I get this question a lot…
“What is a community manager? Isn’t it the same as a social media manager?”
Well, the answer is no.
Whilst many companies make the mistake of mixing the role of a Community Manager with a Social Media Manager, thinking the roles are synonymous. The reason for this is, that the channels that both use, may overlap, but their responsibilities are actually quite different.
Defining each Role
To be able to comprehend the difference, we first need to define the roles, separately.
A social media manager focuses on owned channels (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and are speaking on behalf of the brand and using the brand voice. A social media managers interactions across channels needs to fit the brand voice. Their key role is to strategize on growing the brand’s numbers across the channels and sharing content that is relevant to the brand.
A community manager’s role is very diverse. A CM listens and responds to consumers, also called the community. Building strong relationships with consumers, facilitating and moderations conversations and taking insights from the community back to be discussed internally, are one of the many responsibilities a CM has.
The key difference here is, that a Community Manager is a credible individual in the community, whereas a social media manager speaks entirely on behalf of the brand and they are therefore disguised. Normally, the consumer doesn’t know who is behind the tweets and Facebook posts, but most consumers understand pretty quickly or already know who the community manager is.
Community Management vs. Social Media Management Tasks
Now that we have established the difference between the two roles, let’s dive into the different tasks of each role.
A community manager’s tasks (these are examples and can change according to company objectives):
- Growing the community
- Adding or removing members
- Moderating community content
- Listening to community and providing customer support
- Networking the community and connecting members to one another
- Hosting events for community members
- Nurturing relationships with the community
A social media manager’s tasks (again, these are examples and can change according to company objectives):
- Creating content for all channels, from blog posts to videos and images
- Repurposing old content
- Responding to comments on social media
- Measuring the effectiveness of your social media output
- Identifying influencers and building relationships with them to gain them for influencer outreach
You can see that at the end of the day, that the role of a Community and Social Media Manager is quite different. Understanding the difference between the two, however, makes all the difference. Whether you are helping clients, thinking of hiring for your company or even applying.
If you have anything to add to the discussion, I would love to hear from you!