If you’re going to take social media seriously and develop a strategy within your company [and why wouldn’t you?], you may want to employ someone in a new and emerging role that is becoming common within the social sphere – the Community Manager.

Who is the Community Manager?
The Community Manager is an individual who works alongside the marketing team, and who connects with customers on a personal level. They are often the public voice of the company.

According to social media guru, Tamar Weinberg, in her excellent book ‘The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web’:

‘The community manager should be an enthusiastic team player who can develop a sense of awareness about your particular brand within the industry and related social circles.  

‘These efforts will align with the community’s interests without commercial overtones:  it is a communications role that is about fostering solid relationships.  The community manager has the key responsibility of humanising the company.

‘Community managers use social media very frequently for monitoring and maintaining relationships and thus ideally they should be regular bloggers.  They should maintain a presence on a variety of social media sites. 

‘Their role is multi-faceted; the ideal community manager should be able to communicate both in person and online, should be someone who loves working with people, is personable, approachable, and has a sense of humour. 

Community Manager tasks:
When Skipedia acts as a community manager for clients, we aim to cover all of the following:

–         Maintain your social media profiles across a variety of networks, maintaining accounts that have real value.
–         Create new and relevant items for your own blog, and comment on other blogs and forums.
–         Monitor the conversation about your brand and participate in it on a regular basis.
–         Convey the feelings of the customer back to the company.
–         Act as a proactive voice of the company at all times, responding to substantial concerns immediately.
–         Subscribe to alerts about your brand for a variety of key phrases.
–         Read relevant blogs and news outlets daily.
–         Follow related individuals in the space (including prospective and current brand evangelists).
–         Identify advocates of the brand: those who talk about the company in the most positive light.
–         Suggest ways to convert those individuals into brand evangelists.
–         Use feedback to analyse trends that may be of interest or concern to you, and report regularly on these.

Participation is Marketing
Our approach at Skipedia combines this with new media marketer Chris Heuer’s concept ‘Participation is Marketing’.  Heuer wrote in 2007 that the best marketeers are those who participate in the communities they service and don’t just aim to sell products directly to the people.

Pitching products and services is an outdated tactic rarely well received by individuals tired of the same old marketing messages and accustomed to social media engagement.

Today, trust is not easily bought.  Establishing relationships is critical.   Having a Community Manager will help you achieve this.