Community Manager vs Social Media Manager: Key Differences

Collaboration between community and social media managers
UPDATED June 10, 2022
Written By Merlene Leano

Every business needs a solid social media presence regardless of its size, niche, structure, or the attributes tied to its respective industry.

An effective social media presence has to be targeted to a specific audience or goal. It is important to narrow down the objectives for creating a social media page. Without it, no real, feasible goal will ever be achieved that will benefit the business.

Who or what lies at the core of the strategies meant to build and maintain the business’s online visibility?

Do the followers, customers, critiques, or the brand’s image matte the most?

One of the most prevailing benefits of creating a social media page is it helps cultivate customer loyalty through excellent digital content and community development. As such, the roles of a social media manager or community manager are equally critical to a company's growth plan.

Companies of all sizes frequently employ social media managers (SMM) to generate and publish content on the social platforms they use to help grow their followers. On the other hand, a community manager’s responsibilities have more to do with monitoring the activities and content that a company’s followers share on the page.

While they have some similarities, businesses must understand the difference between community manager and social media manager to ensure they cover all bases in terms of securing and expanding their branding online.

The Role of Social Media Managers

A social media manager is responsible for expanding the audience reach of businesses on social media, which includes developing a social media marketing strategy and managing the company's digital branding.

They regularly develop platform-specific material in the form of text, images, videos, and reviews. They are also responsible for creating a content calendar that serves as a guide to help the business attain their marketing goals. They must be consistently updated with the latest trends across the platforms used by the company, along with a working knowledge of the different social media metrics. As representatives of the brand, social media managers help build a positive impression by carefully curating what they post on the page along with practicing utmost professionalism in responding to comments, queries, and feedback posted by followers.

If a brand's social material appears to be consistent across many channels, it is in part the result of a meticulously implemented marketing strategy of a company’s social media manager and their team.

These are some of the daily responsibilities of a social media manager:

  • Managing the brand's social media accounts by creating, scheduling, and posting content.
  • Listening in on online community discussions to figure out how people feel about the brand.
  • Strengthening the brand's social media presence and positioning it as a thought leader in its field.
  • Identifying and forming relationships with other notable people and brands in their field.
  • Using social media to generate prospects and move them through the sales funnel.

A job role in social media management may or may not take on all the responsibilities listed above. In some instances, they may be leading a team of social networking experts and overseeing their tasks.

Additionally, a social media manager can work as a marketer, strategist, copywriter, designer, analyst, and even substitute as a customer care representative, given the demand and availability of resources.

Among their essential skills include:

  • Copywriting
  • Effective communication
  • Resourcefulness
  • Desire to help others solve their problems
  • Creativity and quick decision-making

The Role of Community Managers

Although community managers advocate for a business on social media, they do not speak for the brand. They develop a social profile and actively engage in the online community to interact with potential customers and advocate for them. Community managers often work with people unfamiliar with a brand or who have never heard of the company they work for to raise brand awareness and protect the company’s credibility.

They assist in generating positive impressions for the brands they promote by connecting with potential and existing customers, participating in discussions, and forming better and stronger relations between the brand and their target audience.

Community managers are frequently involved in developing specific social media communities for a brand, such as Facebook Groups.

Aside from that, their primary tasks also include the following:

  • Entice more people to join the brand’s social media groups
  • Assist the social media manager or the marketing lead in regulating user-generated content on pages and groups
  • Conductsresearch and data gathering on target audience and demographics based on follower activity and posts
  • Facilitate the integration of the community with the broader social media plan by resolving disagreements that the moderators are unable to handle.
  • Create and maintain policies and guidelines for the community.
  • Moderate interactions within the community.

Community managers with this level of responsibility have the qualifications and experience necessary for the job, such as, but not limited to the following skills:

  • Exceptional organizational and planning skills
  • Highly analytical and solution-focused
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Empathy

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Social Media and Community Managers’ Core KPIs

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are used by businesses to track performance over time, assess if goals are being reached, and determine whether improvements are needed.

The difference between social media managers and community managers are the parameters to measure success. Here is a quick overview of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of the two job roles:

KPIs for Social Media Managers

The measures used to determine if a company's social media marketing plan is effective are social media KPIs. In a nutshell, they track data about a company's presence on specific social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram along with all other social media platforms.

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when evaluating a social media manager's efficiency in performing their duties for the team:

  • Followers - The increase in followers can be directly attributable to an SMM's efforts to expand the brand's reach.
  • Engagement- Increased engagement can be achieved by improving the number of likes, comments, shares, and retweets for each post. In addition, KPIs for social media engagement track the quality of your interactions with your followers on social media. They show you if your audience is interested in what you're saying and are willing to interact with your business.
  • Potential reach - The amount of individuals who might see a page’s content at the time of posting is measured by potential reach. To put it another way, if one of your followers shared your post with their network, around 2-5% of their followers will be included in your post’s average potential reach.
  • Social media traffic- The amount of traffic directed to the website from social media channels also speaks volumes about the success of SMMs.
  • Online reputation - The brand sentiment can be analyzed using social media listening techniques to gauge whether the company’s online reputation is moving towards a positive trajectory or not.

A stronger social media presence and a higher number of generated leads typically means a successful and effective strategy implemented by the social media manager.

KPIs for Community Managers

The fact that you can only manage what you can measure is perhaps one of the most crucial things to remember in evaluating the work performance of your community managers. KPIs serve as a baseline for referencing what else must be improved to make their efforts more aligned with the desired outcome for the brand.

Here are some of the most crucial elements when evaluating a community manager's overall work performance:

  • Followers - A business page’s follower count is the most basic unit of measurement in terms of building and expanding online presence.
  • New members - If you're seeing fewer and fewer new members each month, it's essential to evaluate potential barriers to member acquisition. Pay attention to how your brand and ideals are presented in your Facebook groups, for instance. Think about new strategies, like a community advocacy, that will spark curiosity among your target audience.
  • Active community members - A thriving online community demonstrates that the community manager is doing an excellent job.
  • Member contributions - The quantity of contributions from community members is another indicator of your community's engagement.
  • Engagement- The amount and frequency of answers and comments on a given topic can be used to gauge engagement. Engagement metrics cover comments, replies, and number of likes.

Overall, the success or failure of a community manager is determined by the size and activity of the community. No single metric can tell you the complete story on its own. Instead, take a closer look at the results as a whole. Observe the measurements that directly impact what you're aiming to achieve.

How Important Is Each Role?

The key difference between community management vs. social media management roles is how they interact with audiences and followers. A social media manager portrays a brand to sell the brand's products, whereas a community manager portrays an average user to stimulate audience participation and provide support.

Managing online communities entail broad and long-term objectives. They focus on building a strong and supportive community over time and that could take years. The specific and short-term goals of the social media manager are sales or conversions.

Stop comparing whether it would be better to hire social media vs. community managers because both are crucial to any business looking to build a solid digital following.  Although some companies still entrust all of these obligations to single personnel, several have begun to specialize tasks to help serve their customers better.

By dividing responsibilities into different positions, your company will be able to communicate with customers more effectively. Both tasks have the potential to alter your organization, from increasing conversions through better content to establishing lifetime customers through community building.

A community manager also functions as a content moderator and is responsible for policing user interactions. A community manager is in charge of establishing policies and guidelines for member interaction and determining how to get the community to reach the intended result for the brand and strive for more progress.

Admittedly, it is unavoidable that the line separating the responsibilities of a community from that of a social media manager may overlap. All in all, their roles in boosting a brand complement each other.

Conclusion

Shedding light on the differences between a community manager vs. social media manager are crucial in promoting a company or brand online. Use this blog as your guide to figure out which of the two types of expertise does your company need the most at present? Does your branding strategy need an advocate, or does it need a solid foundation to promote your services and advocacies?

Whether you choose to hire one or both, see to it that it benefits your company long-term. You can hire internally or work with freelancers. Better yet, why not team up with an outsourcing company that offers social media and community moderation services?

Chekkee’s flexible and scalable social media moderation model is tailored to meet your business’s unique needs. With 24/7 availability and the combined expertise of human and AI content checking capabilities, we ensure you stay on-brand and keep your followers fully invested in what you have to offer.

Merlene Leano Avatar

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