Before we start, lets talk about the role of a community manager. The recent rise in social media cannot be argued. It’s adoption from individuals to businesses has been astounding. But at what point does a business need someone to not only manage social media, but manage a community within it? Typically a community manager is the face of a company’s social media efforts, the link between the real world and the social world. Recent studies have proven the following to be true regarding the role of the community manager:
- Content is the most time intensive task for community managers
- Male community managers make more than female community managers
- Software companies were the most likely to have a community manager
- The average age of a community manager was 30 years old
- Community managers age 31-40 made the most money
- More community managers see success on Facebook (52%) than any other platform
- Community managers, surprisingly, spend more time on content creation than any other task
- New York City is the top city for community managers, almost 1 in 5
- 1 out of every 3 community managers works on the agency side
The challenge for marketing professional like myself is how this role fits into the industry I work in. Sure, if I work for Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Apple etc and have a strong B2C brand, the value in building and properly managing online communities is clear. But I don’t. I work for a medium-sized IT reseller, selling complex IT solutions into a small community of interest.
The point for me is that these social communities don’t have to be large, they have to be focussed, where content is king. It doesn’t matter if our social community has just 500 people. As long as they are the right 500, and we use the social platforms to distribute relevant, focussed content, and also use them to manage inbound marketing activity. Keeping them engaged is fundamental to the success. The great thing about running a social community is that they are fully measurable. We can see real-time engagement, click-through success, sharing stats and many more metrics. Another advantage of managing a social community of a relevantly small size is that you can start blending other elements of marketing into it at a low-cost. Invite your community to events, ensure their DM follows the same messaging as their social activity and integrate them with your overall marketing strategy.
I have blogged before about the importance of social media and the introduction of the Facebook generation into our workplaces. It may seem like a bold statement but I honestly believe that any company that does not embrace the social world and start building these communities will be gone in 5-7 years, regardless of their current success and customer demographic. We must provide our customers and their future employees a platform to communicate and collaborate with us on, and what better than a social platform, or in this instance, a community platform. What better time to be an up and coming social community manager?
I urge you all to seriously consider your social strategy moving forwards. Build a relevant following, keep them engaged and employ a specialist to make sure it’s a success. The other option of course is to ignore it all together, but that’s not a risk you can afford to take. Is it?