Following on from my series on Community Management and Social Media templates for job descriptions, I wanted to go into more detail on my assertion that they are two distinct roles, albeit with some overlap.
The way I see it social media management is more responsible for content creation and interacting with a broad network – often this is seen on the marketing end of the spectrum and in the B2C space where the goal is not so much to encourage relationship development between network participants as it is to respond and produce content people want to share.
Community management is typically more focused on a more discrete group of people (even if relatively large) and developing and encouraging relationships is a bigger emphasis.
For me, Community Management is generally a more internally facing role, feeding back into the organisation from brand-hosted communities (although this can include managing groups based within social media tools such as Facebook pages). You can read my job description template for a Community Manager here.
Social Media Management is externally facing, building and leveraging connections with “customers” to facilitate broadcasting of a brand message or ethos. You can read my job description template for a Social Media Manager here.
There is of course some overlap, and a Community Manager can be expected to operate in Social Media spaces, just as a Social Media Manager will find themselves getting involved to an extent in customer service tasks. With this in mind, here are two deeper definitions of both roles and their scope:
- Community Manager: Operates from deep within the company, managing customer relationships with a brand or product, and each other. Potentially she can be a fully Enterprise Community Manager, involved in facilitating efficient inter-team and staff communication and collaboration. She is focussed on the flow of information and knowledge, strengthening relationships and promoting productive collaboration, which may include moderation and hosting of both micro- and macro-events on the company’s community platform. Placement within the Organisation chart is more likely to be connected to Editorial, Product development, Business development, and Marketing.
- Social Media Manager: Operates from the edges of the company, managing brand recognition and reputation outside of the scope of the brand website. He is focussed on listening and evaluating brand perception, planning campaigns and promotional material or initiatives to promote the company’s message, building and leveraging social networks on social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to facilitate depth of communication. He will usually be found within the Organisation chart connected to Marketing, PR, and Sales.
The personal traits and skillsets for both roles remain similar however; a need for strong communication skills, advocacy and an instinctual ability to listen and interpret public feeling.
That’s my take on how a Social Media manager and Community Manager can co-exist and operate side by side. What do you think? Is there room in an organisation for both, or are the roles too similar?
You might also me interested in my templates for Online Community and Social Media Job Descriptions.
[photo by Mr. Stabile]