A Day In the Life: Community Manager

Confession: When I landed my first job as a community manager, I had no idea what a community manager even was. In fact, when I got my first-ever interview for a community management position I didn’t even apply for a few years ago, I almost turned down the interview. Why? Well, my logic was this. I’m not getting my marketing master’s degree to call noisy tenants and ask them to quiet down, or to investigate serious crimes like who could be parking in the wrong spot. If you didn’t understand my lame attempt at night humor, I was thinking of an apartment resident community manager.

What I thought the job was:

apartment_manager_1

What the job is:

tired_girl_at_computer

Of course, with a little research, I quickly realized that “community management” is a growing field within social media marketing, particularly popular in Spain and among tech start-ups. McDonald’s, Verizon, Hilton, and Microsoft are only a handful of power businesses with dedicated CM teams.

Before I share my day as a CM, I’m going to spend a little time describing the difference between a “social media manager” and a (social media) “community manager.”

Spoiler alert: There is no universal job description for a CM, as social media and other new technologies continue developing. Is there really a universal job description for any marketing job, anyway? However, in GENERAL, there are some distinctions between the two fields:

*Yes. I know it’s in Spanish – don’t worry. Translation to follow!

 Social-Media-Manager-vs.-Community-Manager

Retrieved Colateral Marketing

For those of you who do not read Spanish, (which, may I add, is an excellent idea for any future CM as Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese) it says:

A community manager (CM) is both the voice of the brand to the community, and the voice of the community to the brand.

A social media manager (SMM) is the voice of the brand.

 

A CM creates engagement and builds relationships with the community.

A SMM creates personalized content, accompanied by a creative strategy for social media channels.

A CM manages the community with certain specific social media platforms.

A SMM works with marketing, branding, and public relations.

A CM focuses on the engagement of platforms on social media.

A SMM manages the holistic efforts of the brand’s online presence.

A CM creates and moderates conversations to boost and grow the brand’s social community.

A SMM focuses on the large scope of digital marketing and online marketing strategies.

A CM manages scheduling posts and updating social platforms.

A SMM Administers and controls the budgets for different actions of the strategy.

Of course, there is plenty of overlap between the two job descriptions, but community managers tend to focus their efforts on building a solid community of brand advocates.

Here’s an example. Let’s pretend that I’m a community manager for a collection of beach resorts all over the world. Let’s start by setting the mood a little:

beach_chair_sand_sun_2 I’m too embarrassed by the pitiful beach photos I’ve taken during my lifetime, nor could I find anything from Creative Commons that struck my fancy. Therefore, a generic stock image from Classroom Clipart will do.


Note: This description was written based on my personal experience as a CM, and research from SproutSocial.


Since we have customers all over the world, I could theoretically be working on any day, at any time. Today, I’m working a 7AM-3PM shift. I don’t get a lot of sleep, since it’s difficult to sleep after so many hours glued to the computer and I’m so wired after work. My team and I are basically powered by caffeine. I spend my morning searching Facebook and Twitter for mentions of our brand name. I see a few posts praising our new hotel property. I ensure to respond to each post, thanking our guests and asking thoughtful questions in the hopes of beginning a meaningful conversation. Once a social media manager arrives around 9AM, the two of us meet to discuss strategy. I’ve been doing a lot of social research, so we have a lot to talk about. Community managers spend a significant portion of their day looking at 1) what’s being said about their brand, 2) what’s being said about related themes or topics relevant to the brand, and 3) what’s trending on social media.

For example, looking at #travel on Twitter, I’ve found an unusually large number of people are talking about going to Hawaii than ever before. There could be a number of reasons why people are suddenly interested in Hawaii (such as a new movie out that’s set in Hawaii, or celebrities/dignitaries visiting the area). Regardless, since the overall sentiment surrounding this high volume of tweets is positive, I suggest our SMM create content promoting our Hawaiian properties. I provide further insight to the marketing team and make more suggestions for shareable reactive content.

After our meeting, I deal with a few angry Facebook posts. While this might be handled by a SMM in some companies, at ours I also provide social customer service. A few guests were upset that their hotel room wasn’t ready by check-in. Since their conversation about our property’s service was particularly negative, I brought the conversation offline by sending them a private inbox. I found out the guests were still in-house at our resort, so I ensure that a representative on-site follows up and brings them a complimentary bottle of wine.
Another critical component of my job is to try and initiate a non-intrusive conversation with (current) non-customers. For example, since we have a beach resort near Laguna Beach, I might search for #LagunaBeach on social. I could comment something like, “Great shot!” on an Instagram photo of a beach sunset. I would never write anything such as, “Great shot – but we have a better view at our resort!”

I have to be really careful so that I’m not blocked by anyone, or come across as annoying or too promotional. CMs walk a very fine line. I want to build a positive brand association or relationship with someone. Social media is “personal” and people don’t want to see advertisements. I can’t explicitly come across as a walking billboard. I also might search for questions on Twitter, such as, “Where’s the best place to view the fireworks on Laguna Beach?”

If I can, I will answer. Even though I’m not directly promoting my hotel, I’m attempting to be helpful. I’m attempting to build a positive relationship with a potential future customer.

Before I know it, my day is over! The best part of my job is that two days are never exactly the same.

Are you a community manager? What tips would you give future community managers? Is your job similar to the imaginary “island resort” job that I described?

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A Day In the Life: Community Manager

Real-Time Marketing Can Be…”Real Bad”

At a social media conference I attended last week, one of our presenters highly suggested that we check out the Tumblr page, Real-Time Marketing Sucks, for a good laugh. Unfortunately, this page hasn’t been updated since 2014, so I’m thinking about starting a petition for the owners to start it up again. Any takers?

The phrase “real-time marketing” was largely coined in response to the winner of the 2013 Super Bowl. Do you remember who won?

nfl-admits-it-completely-screwed-up-the-end-of-the-sunday-night-football-game

**Generic stock photo of a football team.

I don’t even know which teams played that year, to be honest. 2013 was the year that Oreo’s creative genius was highly praised. When the power went out in the stadium, Oreo’s agency created this viral graphic for Twitter to capitalize on this trend.

Oreo-Dunk-in-the-dark

* Tweet you’ve probably seen 1,000 times…but it is a classic.

I won’t go into any greater detail discussing this particular instance, since it’s almost “ancient history” now. I remember finding details of this “historic event” in a 2014 marketing textbook. However, I do bring it up since it did spark the “Real-Time Marketing” movement to capitalize on the popularity of current events to market your brand.

As you’ll see while browing Real-Time Marketing Sucks, there’s a right way, and a very (VERY) wrong way to go about this “trend.”

tumblr_n47kclm8u91s6kjiko1_500

No. Just no. Scandal (the TV show) and allergy/cold medicine? No, just no. No. Courtesy RTM Sucks. 

Don’t get me wrong – it’s awesome that emerging forms of media have “opened” the doors to a more-connected world. Brands can align themselves with current or trending events and communicate with customers 24/7. However, at the “core” of it all, you have to stay relevant and true to your brand’s message. Jumping on the “bandwagon” of any trend without any sort of strategy or purpose behind it does not do your brand, or your loyal fans, any justice.

Real-Time Marketing Can Be…”Real Bad”