Social Media managers are not community managers — Here’s why

It can be a little tricky making the comparison between a social media manager and a community manager, but no, they are not the same. Let’s see why.

Job Descriptions

In a nutshell, a social media manager is someone who dishes out company information and content to an audience. He/she may choose to engage with the audience, respond to DMs and listen to them or not.

A community manager, on the other hand, doesn’t just push out content, he/she relates with the community, gets feedback, replies to their inquiries and complaints, finds ways to keep the conversation flowing while also advocating for the company.

Sometimes, a community manager may also need to write blog posts, host events, champion brand advocacy initiatives, and prepare newsletters.

Platforms

A social media manager's role is confined between social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

A community manager's reach may or may not involve social media platforms. A community manager’s job is to figure out which of the platforms the community converges in, and engage them on those platforms. It could be Quora, Reddit, YouTube, TikTok, Product Hunt, Hackernews, Twitter or any other platform. He/she also comes up with strategies to build defined community spaces for their community, such as Facebook groups, Twitter Communities, Discord, Slack, or Forums.

Tools

When it comes to tools, a social media manager’s work tool could be scheduling, social listening, and content management tools like Sprout Social, Zoho Social, and Buffer.

However, community managers could use tools such as Orbit, Dot, Salesforce to monitor and measure community engagement and interactions with the brand. A community manager isn’t concerned about scheduling, as much as they are concerned with brand affinity and user-generated content.

Anonymity

Often, the social media manager is never seen. An audience is almost never aware of who is behind the accounts of the brands they love. The social media manager is the voice of the brand and is 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. A community manager is visible and can post as a brand ambassador on their own personal account, interact with the community one on one, create content, and engage with community members.

Teams

The social media manager and community manager usually work under the Marketing team. The social media manager may report to the social media strategist or marketing manager, while the community manager reports to the Head of Community.

In most organizations, the social media manager and the community manager usually work hand in hand to implement community strategies.

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.

Conclusion

A community manager may not need to be an expert in social media management. Same way, a social media manager may not be good at community management. However, the disparity isn’t so much. I believe companies are tilting more towards community, hence it’ll be nice to have, to be community savvy in addition to social media skills. A combo of the two is perfect.

That’s all for now folks. If you enjoyed this article, do leave me a 👏🏼. For questions and chats about community management, please send me a DM on Twitter.

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