“So basically you manage social posts for your brand, right?”
If you like me work as a community manager in your company, I am sure you must have heard this a million times from people who are smart enough to guess the meaning of your work profile. I now feel disgusted everytime I hear this. Hence I decided to write this post for two reasons. One to make people understand the difference between Social Media management and Community Management and two to emphasise the importance of community management.
In a nutshell a social media manager is someone who connects the brand with the users on social media platforms where as a community manager is someone who connects users with users across platforms without the boundaries of any platform. Confused, let me give you an example. Imagine you are in an event for a new mobile phone launch and you see the twitter handle of the brand which is posting updates about the event. That is being done by the social media manager. Now imagine you seeing someone in the forum that you know of courtesy the content/conversations/events of that brand. That work was done by the community manager of the company.
Now lets get to what all a community manager’s does vis-a-vis and in addition to the social media managers.
The community manager is a relationship builder. He connects with the audience on multiple occasions. He knows the loyal customers by name. He remembers 100’s of such phone numbers on his tongue. In one of my last organizations where I used to work as a community manager, half of the product was the result of my conversations with users who used it regularly. Its much better to understand issues of UI, UX from consumers who use rather than talking about it inside because you will always love what you created. And the best part is that a good community manager does this because he loves doing this. He is a people’s person.
Community managers work beyond social media. Community Managers are a part of the Content & Copywriting department and they quickly start working on content related tasks. They also can be a part of the rest of the digital landscape like newsletter marketing, digital design, traffic management. Considering he knows your customer and he knows what they like, he is the best one to ascertain and device what kind of marketing effort will stimulate your consumer towards buying behaviour.
A community manager does not reach a million on day one. Let’s also break this myth that a community manager can touch a million faces on day one. He works slow because he does not work on a page for which you bought a million likes in a span of a month. A community manager also is not a part of your salesforce. He does not SELL. A community manager creates fans. Like for instance when I was at Google and was managing Google+ in India, I had created at least 10000 folks who would share-reshare each post I would do on cricket on some pages they followed. Someday these folks would buy, they would turn customer but that day would come automatically without much of prodding. You will understand the meaning of these loyal people on the day you launch a new device and they create buzz for you for free. You will be trending across platforms because these people courtesy the relations built by your community manager will swear on your name and create hoopla that would have otherwise cost you a million dollars inorganically.
I hope these pieces make you understand how we, community managers differ from any other job profession in the planet. So the next time you meet a community manager, and now that you understand how tough (and sexy and interesting and not bland like yours) our jobs are, give them a hug, take them out for a beer or the least give them a high five.