A Tale of Two Roles

Exploring the Differences between Community and Social Media Management

A Tale of Two Roles

Take it for someone who has actively been involved in community management for 3 years building an active community of practice for bakers called fibibakes in the food industry, growing the community from 0 to 18,000 members and currently creating community driven experiences for Gruve , many people still need to understand the concept of community management and how it differs from social media marketing as they are often used in the same context. While social media marketing and community management are closely knitted, they have separate functions.

The difference between social media management and community management can be simplified to strategy vs relationship.

What is social media management:

Social media marketing, also known as social media management, just as the name implies focuses on channel/platform growth to promote the brand's product and services.

To have a better understanding, let's break it down by defining it in separate words:

Social media refers to a social platform that aids the creation and sharing of information.

On the other hand,

Marketing refers to the process of getting people interested in exchanging offerings that have value.

when put together; Social media marketing focuses on all the activities and strategies to increase the growth of people interested in exchanging offerings that have value on social media platforms.

It, therefore, implies that it falls on the side of strategy, content creation, and branding. It is concerned with advertising, promotion, and tracking metrics like the number of followers, the best day & time to post…..etc

What is community management:

Community management focuses on engagement and relationships.

Let's break down the concept again;

Community: a group of people brought together by a common goal.

Management: the coordination of things or people to achieve a goal.

When put together; it means the day-to-day coordination to engage and monitor a group of people brought together by a common goal by facilitating member interactions, responding to user queries….etc

It falls on the side of online customer service, concerning itself with creating, developing, and maintaining customer relationships. It’s how a company takes advantage of opportunities to engage with its customers (in real-life and digital media) by building a network through which all the participants can communicate, share, and grow a sense of belonging.

"When social media marketing and community management are combined together, they are most powerful."

If you're interested in working in marketing, learning about these two roles may help you decide which one to pursue.

Community managers may typically interact with people as themselves, rather than posting on behalf of the company.

Making community management one of your social media manager’s sub-roles is not “community". To me, for a brand to build what is a community, it must, first and foremost, invest in a full-time role (a Community Manager, likely!) that fosters past, present, and future customer relationships. Someone engaging with customers online, listening for insights, and creating meaningful conversations.”

So What Exactly Do Community Managers Do?

Community Managers are basically an online version of brand ambassadors who use social media as a tool to communicate for a certain brand and become its public face.

CMs are tasked with maintaining a positive image of the brand among their community members, building new relationships, and engaging in conversations.

We could almost say the main part of their job is expanded customer support because they are here for any questions and inquiries that pop up on social media pages or the community platform. CMs' job is to maintain a positive relationship with the existing community, but also to use a social media strategy to attract new members and users.

The role of a community manager (CM) can vary from one organization to the next, especially when you factor in the makeup of the community team, the size of the community itself, and business objectives. However, they usually share some common objectives.

To simplify it even further, some of CM’s tasks include:

  1. Growing the community

  2. Fostering engagement

  3. Informing an online community about the brand

  4. Producing, and distributing original and interesting content (blog posts, videos, photos, gifs, articles…)

  5. Encouraging customers and users to create content (user-generated content)

  6. Improving customers’ satisfaction with the brand’s products or services

  7. Welcoming new members and answering any question

  8. Collecting information from users and reporting it back to the brand (feedback)

  9. Developing and implementing community plans and strategies

  10. Driving business results

  11. Promoting events, new feature launches and newly released content

  12. Organizing and hosting online/offline events for the company

What Do Social Media Managers Do

They are in charge of all social media platforms and planning out digital marketing strategies for brands. Their tasks include content creation, cooperating with copywriters to come up with the best copy that sends out the right message for their brand, tracking and analyzing results, reporting them back to their client, and reevaluating their strategy if needed. Social media managers need to be both analytical and creative to do their job well. They need to engage their online audience, come up with new and unique ways to connect with their target audience, organize sweepstakes, teaser campaigns, and advertising campaigns, and increase brand awareness, and other KPIs that brands require.

long story short, their job includes:

  1. Communication with a client

  2. Planning and creating a strategy

  3. Making sure the client’s budget is spent efficiently according to campaign guidelines

  4. Positioning a brand on social media

  5. Increasing brand awareness

  6. Getting new leads

  7. Increasing sales

  8. Perform research on current benchmark trends and audience preferences

  9. Design and implement social media strategy to align with business goals

  10. Set specific objectives and report on ROI

  11. Generate, edit, publish and share engaging content daily (e.g. original text, photos, videos and news)

  12. Monitor SEO and web traffic metrics

  13. Collaborate with other teams, like marketing, sales and customer service to ensure brand consistency

  14. Communicate with followers, respond to queries promptly and monitor customer reviews

  15. Oversee social media accounts’ design (e.g. Facebook timeline cover, profile pictures and blog layout)

  16. Suggest and implement new features to develop brand awareness, like promotions and competitions

  17. Stay up-to-date with current technologies and trends in social media, design tools and applications.

    Similarities between community managers and social media managers

Although their intent and purpose differ, social media managers and community managers can share some tasks or responsibilities. Smaller companies may only have one individual to fill both roles. In this case, the person responsible for community and social media management may interact with followers and potential followers through their own personal profiles while sharing informational or educational content through the company's social media profile.

Whether the roles are separate or fall on one person to manage both sides, social media and community management both involve the creation and sharing of content. A community manager might share what they've learned in conversations with users and members of the target audience with the social media manager to create a more precise social media strategy that adheres to what the follower base wants to see.

Skills that benefit both roles

Here are some skills that will help you excel in your career either as an individual who works in community management or social media management:

  • Understanding of all social media platforms

  • An ability to stay up-to-date with the latest online trends in the industry you work for or with.

  • Writing skills

  • Communication skills

  • Patience

  • Compassion

  • Creativity

  • Organization

  • Customer service

  • Empathy

In summary, community management focuses on building and maintaining relationships with your target audience, while social media marketing focuses on promoting your brand through social media. Both are crucial components of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, and they complement each other by creating a positive brand image, promoting engagement, and driving sales.

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