The Difference Between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager

To most people these two careers sound like the same job. So I’ll try to explain the difference between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager. Its important to understand the difference between community management and social media management because they each have their own priorities. Sure, it may seem like they are both doing the same job because they both use social media as their platform. But it’s important to note that they speak to entirely different audiences.

Social Media Manager

Social Media Management isnt just about posting content to a business‘s social media channels. Social Media Management is a complex, multi-faceted role that operates to help a business achieve its highest-level goals. Social Media Managers are responsible for being the brand on social media networks. They create content, perform copywriting, respond to comments, answer questions and much more. In a sense, a Social Media Manager personifies the brand. They communicate as a brand and represent the brand directly to the customers. Social Media Management is the production and distribution of social content to reach new customers and communicate with current ones. They are focused on engagement, reach and how much traffic a post drives to your site.

A social media manager measures success by how much content is published, how people engage with it, what kind of content performs best and what fuels the increase in followers. They have to be sure that their focus is on the right channels and activities. Creating a social media strategy is key for good results and their main goal is always channel growth.

When they have planned a social media strategy and executed it flawlessly they need to measure the results. These numbers are relevant to evaluate performance. Today we have many key performance indicators which can help us to check the results of our work.

A Day in a life of Social Media Manager

It always starts the same but it’s a wild guess how it will end. Social Media Managers spend their average day making sure customers have an above-average day and spreading brand awareness, but what specifically do they do?

35% of the day is spent listening and conversing, 25% researching and planning strategy, 20% creating and curating content, 10% for team collaboration and the last 10% is left for analytics and solving unexpected situations that appear in such a dynamic environment.

Community Manager

A Community Manager is responsible for advocating a brand on social networks. They have to boost awareness for the brand, monitor conversations and provide feedback to the company. Community managers are expected to have strong networking and communication skills, they are builders of relationships with customers. This is the person who will be engaging and nurturing customers and key members of your community. They make the brand personal. A community manager is often the humanizing face of the brand in the digital space and the internal advocate for customers.

They are focused on the flow of information and knowledge, strengthening relationships and promoting productive collaboration, which may include moderation and hosting of both micro and macro events on the company’s community platform.

Brands that dont have community management will miss out opportunities to: manage customer complaints, turn customers into loyal fans, network with other brands and partner with them, get feedback and many other things. Community managers focus on earned media and word of mouth.

We can break down community management into 4 parts: monitoring, engaging, moderating and measuring. Monitoring means that they have to listen in on and track conversations that relate to the brand. The second part is keeping conversations alive and proactively engaging with customers, prospects and influencers. Moderating includes weeding out comments and conversations that don’t add value, and troubleshooting customer complaints. The final part is measuring, which consists of analyzing brand achievements and feedback. Social listening and monitoring is an especially important part of their job as they funnel information internally from blogs, forums, and various social media platforms.


A Day in The Life of a Community Manager

As I said earlier, many people think that the Community Manager’s day is pretty much the same as a Social Media Manager’s one. Well here’s where the difference is tangible.

Community managers spend 40% of their time having conversations with brand advocates and folks in general, 20% building visibility and credibility, 20% strategizing ways to scale communities and connect with new people, 10% analyzing, and a crucial 10% is allocated to office coffee time.

Conclusion SMM vs. CM

A Social Media Manager hides behind the brand while a Community Manager creates their own social persona and actively communicates with potential customers. This can be said to be the main difference between them.

In many businesses there can be considerable overlap between these two roles. A community manager is a strategist, in finding the right people to target and the right way to engage them. A social media manager is choosing content that will hopefully help your community.

Community managers and social media managers also share some of the same personality traits, such as being outgoing, creative and having good time management skills.

By observing daily habits of these two it’s pretty easy to see the similarities. They both spend the majority of their time responding to and helping customers, followed by strategizing & executing content strategies, then analyzing their respective successes and meeting with the team to discuss their next steps.

One could say that the Social Media Manager and Community Manager are two distinctly different suits cut from the same cloth.

Andrea Benović

Author Andrea Benović

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