics & analytics.

Tim’s Comparison of Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager

During the interview with Tim

It was very interesting to get Tim’s take on the differences. We have learned thus far that a social media manager is more focused on the brand, whereas a community focuses more on relationships and the community. He refers to a social media manager as a “social media marketer”. An excellent quote by Tim is as follows: “, “Social media marketing to me is more of a bulldozer- you are pushing information out. Community management is about being a magnet and attracting people and drawing them in.” This was a great takeaway from the interview and I felt as if it was a great yet simple way to explain the differences.


It was interesting to see that in such a large organization like Huffington Post, they have people that are solely dedicated to SEO. He states that even though that are people that are simply focused on SEO, it’s important to at least have an understanding and an awareness of it when working on Huffington Post. At Huffington Post, he doesn’t have to implement it, but he has to have an awareness of it. It might be different at a smaller company, where you don’t have particular people delegated for this particular thing. You may in fact have to be the implementor at a smaller company. It reminds me of an IT manager. You do not have to be extremely technical, but you should at least have an understanding of the concepts and processes.


Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 3.21.50 PM




When it comes to blogging, Huffington Post is practically one big blog, so obviously, blogging is extremely important to them. Tim states that there is a huge emphasis on blogging there, but he also emphasizes that personal blogging is extremely important and allows your to establish your brand. There wasn’t too much to say, other than blogging is extremely beneficial and important to not only the company, but to you. Seeing how successful Huffington Post is when it’s practically a blog goes to show how important and beneficial blogs really are.

Metrics & Analytics

This was an interesting topic during the interview, since Tim stated that they are very fortunate and actually have people that build tools right at Huffington Post to monitor trends. So far, we have learned different kinda of metrics, such as audience metrics, engagement metrics, social listening & monitoring, customer service, demographics, etc. Some examples of the kinds of metrics that are studied at Huffington Post are: when posts are being shared, what the engagement will be on the post (how many re-tweets, replies, clicks), and  how many active registered users month after month and week after week. While there are many more, those are the few that he touched upon. One of my favorite quotes throughout the entire interview was when he was talking about metrics & analytics. He stated, “We need to stop looking at the big numbers, and start looking at the little numbers that create big results.”


It was really great to get a community manager’s perspective on the topics that we have discussed so far this semester. It was great to get a real-world example of the importance of these topics as well. Tim provided great insight and allowed me to learn a great deal not only about Huffington Post, but about the role that a community manager plays. Lastly, when speaking about a community manager, Tim states, “We are the experts of nothing, yet we know the experts of everything.”

The entire video can be viewed here: Interview with Community Manager Tim McDonald

Looking Like a Community Manager

Last week, our class had the opportunity to do a Google Hangout Panel with Morgan Johnston from JetBlue, David Yarus from MRY, and Nick Cicero from LiveFyre. Although the entire panel discussion was fantastic, one part in particular stuck with me.

David Yarus gave a great spiel at the end of the panel about what steps to take before applying for a community manager position, and although I think some should be taken with a grain of salt, they are great slices of advice.


“If you say you’re into social, how are you using social?” – David

If you’re an aspiring community manager, you should already be showing that you want to do it with your spare time. Are you participating in communities? Do you talk to people on a regular basis? With your own social media profiles, make sure you are “dressing for the job you want” by acting like a community manager, even though you aren’t one.


“Lock them down, make sure you’re polished, make sure you’re saying the right things and not saying the wrong things.” – David

Developing a personal brand is common on the Internet, and most web-based professionals have their Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and other social media accounts put together. This not only means making them look nice, such as having clear and professional headshot, but also being mature and sensible on high visibility platforms like Twitter.


“Make it rain connections.” – David

Where do you want to work? Who do you want to work for? Are those companies or people on Twitter? If the answer is yes, follow them. Read what they have to say, retweet them, and once they take notice of you, talk to them and start building a relationship. Showing that you have an ability to connect online makes it easier to demonstrate your skills as a community manager, especially if you’ve proven you can build your reputation to having a conversation with the company’s CEO from scratch.

Another tip David has was to do anything to get 500+ connections on Linkedin. While I think there’s some truth to this, I think it’s essential for people to understand that your connections should be genuine. If you’re in college, it’ll likely take a while to build 500+ professional connections. Check out this article for what I think is a great guide to connecting on Linkedin.


“Maneuver around the people who are … doing the same things, going to the same career fairs, applying for the same jobs … ” – David

Are you trying to talk to someone on Twitter but they won’t respond? Try talking to someone else. Did your blog post not get any engagement? Write a different one. The only way to get out of the rat race is to separate yourself from the pack. Just do something different to get noticed while pushing your professional career ahead. As David puts it: we are in the Matrix. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you’ll be able to unplug, get out there, and make a difference with employers.

What do you think of David’s advice? Is it spot on? Is it practical?


Why Community Managers need analytics (even if they think they don’t)

Community Manager and Analytics

Although we know that measuring ROI is important, not everyone is convinced. Take a look at some quotes from some articles from the past year or so:

“If you simply must crunch some numbers, there are a few data points you can look at …  But the bottom line remains: don’t get too hung up on the numbers.”

Social Media ROI: It Doesn’t Really Matter (Really!), July 2012

“We’ll never be able to quantify every lead, every brand-awareness lightbulb moment, everything social does for us.”

Why Social Media can’t be measured – and why that’s OK, November 2012

” … you have this previously unmeasured darknet that’s delivering 56.5 percent of people to individual stories. This is not a niche phenomenon! It’s more than 2.5x Facebook’s impact on the site. “

Dark Social: We Have The Whole History of the Web Wrong, October 2012

If I were an aspiring community manager, what I would I take away from these articles is:

  • Tracking analytics is silly. You don’t need to do that!
  • What we can measure (data) is insignificant compared to what we can’t measure (“relationships”)
  • If you care about analytics (which you shouldn’t), you must be an unfeeling robot

But, after learning how many different ways there are to approach analytics (just take a look at this list – and this barely scratches the surface), not using analytics seems lazy. So is it?


Perhaps analytics seem silly in the short term. It’s hard to see patterns and rhythms in the community in the first weeks or even months.

Over time, however, analytics can tell you some important things. While you shouldn’t get “hung up” on the numbers on the day-to-day, they should play a big part in how you create strategy.

If you are tracking analytics but not getting much from them, perhaps it’s time to take a look and see if the analytics are the right one for your strategy.


Not tracking anything because you can’t track everything is like eating an extremely unhealthy diet because you’re predisposed to heart disease. You’re probably going to die from the disease, so why try?

Maybe that’s morbid, but the point remains: because you can’t control one factor doesn’t mean it’s pointless to control what you can. If that were true, there wouldn’t be community managers.

Although community growth may happen through so-called “dark” channels, it’s foolish not to get as much as you can from blogs, social, website, and email channels. Optimizing and experimentation with controlled channels is what makes the job so challenging and fun.


Paying attention to analytics and data does not make you a robot – it makes you a good community manager.

Analytics, as well as relationship building, is an important. Yes, it’s necessary to be human, but it’s also important to have those human interactions guided strategically by data.


Looking at analytics will always give you something more than what you put in. It will tell you if you’re doing something right, if you’re doing something wrong, or – if you don’t get any useful data – it will tell you how to get better at measuring ROI.

It’s always good to be reflective. Always consider what analytics you couldn’t capture, such as:

  • What have I changed?
  • What alternatives didn’t I implement?
  • Do I know the success of those alternatives?
  • Am I measuring the right analytics?
  • Are there other tools I can use?
  • Do I need more data?
  • Do I need to change my approach for better results?
  • Do I need diversify my approach for better data?

Are you an analytics naysayer? If so, why? If not, what convinced you to start tracking analytics? Do you find them more beneficial or cumbersome?

Interview with Carrie M. Jones, Community Manager at Chegg

For our midterm assignment, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie M. Jones, the community manager at Chegg.

In case you haven’t heard of it already, Chegg is the next big thing in

Retrieved from:

terms of all-encompassing resources for college students. The company, which started out as a textbook rental alternative to hefty campus bookstore prices, is today a provider of digital rentals, homework help (24-hours a day) and even scholarships. That’s right, as a student, you can now go to one place to rent your textbook (for about half the price of buying it), get help about materials in the textbook, and create a profile to match you up with hundreds of scholarships you uniquely qualify for.

So where does Jones fit into this equation? She manages the community of individuals who are part of the source of Chegg’s resourcefulness. Known as “Chegg-experts,” these individuals consist of bright students and TAs, professors and teachers, and simply subject enthusiasts looking to share the wisdom. Oh, and there’s other community managers in there too. This is because, as part of her job, Jones seeks out individuals who are already talking about Chegg, or other subjects with frequency and fluency. She then invites them to come on over to the Chegg-experts’ community, and do what they do best – communicate their knowledge and perspectives. By fostering a community environment that promotes collective experience, Jones facilitates Chegg-experts in a way that gives the company an undeniable competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving web services industry. While community managing can have a million different connotations in the field, Jones’ job specifically focuses on certain goals.

Goals of a Chegg Community Manager

  • Growth and retention of the community
  • Constructive product feedback
  • Creating positive experiences for members
  • Facilitating relevant connections amongst members
  • Seeking out brand ambassadors for induction into the community

Throughout the interview I got the chance to hear Jones speak candidly about what works in the industry and her job specifically. She mentioned some things that corresponded directly to the course material (ie: the differences between community managers vs. social media managers) and some things I had no knowledge of previously. Some of the most important takeaways of the interview can be boiled down simply as best practices and words of advice.

Best Practices & Words of Advice from a CMGR

  • Community management can vary drastically depending on the company/org within which it exists
  • Community managers (usually) have an inward focus, managing inter-departmental relations regarding the community
  • OVER-COMMUNCATION is the best way to avoid inter-departmental conflict and miscommunication
  • Clear and concise guidelines are the best resource for mitigating negative feedback
  • Companies love data and will hire individuals who demonstrate the ability to independently make decisions based on data analytics

With all the wisdom that was shared, I felt indebted to Jones for her time and willingness to chat with me. Thus, hypothetically speaking, if I were to be of strategic help to Jones and Chegg, I would focus on furthering her idea of developing forums about specific products. The way the Chegg-experts community currently exists is it relies heavily on its Google+ page for member interactions. Using member input, forums based on the most popular products could be created as offshoots of the current community, both expanding the community while narrowing the focus of discussion on key topics and products.

Although Chegg currently has a great spread of student-based services, there’s always room for more. How would you help the company do an even better job of connecting students to people, books, and merit awards than it already does?

Also, for those interested, the video of my interview with Jones is available for your viewing pleasure!


Why are Social Media Metrics Important to Community Management?

Image courtesy of Gaurav Mishra.

“Keeping up with new social media and analytics buzzwords, learning what they all mean, and understanding their importance can easily become overwhelming.”
– Adam Schoenfeld

Hands down, the best blog post to read about the importance of social media metrics is Adam Schoenfeld’s, “Beyond the Buzz: 41 Social Media Metrics Defined.” Schoenfeld makes a complicated subject easy to understand by defining and dividing the forty-one social media metrics into nine different categories, explaining the importance of each and then dividing those categories into two and four subcategories where he goes into greater detail.

Below is a condensed version with my thoughts in italics:

  • Audience Metrics: the people who choose to join the social media community and each community has it’s own lingo (Example: Facebook has fans or likes while Twitter has followers)
  • Social Listening & Monitoring: identifying opportunities to engage with your audience and monitoring the perceptions of your brand or company through multiple social media platforms (Example: the people behind the “Hannibal” Tumblr page – by far the best interaction I’ve seen between company and fanbase)
  • Engagement Metrics: knowing the different types of engagement can help you understand how effective your interactions with the community will be (Example: you’re more likely to get UGC from Tumblr than from Facebook)
  • Content Performance: tracking and analyzing content to discover what causes some content to succeed and other content to fail (Example: how many likes, reblogs or favorites do you get on different social media platforms)
  • Total Exposure Metrics & Social Graph: the size of the primary audience and the relationship between the community and brand (Example: how many followers do you have and how receptive are they to you?)
  • Customer Service: important aspect to have in order to build a strong community (Example: how fast do you respond to a question? From the perspective of the community, are you doing all you can?)
  • Demographics: knowing different ways or social media platforms to engage with your audience (Example: Tumblr holds a different community base than Facebook. Tumblr will get you UGC and analysis whereas Facebook is more likely to share/spread knowledge of your brand or company)
  • Competitive Analysis: monitor and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns against the competition (Example: what are people saying on Twitter? How is the response on Facebook?)
  • Additional Key Phrases: other important buzzwords that also happen to be some of Schoenfeld’s favorites
Image courtesy of Gaurav Mishra.

Image courtesy of Gaurav Mishra.

While I was reading Schoenfeld’s article I kept thinking of the social media team behind NBC’s Hannibal and that whoever is in charge of their accounts, specifically Tumblr, knows the perfect way to interact* with their audience. Based on Schoenfeld’s post, the community manager behind the Tumblr page is clearly aware of seven of the eight metric categories. As for the eighth, their team must be aware of what the competition is doing but so far the only real competition I see them having is with another NBC show, “The Blacklist.”

Schoenfeld recommends Simply Measured as a way to track and analyze the metrics of your social media platforms, the only downside being that it costs money. However, through a class discussion we were exposed to Klout, a free way to see how a person or community ranks. It’s really user-friendly and it generates a graph based on your influence on social media.

Let me know in the comments below if you use Klout and what your number is or if you find another site that works just as well. Have fun!

*Over the summer, Photoshopping flower crowns onto your favorite character’s heads was all the rage on Tumblr. In less than a month the people behind NBC’s Hannibal page had found ways to get the actors to wear flower crowns behind the scenes and at events. They were clearly following the trends in the site and made themselves topical. As someone who follows them and other companies, their willingness to “play along” with their fans, made their fanbase not only get closer and stronger but grow as well.

Lessons Learned from Emily Egan, Mindshare’s Community Manager

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Emily Egan, the community manager of Mindshare. Located in New York City, Emily works to help different brands bring their social media presence to life. to In a  Google Hangout we had, Emily and I were able to talk about her different experiences she’s had as a community manger. Although we discussed different aspects of her job and how she deals with things such as evaluating metrics and creating a content calendar, the things that stuck with me the most were parts of her own experiences and her growth as a community manager.

Google Hangout with Emily

Google Hangout with Emily

Sometimes It’s Okay To Not Know

Before Emily got involved with social media, Emily barely knew how Twitter worked. Concepts such as retweets and modified tweets were completely foreign to her. By talking to friends and experimenting with different social outlets, Emily was able to learn about different aspects of social media and community management. She learned the difference between being active on social media personally and tweeting for a brand after being asked to take on social media at a restaurant. After meeting the right people and building up skills of her own, Emily was able to land a job at Vaynermedia working with social media. She has grown into a social media guru since then and now works at Mindshare managing social media for different brands.

Not Everything Is Worth Fighting For

When discussing how to handle negativity within a brand, Emily talked about picking and choosing battles. People often turn to social media to complain, and often times conflicts can be resolved with social media. However, not all people who complain need to be responded to. Emily shared that some tweets are better left ignored while some tweets can be responded to to resolve issues. The decision between engaging and ignoring can be reached based on compromise with a client. It’s important to know what to react to and how to react appropriately. This allows brands to pick and choose how they handle issues with clients.

Be Personable, But Speak Loudly 

The most important thing I took away from my discussion with Emily was that it’s important to be personable with a community but also speak to as many people at once as possible. Communities can get big quickly, but it’s important to keep a personable tone with people. You want to make it feel as though you’re specifically talking to them when you may actually be trying to reach hundreds or thousands of people. This personal touch can keep a community tight-knit and engaged.

I was happy to speak with Emily and relate what I’ve learned so far in class to things that she was discussing. Through her discussion of personal experiences and her job responsibilities, I was able to learn a lot about how community managers work day-to-day and confirm theories that our class has spent so much time studying. The things I learned from Emily were invaluable and I appreciate the lessons I was able to learn from her.


A community with flavor: conversation with 16 Handles’ Adam Britten

I had the privilege of having a chat with Adam Britten (@AdamBritten), the community manager behind one of my personal favorite brands, 16 Handles (@16Handles), a frozen yogurt phenomenon located in my native East Coast. Adam had a lot to say about experimenting in the social space, growing your audience/community, and froyo (duh). Read on for a glimpse into our Google+ hangout.

@AdamBritten of @16Handles!

@AdamBritten of @16Handles!

Trying something new

My favorite thing about talking to Adam was his passion for the brand. He truly loves 16 Handles and every customer, and it shows in every piece of content he produces. It is because of this passion that he has no problem taking risks with the brand, despite it being smaller in size and perhaps having a smaller national reach than some of its competitors (i.e. Yogurtland). This is probably best emulated through Adam’s Snapchat campaign, which ran earlier this year in January. He realized Snapchat was one of the only platforms that brands did not instantaneously jump on, but also knew it was a platform on which the core 16 Handles user lived. Britten recalled his Mother’s use of scratch-off coupons she received from Kohl’s that were only redeemable at the register. He took this idea and transferred it onto Snapchat, sending users who added 16 Handles as a Snapchat friend coupons that were in essence, only redeemable at the point of purchase (Snapchats expire after 10 seconds or less). The campaign was a huge success, and even recently won a Mashie, Mashable’s new Marketing Awards, in the “Rising Star” category.

16 Handles' Mashie Trophy! (via @16Handles)

16 Handles’ Mashie Trophy! (via @16Handles)

Organic Growth

Many brands, especially those of a larger and more corporate nature, require SEO/metric deliverables each week, to prove to executives the reach social media is bringing to the brand’s community and how effective that is. In Adam’s case, he is not required to deliver any formal reports or numbers to his senior executives (although, he does that anyway, just because) or meet any numeric goals. Instead, Adam chooses to set these goals for himself. For example, each month, he strives to grow the 16 Handles’ following at a more rapid rate than the month before. It is this mentality that makes Adam a better community manager, because he constantly pushes 16 Handles to its fullest potential.

Flavors on flavors on flavors

Best part of Adam’s job? He also works with the operations team. AKA he helps them brainstorm, develop, and TASTE all of 16 Handles’ new flavors! Could there BE a better job? He told me they just finalized the flavor lineup for 2014, and that there are a few surprises in store. I can’t wait!


Thanks again, Adam, for taking the time to chat with me — I thoroughly enjoyed it!



Panel Highlights: Communities are Unique

In this week’s panel, we were introduced to three experts–David Yarus (MRY), Morgan Johnston (JetBlue), and Nick Cicero (LiveFyre). Throughout the panel, each offered insight and shared experiences from their respective companies. Insights from this panel, as well as the material I’ve learned in the course thus far, have allowed me to draw a conclusion about community management: communities are unique, so Community Managers must be unique as well.


Most of the experts’ responses to Jenn’s questions were prefaced with “it depends on the type of organization you have” or “it depends on the types of roles and responsibilities you have”. It became very clear that this panel would be unique–we were hearing from three very different companies and, therefore, three very different Community Managers.

Here’s where we see some differences:

Structure — team set-up will vary across organizations. The idea of role clarity came up a few times in the chat. Important positions are becoming more identifiable, but role definitions still vary across organizations. Some organizations will have a few community managers working in a small department while others will devote several departments to social and the community.

  • MRY has many teams working together: Distribution, Creative, Strategy, and Analytics. The CMs work with all of these teams to focus on a broad spectrum of tasks including developing strategies, writing posts, and monitoring activity. All activity is sent through legal for approval (if needed), and all content is sent through analytics to track success and impact.
  • Jet Blue handles social via three teams. Corporate Communications, where Morgan lives, owns all narrative and storytelling responsibilities and has about 3 people. The Marketing/Commercial team takes those ideas and figures out how to come up with content that ties stories together. Customer Support handles all day-to-day engagement on social platforms and redirects social communication within the organization and has about 26 people.
  • LiveFyre has three main teams at play: Marketing, Strategy, and Customer Service. The Customer Service team deals with issues regarding LiveFyre, while marketing and strategy work to create campaigns and brand awareness for outside companies. The community manager is a community manager for other community managers (wow).

Content – In order to stay successful, organizations must post the content that makes sense for them. We’ve learned that not all strategies are beneficial for all organization. Each is after something very specific, and the Community Member must match that with his or her strategies.

JetBlue handles a customer issue. Taken from

JetBlue handles a customer issue. Taken from

  • MRY and LiveFyre are in a similar boat because they both must focus on creating campaigns, developing strategies, and being advocates for other companies. Their main content is not specific to each of their organizations but rather on promoting and managing the content of other sites.
  • Jet Blue, on the other hand, is incredibly customer service oriented, and they must be in order to stay successful. Most of the content monitored by the community management team promotes the service and handles customer issues.

Crisis – It’s clear that all organizations will face some sort of crisis that will require managing. Crisis definition will be different across all companies, and the means for going about crisis management will vary as well.

  • MRY: A “crisis” would occur when a student ambassador posts premature content on his or her Twitter page in which the mother corporation does not approve. Crisis management at a company dealing with young people is simple because David “treats people like people”. A simple text will clear up the situation.
  • LiveFyre: LiveFyre is unique because the CM team must stay on its toes to handle crises of multiple organizations. The crisis he discussed was an overflow of negative comments on the page focusing on hatred towards Subway and Michael Vick. In the end, they had to remove certain comments and were asked to stop communicating with the community until certain information was cleared up.
  • Jet Blue: For Jet Blue, crisis management is crucial. Jet Blue has established enough credibility to get away with certain crisis management strategies. They have been upfront enough with their customers in the past and gained a sense of trust. Because of that trust, they are able to say “we’re transparent, and we’d love to be transparent, but sometimes, we can’t give you all of the information you want to hear.”


Don’t get me wrong, it’s all still fairly similar! While specifics are going to vary, the overall concept will be the same for all. You have to do things that will make your community happy and keep your members coming back for more. The same structure or strategy won’t work for every single organization, and there is no right answer. You must have a strong knowledge of the type of organization you are as well as the type of community you have in order to understand the kind of Community Manager you need to be.

Breaking Down Social Media Metrics

The Scoop on Social Media Metrics 

The amount of information on the Internet is simply overwhelming. It can be difficult to perceive the statistical data that even one website can collect, which can make managing a website challenging. Thus, it’s important to consider metrics, or statistical tools that allow people to quantitatively measure different aspects of a website. Metrics allow managers to analyze strengths and weaknesses within their company. Knowing statistics such as which of your blog post has received the most views and how many retweets each tweet receives can help managers identify different areas of their company that need improvement.

Google Analytics is a site that allows users to track different information about site visitors

Google Analytics is a site that allows users to track different information about site visitors

A Categorized Solution

In an article on Simply Measured, 41 social media metrics are defined and outlined. Because the amount of information one can try can quickly become overwhelming, it’s immensely helpful to break them down into easily digestible pieces of information. Author Adam Schoenfeld breaks down metrics into different categories, including competitive analysis, customer service, content performance, and engagement. Each of these categories are broken down further into sub-categories which specifically mention things thats should be measured within a website.

Benefits of the breakdown

Schoenfeld’s breakdown allows users to see the different areas of social media metrics without feeling totally overwhelmed. As someone who currently works with content management system, staring at numbers can be very overwhelming, and sometimes it’s difficult to determine what it all means. Breaking down metrics individually is immensely helpful when trying to make sense of data. Furthermore, breaking down metrics into easily understandable pieces allows you to track progress within each area. By taking note of which numbers are increasing and declining, the progress of your website can be easily measured.


Still overwhelmed? 

Don’t sweat it. There’s a lot to measure, and trying to make sense of all that information can be confusing. Perhaps focusing on one category at a time will allow you to truly understand what the numbers in one area tell you before moving onto another. Or, pick one topic from each category and focus on those things rather than approaching all of those metrics as a whole. Mastering social media metrics takes time. Start small and work your way up! By breaking it down into smaller pieces, social media metrics can easily be mastered.

What other metrics do you look into regarding your site? Is there a better way to think about social media metrics? Share in the comments below! 

Social Media and Community Management: Why the Difference Matters

Throughout the semester, I’ve struggled with the true definition of Community Management. What is a community? What are the responsibilities of a Community Manager? When I finally thought I understood the concept, another wrench was thrown into the equation. I began to notice that I couldn’t get through an explanation of community management without mentioning social media. Are they the same thing?

What’s the Difference?

An article on The Community Manager explained it best. If you are a Social Media Manager, your main priority is getting your members to engage with the brand. Community Managers focus more on getting members engaged with each other.

Social Media: people interacting with the brand.

Social Media: people interacting with the brand.

Social Media Management

Social Media Managers are responsible for managing social accounts, giving users a person to talk to, and getting people interested in a product. If he or she is successful, the brand will gain a strong following and users will respond to posts consistently. Social Media gives consumers the opportunity to be a part of a two way conversation.

A community should consist of one conversation between all users.

A community should consist of one conversation between all users.

Community Management

Community Managers are responsible for getting a conversation started between a group of people. If he or she is successful, the community will flourish–fans will become members and members will become ambassadors to the community. If you manage a community, you are the voice of not only the brand, but also of the community. You’re there to start a discussion and engage, but you are more likely to sit back and watch users engage with each other than be the primary source of content.

Why Knowing the Difference is Important

 It’s beneficial for you.

When applying for jobs, it is crucial for you to understand your skill set and what you are able to offer a company. Understanding the responsibilities of each position will allow you to see which position is right for you. A person who has experience in managing social accounts and is applying to be a Community Manager may not be on the right track. Additionally, if you’re looking into a company who has a position titled “Social Media Community Manager,” you can avoid working for someone who does not understand the difference and save yourself from biting off more than you can chew.

It’s beneficial for a company.

An organization can really benefit from the two position being separate. When the positions are combined into one, brands/organizations are not utilizing their staff to their greatest potential. Once every company understands the difference between a social media manager and a community manager, they can hire accordingly.  It’s too much for one person to handle! If a Community Manager is responsible for managing the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and Google+ account, he or she probably is not utilizing their talents. Think of how much more engaged a person can be if they focus their energy on something specific. The Social Media Manager is responsible for maintaining the accounts and communicating with consumers and the Community Manager is responsible for extending those discussions even further into a community format.

work-togetherThe two should work together.

There’s a reason why the difference between Community Management and Social Media Management is a common misconception. They are often thought of as one position because the two have a strong relationship and must work well together. The community manager is responsible for keeping members engaged, not only with the brand, but with each other. This can only happen with the help of social media and the social media manager. If the brand doesn’t have a strong enough following, it will be nearly impossible for the community to grow.


While I’m sure there is much more to learn, I’m glad I finally have a sense of the difference between these two important positions. What articles have helped you grasp the concept?