“Social media will help you build up loyalty of your current customers to the point that they will willingly, and for free, tell others about you.” ~ Bonnie Sainsbury (@bsainsbury)
In the right hands, social media can give any company a huge advantage. Often, the role of social media is handed to a “community manager,” a vague term for an otherwise extremely important role. Some define it simply as running a Twitter account, while others see it as an essential position, vital to any holistic marketing strategy.
Unfortunately the confusion and lack of understanding of the importance of this role means many small businesses simply hire the first young, tech-savvy candidate they come across without considering all their options or investigating the benefits of outsourcing social media. But just because someone has grown-up with social media doesn’t necessarily mean they can be an effective community manager. You wouldn’t hand your Marketing Director position to someone because they know Photoshop, and similarly you should treat the community management role the same way.
At Bright Blue Wave, our community managers have many responsibilities, including:
- Building and engaging with the online community;
- Marketing and promoting the brand with engaging content (written, video, etc.);
- Sales, including promotional campaigns and lead/opportunity generation;
- Customer service, such as handling product inquiries and complaints;
- Building thought leadership;
- Reputation and risk management; and
- Public and government relations.
Understanding and running a company’s social media presence requires so much more than a technical knowledge of how social media works. This is by no means an exhaustive list of responsibilities, but let’s look at some of the things effective community managers will need to do.
Social networks provide a global forum to share your expertise and present the best side of your business – what separates you from your competitors – but you’re going to need some original content to share. Good community managers should know how to produce more than a good Tweet, they need to be content creators – developing posts, Tweets and blogs that showcase your company’s values while providing something useful to your customers.
Optimizing Social Channels
Not all your customers are the same. Your approach to different social networks should cater to the specific audience you are engaging with. Community managers should be able to strategize and plan how to maximize your reach on your networks of choice, while making sure your followers know about your different channels.
Simultaneously, the best and worst aspect of social media is its public nature. If someone is unhappy with your product or service, they have a vast forum through which to air their grievances. Whether handling positive or negative feedback, effective community managers need to be timely and sensitive when responding to customers. Excelling in this area can even boost other areas like customer trust and loyalty.
Social Media Marketing and Campaigns
Community managers need to be well versed in executing campaigns but also in measuring the success of these initiatives. Even if running a campaign to increase the number of ‘likes’ on your Facebook page, it’s often just as important to know where those likes are coming from, as it is to actually achieve them.
When considering who has ownership of your social media, keep in mind that while it might be free to sign up and create a profile on these networks, there is absolutely a cost in allocating time and resources to building up your presence. One look at the infographic below and it’s easy to understand: community management is a full time job.