Does your social media page manager work on developing the community your company belongs to as well? Should they? Managing a brand’s social media accounts means you have a lot of roles, from being a customer support person, a marketing person to even being a graphic designer sometimes. 

Social media in a mid-sized company is no longer a one-man job. Most companies find they need at least one social media manager and one community manager. When expanding your social media team, keep in mind that these two roles are often the first to be divided up, so it’s important to understand what their differences are. Figuring out which areas you need to cover is also up to your company’s priorities.

What are the major differences?

social media manager posts and replies as the brand’s voice, as well as being responsible for the general content. They’re speaking directly to people who are already familiar with the brand, while often following a voice and social strategy. 

community manager posts as themselves and not the brand. They participate in discussions, find new customers, and listen to the current ones. They often work on developing ways to engage the digital community and act as advocates of the brand. If social media managers are the voice, then community managers are the face of the brand.

Where do they fit in a company?

Both social media managers and community managers work in the marketing department. The social media manager works online only and reports to the social media or marketing director. They also work directly with social media strategists to ensure that content and posts are performing well.

While social media community managers work with media strategists to discuss ideas of recruiting methods for more community members. It’s also common for some community managers to represent the brand in the real world as well.

Both roles will stay in touch to stay updated on each other’s work. For example, if a community manager reports that audiences are repeatedly bringing up questions around a certain topic or issue, then a social media manager might Write a post to clarify it.

What are their tasks?

The social media manager will spend most of their time around: 

  1. Content: curating it, sourcing it and scheduling it. 
  2. Listening and engaging. This means keeping an eye on brand mentions, taking note of trends and replying to questions.
  3. Developing Strategies and follow up the analytics.

The community manager’s daily tasks are less about the brand’s social pages and more about:

  1. Interacting with the digital community at large.
  2. Directly engaging with new and current members, answering their questions and replying to their comments, 
  3. Developing strategies to help them listen to the community’s needs and figure out ways to reach them, e.g. promo codes and bonuses.

What skills are needed for each role?

Both the social media and community managers need to be (1) digitally knowledgeable, (2) keeping up with the social platforms they’ll be using, and also (3) flexible enough to adapt to the updates of social media.
E.g. trends on Twitter move fast and sometimes scheduled posts might need to be canceled if there’s urgent news.

Communication skills are also essential for both roles, yet while social media managers need to be able to write effectively in the tone of the brand, community managers have more freedom, since they are basically being themselves online.

Other common skill requirements for social media managers are (1) ability to set goals, (2) understanding analytics and (3) interacting with the online community.

While skill requirements for community managers are (1) the ability to present themselves in an authentic fashion, and more importantly (2) the ability to understand and build customer trust; because their tasks are more about growing a community rather than focusing on sales growth.

How is success measured?

Social media manager’s success measured by reaching the goal of a set strategy. E.g. increased sales, social media conversion rates, and ad click-through rates. Their goals are often mirrored with the larger company’s goals and targets for the year.

While a community manager’s success measured more on the long term, through the built trust and strong relationships with certain customers. E.g. increased mentions of the brand. They also help the larger company’s goals through targeted interactions, events, and campaigns.

For both roles, you can use a tool such as Sprout to provide you with analytics reports to

(1) measure the strategy’s success.
(2) figure out the best times for posts.
(3) show the effectiveness of campaigns and community interactions through tag reports. 

Conclusion

So what does your brand need? An advocate or someone to manage promotions? They might both be operating online but their responsibilities, skills, and goals are different.

A social media manager’s main focus is all about the content and presentation while a community manager is more about developing the brand’s digital community. If you’re looking to hire only one as the basis for your social team, carefully contemplate the differences and what you’re hoping to accomplish as a company, then choose accordingly.