Even though social media, blogs, and mobile have totally changed the marketing world in the last 5+ years, I have found that a lot of people still have no idea what a Community Manager is, and even some small business owners and marketers don’t fully understand what a Community Manager does. So on behalf of all Community Managers, I want to clarify that it goes beyond tweets, likes, and drinking coffee…
A Community Manager (also known as an Online Community Manager) is a marketer, storyteller, social media strategist, community builder, blogger, customer service rep, problem-solver, and genuine advocate for their brand(s).
Every Community Manager has a virtual toolbox of social media sites and apps where their communities gather. I most frequently use WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Constant Contact, PicMonkey, and Hootsuite. But, as we all know, social media is ever-changing and the best tool(s) for any marketing plan depends on the objectives.
Community Managers can be found in both small and large businesses, but in small businesses, they usually wear many other hats. As Community Manager and Social Media Strategist at Vivid Image, I help companies who don’t have the staff or expertise to meet their social media objectives (and often help them create the objectives and strategy).
The Community Manager is an important role in today’s marketing environment. Often, the Community Manager is the front line to help a company’s customers understand a business and build trust and credibility. Ultimately, the Online Community Manager helps to drive sales, engage and retain customers, and grow the brand.
The Community Manager’s Role:
- Listen and Communicate – A thorough understanding of the company culture, products, and customers is vital to a Community Manager “finding the brand’s voice” to matches the company’s philosophies. By using listening tools, Community Managers can better understand industry trends, customer needs, competition, and help curate content ideas. Since blogging is often part of a Community Manager’s job, being able to effectively write and share remarkable content is essential.
- Customer Service – Customer Service skills naturally come into play in the role of Community Manager. Different than traditional views of customer service at a point-of-purchase or over the phone, a Community Manager often answers questions, inspires possibilities, and responds to feedback online via a blog or social media site. Part of exceptional customer service, is the willingness to offer help – even if there doesn’t appear to be a direct or immediate benefit. By engaging and helping people in your community, opportunities open up.
- 24/7 Commitment – There are no “hours of business” in social media communities, so Online Community Managers need to respond to customers and their community promptly, even if it is in the evening or over the weekend. Status updates or tweets are posted beyond the typical 9-5 work day to reach out to customers who are online later.
- Multi-tasking to the Max – Organization is key for any Community Manager. Tools like Hootsuite, Evernote, Google Alerts, a streamlined reporting process, and reliable mobile access and apps, help Community Managers stay organized in the midst of a fast-paced environment. Some automation with social media can he helpful, as long as it can be used without losing engagement.
- Myriad of Experience and Constant Learning – A Community Manager with experience in all facets of marketing (not just social media), various industries, and a large scope of social media platforms can more easily adapt to the ever-changing online landscape. There is no “one size fits all” method to community building or social networking. Community Managers need to be constant students in the complex arena of online interactions and technology.
Does this fit your view of a Community Manager? How would you describe the Community Manager’s role at your company? Please share your comments with us below.
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