Your brand community is your target audience and anyone who interacts with your brand, including social media and customers. Because so much of your community exists on social media at any given moment, community management is often mistaken for social media management, but each role has unique goals and strategies to achieve those goals. While a social media manager uses the brand’s social media accounts to reach consumers with branding, promotional, and marketing messages in the brand’s voice, a community manager uses their own voice and accounts to advocate for the brand and support a positive brand image throughout the community.
What Does a Community Manager Do?
Your community manager’s primary job is to interact with your digital community in a way that directs brand perception in your favor and helps develop the community. More than 44% of consumers think brand conversations are more persuasive than advertising, so this interaction can directly increase your revenue in addition to expanding your community and improving your reputation. Most of the manager’s time is spent engaging members after they have developed a strategy based on current conditions, market research, and goals.
By monitoring conversations that are relevant to your brand, the community manager will seek out opportunities to flip a customer complaint or start a viral thread. When the manager meets new or potential customers, they will answer their questions and help draw them into the community.
Negative attention is never good, but a lot of brands struggle with no attention at all. One of the community manager’s duties is to keep the conversation alive by engaging customers, consumers, and other members of the audience. They might look for creative ways to reach influencers or investigate hot topics to help the brand stay relevant. Constantly replying to comments is a vital part of this step.
After establishing a strategy for developing the community, the community manager will guide the conversation by addressing complaints and promoting supportive threads while weeding out those that do not offer value.
Diving into the community to extract raw feedback is one of the most valuable jobs a community manager performs. It requires the manager to be active in discussions and to investigate both positive and negative threads. Feedback can then be used to guide significant business decisions.
How is a Community Manager Different Than a Social Media Manager?
There is some overlap in the duties of these two types of brand managers, but the approach each manager takes to the tasks will be different because they fill different roles. A social media manager takes on the voice and personality of the brand to broadcast brand messaging specifically on social media while the community manager acts as an advocate for the brand in more intimate communications in their own voice across the internet and sometimes offline as well.
Social Media Management
- Posts as the brand’s account on social networks only
- Responsible for posts, replies, and social media content
- Uses the brand’s voice, personality, and social strategy
- Posts as a brand ambassador under their own account, usually an account dedicated to the brand’s community management
- Develops the community through discussion
- Finds ways to reach the community
The Benefits of Having a Community Manager on Your Social Team?
By working together, social media managers and community managers can take community feedback and respond appropriately through social channels, addressing concerns and fortifying weaknesses in the brand strategy. When paired with effective social media management, community management provides a range of benefits that all work towards the ultimate success and growth of the brand.
Improve Your Reputation
When it’s allowed to run wild without supervision, the internet can be severely detrimental to your brand’s reputation. Community Management nips complaints and negative perceptions in the bud, enabling the social media manager to get ahead of reputation damage before it’s a problem.
Develop Brand Loyalty
A community manager makes your brand more approachable by giving it a human representative online. When consumers can have a rapport with a brand and develop a connection, they are much more likely to become loyal to that brand, increasing lifetime customer value.
Build Your Network
A community manager’s focus is engaging the community. This can present opportunities to connect with influencers, other brands, potential partners, and customer advocates. A strong network within your community creates further opportunities and can even help protect you from future reputation damage.
Increase Brand Awareness
By finding out where the conversations are and where they aren’t, your community manager can inform your social media manager of where your brand needs to develop some visibility. They can also get into the places where your brand is absent and start connecting with your audience.
Create Repeat Customers
When a customer has an unpleasant experience with your brand, you might think the best you can do is damage control, but you have an opportunity (usually only one opportunity) to bring that customer back in by providing a customer service experience that proves to them that they are valued. A community manager can give them that personalized, person-to-person experience.
Inform Your Business Strategy
The raw feedback your community manager gathers from interactions around the web can be invaluable to your entire business strategy. Knowing exactly what your audience wants and needs allows you to grow your market share with practical and high-demand innovation.