Social Media is not Community Management (says Justin Isaf in his article You may not actually be a Community Manager).
This topic has been dissected and discussed in numerous articles that we have read this week. It has been interesting to see how these roles have evolved as you consider articles from two years ago to ones written more recently.
So What are They?
I see it as content versus relationships; internal vs external; large audience vs small group of people with a common interest.
Social media managers have a multi functional role, touching on so many areas including marketing, PR, communications, analytics. Their reach extends more externally – or to people outside of the community. It’s a bit easier to measure the success of social media with metrics (# of users). They are leading the effort company wide to be social and engaged, leading the way to expand to new platforms, and leading the growth of the channel.
Community managers understand the member base, help the flow of information between members, provide a good user experience. Their reach is more internal – or to people who already have an interest. Measuring the success of community management is a little more challenging (how engaged are users). They are managing the members, conversations, educating and engaging users.
These roles are similar:
- Content creation
- Conversing with followers
- Responding to comments, reposting comments,
- Measuring and reporting
- Strategy to grow engagement and conversation
- Passion for the brand
- Need a sense of humor and to be a people person
Yet they are different:
Social Media Managers…
- Talk to lots of people
- Brand – talk to everyone, personalize the brand, create an audience, manage perception outside of the community
- Utilize Social Media platforms – they manage all the networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
- Handle complaints. Implement Crisis Management
- Need to be technology savvy
- Grow the channel & target market
- Promote events and communications
- Get people talking
- May use social media to converse with the community (or they can create their own platform for connectivity)
- Develop and moderate conversations; encourage topics for discussion; join the conversation
- Grow the network
- Create events/conferences/meetups relevant to the community
The key is to understand what each role does, what the skills are necessary for the role and what you want to accomplish. Some examples of traits you may seek in either role:
Do you see the difference between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager? Is there a need for both?