Almost every time I tell someone I’m a Community Manager, I get the questions “what’s that?” “What is it that you really do though?” “What does that really mean?”
As the Community Manager of an Internet marketing agency, there are a number of things that I do. However, the Community Manager here at TechWyse is probably a little different from the Community Manager at SEMrush. Although we have similar responsibilities, the exact role of a Community Manager still seems a little unknown and mysterious.
In this article, I’m going to share with you my take on the role: Community Manager.
A New Role in Marketing
When I first heard of the role “Online Community Manager” or “Community Manager,” it was through video games. In fact, that’s exactly where the role started…15 years ago! In the gaming world of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), an online Community Manager was responsible for building, growing, and managing the huge online community. However, during this time, the role wasn’t a popular or known position, like an Account Manager.
If you think about it, many of the roles in marketing are newly developed. If we look back 20 years ago, none of the Social Media Manager, Content Manager, or SEO Manager roles would have existed. With the advancements in technology, popularity of social media, and changes in the marketing industry, there are new roles developing.
With the growing amount of online communities and convenience of social media, brands began realizing the importance of managing and connecting with these “online fans.” Check out this great slideshare by Erin on the history of the Community Manager role.
The Jack of all Trades
So, what exactly is it that we do? Sometimes, this can be really hard question to answer because there isn’t just one thing that we do. Personally, I like to call us the “Jack of all trades” because we do so many different things!
From social media, blog management, branding, and outreach, we do a variety of things that directly affects our brand and our “fans.” However, the role and responsibilities will differ depending on the nature of your company and the purpose of the online community. Generally, I would say there are 5 “trades” of a Community Manager. Keep in mind that some of these responsibilities may not apply to all Community Managers!
As a Problem-Solver
First, we’re a problem solver. One of the main roles for a Community Manager is to address the issues and escalations online. Today, people love to share how they feel about a company through social media and review websites. To ensure that the branding and reputation of your company is not affected, it’s important for the Community Manager to address these messages effectively, quickly, and properly.
Even if we don’t have the solution, it’s crucial for us to acknowledge these customers and fans’ online contentions. After all, you wouldn’t want them to leave you another 1 star review about poor customer service, would you?
As a Social Media Manager
We’re always on social. In fact, the first thing I do in the morning, after checking my emails, is open up a bunch of social related tabs – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Buffer, Hootsuite. Just because work was done at 5PM, doesn’t mean the digital world stops too! People are still leaving messages and reviews, commenting and sharing your content, and liking your social posts when you’re off work.
Did someone share your latest blog? Like it! Favourite it! Did they tweet your most popular infographic and video? Tweet them and let them know how much you appreciate them sharing your content. It may seem so simple to do, but many companies don’t realize how important it is to do these small little things. These gestures show your fans and customers that you care, you appreciate, and you want to build a relationship with them.
As the Brand Manager
In addition to interacting with the online community through social media, we manage how the community and online world perceives our company and brand. Most of the time, we’re also the brand ambassador for our company because we act as the face of the company online.
Through managing social media platforms, we can nourish the relationship with fans and customers. Most of us relate branding to the price, look, and packaging of a product, however branding in the Internet marketing world, is about the experience, the relationship, and the perception of customers towards our brand.
Not only do we address and acknowledge the online community, Community Managers will post and share content on there too. We manage what gets to go out to the public because the content we share can ultimately affect our branding.
As a Content Manager
This one may not apply to every business or company. Another role of mine is to manage the blog for my company. From receiving blog pitches, accepting and rejecting posts, editing and publishing a blog, I manage everything that will go onto our site’s blog.
It could be argued that this role seems more like a Content Manager or Editor role rather than a Community Manager. However, our role includes managing the branding of our company. This means, we get to decide what we should post and what’s acceptable for our company.
As an Outreach Specialist
Last but not least, we do outreach! Building relationships with influencers is becoming more and more important. As the face of our company and Community Manager, we’re the best person for doing this task.
This includes sending emails to influencers online, sharing content with other professionals in the industry, building links, and connecting with others through emails and phone calls. If we’re already managing the online community, we should also manage the relationships with influencers too.
What’s Your Community Manager Like?
The role of a Community Manager is very different for each industry and company. However, our responsibilities are very similar and we’re an important role for a business.
How does your company’s Community Manager differ from me? How are we similar? What other responsibilities do we have as well? Let me know in the comments below what you think about the Community Manager role.