When I tell people that I’m a community manager, it almost always leads to a complicated explanation of what I do on a daily basis. That almost always leads to me conceding and saying, “I tweet and post on Facebook all day.” Even though – of course – the job of a community manager is much, much more than posting and responding to comments and tweets.
The idea that community managers spend all of their time posting to social media stems from where the role began. Just a few years ago, brands were racing to create Facebook pages and Twitter handles (early adopters maybe even had a MySpace page), and they needed someone to post their branded content to those pages. Enter the community manager.
However, today this role has evolved with a rapidly maturing industry. At this point in social media marketing, we know that posting updates, engaging with fans, and handling customer service issues are only a small portion of the job. The consumers of any product or service spend a significant amount of time on the Internet and it is the community manager’s job to find them, listen to them, learn from them, and (when appropriate) engage with them. They study reams of data so that their decisions and actions within the community are audience-inspired.
The informed and in-touch community manager uses social listening and analytics tools to find the conversations happening around your brand and industry. Twitter is extremely conversational, but if you’re not monitoring blogs and forums, you may be missing out on what some of your most outspoken customers have to say. These opinions (perhaps frustrations) are being posted and shared into the world for you to find, analyze, and act upon. They should be used to inform larger business decisions, as well as your marketing and social content.
Informed social content resonates better with your community, feels more personal, and can turn community members into brand advocates. It is the community manager’s job to inspire and empower them to do the work for us – taking our content, our offers, our advertisements and sharing them as relevant content to their own networks. Identifying the most influential voices in your community and fostering relationships with them is a key component of the audience-inspired community manager’s approach.
Community managers have their finger on the pulse of your customer. Businesses can get a lot of value out of talking to them and hearing the insights they’re able to glean from brand advocates. Schedule a monthly sit-down and find out what they’re hearing on a regular basis; review the regular reports that Community Managers produce with them.
If you assume they just “tweet and post on Facebook all day,” you’re missing out on a wealth of information.
Mike Guay is a senior community manager at Deloitte Digital Seattle’s Pioneer Square studio. He joined DD with the Banyan Branch acquisition in October 2013.