Social media managers and community managers are key to most brands - but what’s the difference? While both of these roles involve marketing, social media, and communicating with customers, there are a few key differences.

Mainly, social media managers talk as the brand and community managers talk for the brand.

Still unsure? Don’t worry, all will be explained.

What is a social media manager?

A social media manager, well, manages your brands social media platforms. But more importantly, they speak as the brand. They use the brand voice to engage customers, share news and are the first point of contact for customer service.

Social media managers also help to increase brand awareness through distributing PPC content to new audiences and posting sharable content to gain more customer attention.

Key responsibilities of a social media manager

But what do social media managers do? The key responsibilities of a social media manager include creating and distributing content, listening and responding to customers, social strategy and analytics.

A social media manager tends to be working towards lots of smaller short-term goals such as increasing social media conversion rates or ad click-through rates.

Content creation

Content creation is one of the major tasks for a social media manager. They are responsible for curating, sourcing and scheduling content - and sometimes writing copy. By using their social media strategy and listening to customers, social media managers help to post the right content at the right time to engage and delight the brand’s customer base.

Listening to customers

Customers love social media for its ability to directly speak to brands (or at least their social media manager). Social media managers listen to customers, talk to them and answer their questions - all as the brand. This provides customers with the feeling of great customer service when done well, and you never know when a customer's idea is just what your company was looking for.

Analytics

To understand if they are meeting their targets a social media manager looks into the metrics for each social media account the company is on. These metrics may include engagement, shares, click-through rate, or conversions from social media. Keeping up with the numbers can help to inform the social media strategy.

Top social media manager skills

Here are some of the key skills of a social media manager:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Organization
  • Marketing
  • Data skills

What is a community manager?

A community manager is an advocate for the brand and speaks through a personal account. This role is more about starting and contributing to customer discussions. Community managers can often go into more private channels to see what’s really being said about the brand.

Community managers help increase brand awareness by widening the discussions of customers out to people who haven’t heard of the brand yet. They can also add to existing popular discussions to give them more attention.

Key responsibilities of a community manager

So what does the role of a community manager actually look like? Well, the role involves having conversations with customers, creating visible and credible communities, strategizing growth, and building relationships with customers.

Community managers tend to be working towards long-term goals such as community engagement and growth.

Creating a community

A community manager’s main role is to create discussion and engagement within the brand’s community. This may involve starting conversations, replying to conversations, or even sharing popular community posts.

Since the community manager is on a more personal level with customers - they can be excited about releases right there with the community.

Strategizing growth

To ensure community growth, the community manager works on community-led growth strategies. This helps to keep the community thriving and helps to introduce new customers into the community who might not otherwise have heard of the brand.

Building relationships

A powerful part of a community manager's role is building relationships within the community. The community manager is a trusted information source for the community and may even be considered more reliable than the social media manager due to their relationship with customers being more personal.

Top community manager skills

Here are some top skills that community managers have:

  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Analytical skills
  • Time management

Social media manager vs community manager

Social media managers and community managers do work very closely together though, so their work can influence each other’s or overlap. With that being said here is a rundown of the key similarities and differences of the two roles.

Key similarities

Here are a few key similarities between social media managers and community managers:

  • Answering questions - Both of these roles involve answering customer questions in some capacity. As a social media manager, this is more about being the first point of contact for customer service, while as a community manager, this is directly answering community-based questions.
  • Engaging with customers - While these interactions differ, both the social media manager and community manager engage in conversations with and listen to customers.
  • Strategy - Both of these roles require strategic planning to meet their targets. Though the types of strategies can look very different.

Key differences

Here are some key differences between social media and community managers:

  • Goal length - Social media managers tend to work on more specific short-term goals (such as social media conversions), while community managers tend to work on broader long-term goals (such as increased engagement).
  • Tone - This brings us back to the as the brand vs for the brand discussion. Social media managers use the tone of voice of their organization, while community managers can use a more personal tone.
  • Communication style - The social media manager's main mode of communication is via content whereas the community manager is more focused on encouraging discussion within the community and between community members.

To sum it up

We hope this has cleared up some of the confusion around these two closely related roles. The key question to ask when distinguishing social media managers from community managers is: are they talking as the brand or for them?


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