written by Mark McLaughlin | January 13th, 2013
Everyone has heard the phrase ‘Social Media Community Manager’, but what does that actually mean? In this two-part post, we’ll take a look at the evolving aspects of this job.
Opinion varies as to what exact degree a community manager should touch upon the topics of Sales, Lead Generation, Social Mention, Website Traffic, and Followers / Fans. Some folks make that list in exact opposite order. What are your thoughts?
A lot depends on the size of your organization. Are you a single person, or do you have a team?
Community Manager Definition
Social Media Examiner offers the following definition:
Community managers are the social media voices of their brands, fulfilling multiple roles including social media strategists, customer service managers, content creators, product managers and evangelists. They must often address the task of how to make community engagement multichannel. (source)
Inbound marketing company LyntonWeb adds, “the Community Manager is the company’s face in the social sphere from the public’s point of view. Communications, PR, audience engagement, and online community development are only a few subjects a community manager must be knowledgeable about in order to be successful … and provide solid, useful content readers can relate to, so as to deliver meaningful engagement with the audience.” (source)
Community Manager Tasks
I paraphrase some points that LyntonWeb addresses in their email required PDF download.
Creativity plays a big role in a Community Manager’s work, including many of the following regarding content creation. (I’ll cover communications and marketing in my next post.)
- Creating or over-seeing creation of blog posts, newsletters, and material for a variety of social media channels.
- Managing editorial content for a community to engage with, and encouraging them to contribute their own submissions.
- Create, manage, and grow the organization or company’s presence through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other online communication channels.
- Attend and create industry events in your city and planned meet-ups for your community while sharing them on social media.
- Manage incoming media requests and build relationships with sector journalists, while creating, executing and measuring media campaigns.
- Answer online questions and manage online feedback forums – aspects of customer service.
Another important point is addressed by Jaime Stein, a presenter at Social Media Camp 2013 in Victoria BC, “There are many ways to build a community, but one ingredient that must exist is offline interaction. Do you know anything about him or her other than their screen name? … Social media is not a short term play.”
Community Manager Interview
To get more insight, I interviewed two Community Managers to share with you. First up is Bryan Dwyer, Community Manager for Social Media Camp 2013. (Next post meet Destin Haynes – Director of Community at HootSuite in Vancouver.)
1) Bryan, can you describe in a sentence or 2 what you do as Community Manager for Social Media Camp.
Largely, I manage the community of bloggers who contribute regularly to the Social Media Camp Blog.
2) What specific tasks do you do?
My most common activities include managing the schedule, editing and publishing posts, and promotion through social channels.
3) How long & where have you done Community Manager work?
My role with Social Media Camp is my first experience as a Community Manager; I’ve been in the role since September.
4)What are your challenges? What was your hardest moment?
People are people. I think the hardest part of managing any community is understanding what motivates different sorts of people.
5) What are your successes?
Early days, but a promising development has been the bi-monthly newsletter to centralize communications.
6) Is any part of it fun and easy?
Best part of my job is connecting and building relationships with the community.
7) Describe your content stategy and Content Calendar.
Content has been segmented into specific topics within each contributors experience and specialty. Each contributor has been given two dates every month as deadlines for their content.
8) Have you any specific goals as a Community Manager?
The blog is designed to increase traffic to the Social Media Camp site, improve engagement with the larger social media community, and indirectly drive ticket sales to the conference in May and the cruise in September.
9) Do you have specific strategies to drive engagement?
The newsletter previously mentioned, and a results driven contest are designed to increase engagement and interaction.
10) Are you doing any off-line presence, In Real Life (IRL) activities to promote Social Media Camp?
We had a presence at Wordcamp Victoria this weekend, including a booth. We’ll have a few more closer to May.
11) What is your advice for future Community Managers?
Manager may be a misnomer for your role; it implies formal processes and efficiencies. Most communities resist this hierarchical model; facilitator might be a more apt description for what you will do.
Thanks to Bryan for engaging with us. Community Manager is a flexible term with evolving requirements. What are your thoughts on fulfilling that role? Any examples you’d like to share with us? Please share, tweet and add comments below!