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Social media manager vs. community manager: What’s the difference?

Does the person who post as your brand on Facebook also work to develop the community that the company is part of? Should they?

Running a brand’s social media accounts is a lot of work. You’re simultaneously asked to be a customer support person, marketing person and occasionally, a graphic designer. As the social media industry has evolved, each role in the marketing team has developed along with it.

Social media in a mid-sized company is no longer one person. Typically, most companies find they need at least a social media manager and a 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

A social media manager will post on behalf of a brand. They’re the voice of the brand and are responsible for posts, replies and general content.

As the brand, the social media manager makes sure to post according to a voice and social strategy. Often, they’re speaking directly to people who are already familiar with the brand.

The Sims has both social media managers and community managers. Its social media manager ensures that posts like the above, promoting company news and game features, are created and posted in a timely manner.

A community manager will post as themselves, not the brand, and work on developing the community by participating in discussions, finding new customers and listening to the current ones.

The community manager often works on new ways to engage the digital community and are often seen as advocates of the brand. Picture them as the faces of the brand, making it seem much more approachable than just a general company account. While not necessary, the community manager may also create a separate social account with the brand name in the username. This helps link them to the brand while creating a more individual voice that can engage as a member of the community.

Here are two examples of how a Sims community manager engages on Twitter. They ask for builds and Retweet the replies to share with the rest of the digital community. In addition, they reply to current community members to keep them engaged.

These two roles have different daily tasks and goals. For small teams, one person may be doing both jobs. But as you grow your team, specialization is helpful and it’s good to know how building out these two roles can help you grow even more.

Where do they fit in a company?

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

The social media community manager is usually on the same level as the social media manager. Instead of thinking about how the brand should post on social, their discussions with the strategist might involve ideas on how to recruit more community members. It’s also common for community managers (without the “social media” in their name) to go out into the real world and be representatives of the brand.

Both roles will talk to each other to keep informed on the other’s work. For example, if a community manager reports that audiences are repeatedly bringing up questions around a certain topic or issue, then the social media manager might craft a post to clarify it.

What are their tasks?

The daily workload differs between the two roles.

The main tasks of the social media manager can be broken down into three categories:

  • All things content
  • Listening and engaging with the brand
  • Strategy and analytics

The social media manager will spend most of their time around two things. First, content: curating it, sourcing it and scheduling it. Second, they’ll listen and engage. This means keeping an eye on brand mentions, taking note of trends and replying to questions. Lastly, the social media manager will spend a portion of their time on strategy and analytics.

As mentioned earlier, the social media manager and community manager will often discuss each other’s work. The brand’s posts may be informed by what the community manager needs. For example, the above Tweet from Discord could have been inspired by a community manager. Users in the community may have been requesting a shortcut for emojis, but since the feature already existed, the community manager might have requested that the brand publicize it more.

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

  • Finding new users and answering their questions
  • Replying and engaging current community members
  • Strategy for developing the community

As you can see, the community manager is all about interacting with the digital community at large. They spend most of their time directly engaging with new and current members as themselves. If they go out into the real world, they’ll usually have swag on hand and represent the company at events. Developing a strategy for the community involves listening to its needs and finding ways to reach them. They might give out voucher codes and other bonuses to help create goodwill in the community.

Because the community manager keeps an ear to the digital ground, it makes sense for this Discord community manager to ask this question. Doing this personalizes the brand a little more and makes users believe that their feature requests will get into the right ears.

What skills are needed for each role?

There’s a bit of overlap between the two roles. Both social media managers and community managers must be digitally savvy and be able to keep up with each social network that they’re on. They must also be flexible enough to manage the complexity of social media. Twitter moves fast and scheduled posts might need to be canceled if there’s unfolding urgent news.

Communication skills are another must for both roles. The social media manager needs to be able to write effectively and in the tone of the brand. The community manager in this case has a little more freedom. After all, they get to be themselves online instead of the brand.

In a social media manager job description, it’s common to see skill requirements like being able to set goals, understand analytics and interact well with the community online. They need to craft a post to push a product in one minute while responding to a service request in the next one.

For a community manager, skills like being able to interact with people online and understand how customer trust works is crucial. They’re tasked with growing a community and nurturing it, rather than focused on pushing for sales growth. Being able to present themselves authentically online is a core component of a successful community manager.

How is success measured?

The goal of the social media manager is often set by strategy. With increased sales, you measure social media conversion rates and ad click-through rates. Their goals are often mirrored with the larger company’s goals for the year. If the company wants to grow brand awareness in a different city, the social media manager will strategize on posts and ads to reach that target market.

A community manager’s success is measured more in the long term. In advocating for a brand, they might cultivate relationships with certain users. Success would look like increased mentions of the brand from those users. If we take the previous example of growing brand awareness in a city, a community manager would research local users and directly engage with them. If they were also an offline manager, they would create events for brand activation, measuring success with event attendance and signups.

Tag Report Received MessagesFor both of these roles, you can measure success with tools like Sprout that can provide analytics reports. A Sprout Instagram report would readily identify best times to post for the social media manager. And a tag report would show how well a community manager was doing at interacting with community members. Tagging messages by themes or by the community manager’s current campaign can demonstrate how well it’s performing.
Conclusion
What does your company need? Does it need an advocate or does it need someone to promote the brand? A social media manager and a community manager might both operate online but their responsibilities, skill sets and goals are different.
A social media manager’s focus is all about the brand’s content and presentation while a community manager is more focused on developing the brand’s digital community. If you’re looking to hire only one as the basis for your social team, make sure you know what the differences are and what you’re hoping to accomplish as a company.
This post Social media manager vs. community manager: What’s the difference? originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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