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The changing role of Community Managers

15th May 2018

 
Community managers (CM’s) used to be seen as somewhat of a junior position (frustratingly, some still do) – just there to make sure all customer queries are answered, and sharing relevant content to try and keep their respective community engaged.
 
Just to be clear. To some, a CM is someone who acts as themselves online, on behalf of a brand. However, in this post when we refer to CM’s we’re talking about those who act as the brand.
 
And often a CM can also be known as a social media manager. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s have a quick look at what a CM does. This will help show just how far the role has come in recent years.
 
 

Community Manager responsibilities

– Setting editorial / content calendars
– Reporting analytics
– Responding directly to customers
– Handling crisis management
– Creating Content
– Providing creative and strategic insights
– Setting strategy and holding creative briefings
– Liaising with agencies and business
 
 
Many are guilty of not realising it, but the above are some of the main responsibilities of a community manager. And so the role of the CM is arguably one of the most diverse in the whole of the digital industry.
 
Every brand has it’s own view on CM’s and so the ways brands approach, use and support CM’s varies.
 
However, there’s no denying the growing importance of community managers. And given this, many leading brands have recognised that the best place for community management is in-house.
 
 

Key reasons for bringing Community Management in-house:

– If the community manager operates outside of the brand, than it can become a silo. They need to be integrated & connected to key business functions.
 
– The crossover of disciplines such as internal PR, customer support and product development, means community management is a skill best kept in-house.
 
– CM’s need to be always on, and fast to react. External agencies not only cost a lot to be ‘always on’, but their unavoidable distance from the brand means they are not always able to take swift action and seize brand opportunities.
 
– No one knows the brand better, than the brand itself. It is through social media that the brand personality must come across.
 
– No one knows the brand better, than the CM. Given they are exposed to the many different areas of the business, and also as they are listening to social activity, they have great brand insights that can be used in content creation, strategy, audience understanding and targeting, even in product/service development.
 
 

Empowering community managers

Clearly, leading brands are empowering their CM’s – with CM’s becoming a much more senior position and more respected within the business. And this really is a great thing.
 
Brands of course need to also focus on empowering CM’s with content. It’s why we’ve also seen brands bolstering their in-house creative capabilities so as to fuel their community managers with content. Yet brands will still have to look to external agencies for support – largely with creative fresh thinking.
 
 

Conclusion

For us, we do believe that the best place for today’s community manager is in-house. It is a role that has gone beyond what an external agency can effectively and efficiently provide. And simply, no one knows the brand better.
 
So, if you’re thinking of how to improve your long term social media efforts, then we’d recommend exploring an in-house solution.
 
And when it comes to building and bolstering an in-house creative function, we’ve got many years of experience in helping clients to do so.
 
Until next time…
 
Rima
 

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