Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager: What’s the Difference?
The terms “Social Media Manager” and “Community Manager” represent two very distinct positions, yet these job titles are often used interchangeably. The recent influx of startups and tech companies has provided an abundance of job openings, but there seems to be a bit of confusion between the two titles.
While they do share similar characteristics, each position requires different ways of thinking and involves very specific responsibilities. Community Managers are often the public face of brands, interacting with the community and generating buzz for their companies. Social Media Managers are strategists and communicators, with the ability to measure and analyze effectiveness. Here’s a more detailed break-down of exactly what these positions entail.
A Brief History
Contrary to popular belief, Community Manager isn’t a new job title, and building a community around a brand isn’t a new business strategy. Modern day Community Managers serve as brand ambassadors, personally interacting with customers, other businesses, and community members — keeping relationships stable and upwardly mobile. Social media has undoubtedly opened many doors for Community Managers, but managing and updating theses platforms is not their sole responsibility.
Social Media Manager, on the other hand, is a relatively new job title that requires a different set of obligations and skills for this burgeoning medium. In very broad terms, Social Media Managers are responsible for maintaining all social media platforms, developing and executing social media campaigns, and then analyzing the results.
What to Look For When Hiring
A Community Manager must be personable, friendly and possess the ability to talk to anyone. They also should have outstanding organizational skills and not be overwhelmed by a constant stream of customer inquiries and issues. Community Managers should be regarded as brand “evangelists” as evidenced in this job posting from transportation startup, Uber.
Successful social media strategies require constant engagement, which means a Social Media Manager’s job probably doesn’t end when the clock strikes 5 pm. In addition, Social Media Managers are often required to have experience with customer engagement, ROI, and analysis of social media campaign results. These are huge assets in a prospective employee, especially if you need someone to hit the ground running.
For example, in this job posting from Lyris, its Social Media Manager candidate is expected “establish measurements and use the right tool to track share of voice, reputation and sentiment, analyze and deliver key insights that can be used for strategic planning.” In other words, the position requires just as much reasoning and logical thinking as it does a creative mind!
A Community Manager’s performance can be measured somewhat subjectively. Do your customers believe your business adds value to the community? Have their issues been resolved to their satisfaction and did their experiences make them advocates for your company? It’s a sign of a great Community Manager when you can visibly see improvements and progress in your business and its culture.
Social media management requires a tremendous amount of strategy in order to visibly prove a positive ROI. A Social Media Manager’s performance is often analyzed with hard data and numbers that result from campaigns. Despite being completely crucial to a marketing strategy, connecting the dots between social media and increased business is just starting to come to fruition.
Confusion between these two positions will probably continue to exist, but understanding the different responsibilities and personalities should provide some clarity. Also take these requirements into account when considering hiring one person to fill both positions. It might save money, but overloading one person with the tasks of two demanding jobs will most likely hurt your business in the end.
Does your company employ a Community Manager, a Social Media Manager, or both? Let us know in the comments!