“You’re a Social Media Community Manager?” What exactly is does that mean? What do you do?”
This topic has been written about countless times by numerous others. I’ve even written about it last year. Still, I get questions like “Oh! You’re a blogger. You get free stuff all the time” and “You blog for a living?”
Being a Social Media Community Manager and a Blogger are two entirely different things. This said, many Community Managers I know just happen to be Bloggers as well. It makes sense. Many bloggers are socially savvy and through blogging have developed a social media presence. Many bloggers work with brands and are good at engaging online and promoting brands. Don’t get me going on the “you get stuff for free” part. This isn’t a post about being a blogger, but I will say that it takes time to craft a post, write a review, process images and photos. Nothing’s for free. Everyone knows that.
Since I graduated university to teach English, it was a shock to many that I put teaching on the back burner in 2012 and took a break, only to work in social media. It is now 2014 and many of my friends and family still do not know what I do for a living. It actually really frustrates me when people assume that I work in my pajamas all day and “get free stuff” in exchange for reviewing a product. Though I maintain my own personal blog and do the occasional review for products or services that are of interest to my family, that is completely independent from my job as an online community manager. I work PT for a fabulous popular organization, but I also have clients that I work with on the side.
To answer a few questions, I came up with the following:
Roles of a Social Media Community Manager
I am sure there are many more items to add to the list below, but for starters, these are the main duties.
I also plan events, come up with scripts for Twitter parties, implement Twitter parties, craft posts and design images, process photos and images for events, correspond with brands directly, run analytics, report back and maintain relationships with followers and brands.
The following should probably be an entirely different post all-together, but thought I’d share it now.
Some other things I have learned about being online for a living:
Not exactly Social Media Community Manager related, but things I’ve learned by “living” online…
It’s all about relationships
When you nurture and cultivate your relationships, the return is immeasurable. You don’t need to “sell” yourself or your brand. If you’re great, then you don’t have to tell people how great you are. Building relationships only helps your brand. Be your genuine self and really engage with people online. If you prove yourself to be trustworthy and credible, people will recognize that. Growing your community organically to me, is more valuable that anything else. I’d much rather a strong, loyal community with members whom I engage with regularly, who share my content and whose content I am happy to share, than am extremely large following of people who aren’t engaged at all.
What do you think is better? An impressive/good-sized following that continues to grow and grow because its engagement level is impressive and the following is loyal and engaged or a very large number of followers who don’t engage?
Approach with caution
Even if you know a situation or person is perhaps catatonic, deal with things professionally. Always be professional. It doesn’t reflect well on you or your brand if you act otherwise. Mind your manners. Be courteous, polite and remember that whatever you publish online is being viewed by many. This said, mistakes are made sometimes. I’ve seen this on Twitter with various accounts. We’re only human. Sometimes thoughts don’t always translate the way we intend online. Oftentimes, messages may even be misinterpreted. Is it best to own up to your mistakes or just disregard any interactions? It really depends on what your higher ups want you to do, but in my opinion, it’s always best to man up and to acknowledge things. Also, transparency is always key.
Don’t go on hearsay. It’s only true if confirmed by the source.
Like in life, a rumour is a rumour until proven to be true. To be honest, I don’t believe most of the things that are passed on to me until I’ve done my research or spoken to the source. Rumours are often inaccurate. Give people the chance to explain themselves before assuming what you’ve been told is true.
Also important to remember:
It’s okay to have an opinion. Just be aware of the consequences of having your thoughts “out there”. Don’t falter from what you believe in.
Live your life with purpose and integrity.
Kindness is not weakness. Be mindful of people who take advantage, but continue to be your genuine self.
Remember kindness bestowed upon you and make sure to return that kindness tenfold.
Hopefully that this answers some frequently asked questions. Perhaps next time I’m asked the question “So, what is it that you do exactly?”, I’ll refer the questioner to this post.
Fellow Social Media Community Managers, can you think of any other roles or duties that are part of our jobs?
Victoria Ess says
Yes, one of my friends does this for a company, and often complains that people do not understand or appreciate what he does!
Wow, Christine! I didn’t know that being a social media community manager was that involved. I knew you did a lot of work and that you do it so well! Like the others, I do not know how you juggle it all. You are superwoman!
Ohhh, Brandy! There are other things to add to the list, I’m sure! 🙂 I love what I do though!
Annie @ It's just my life... says
Christine – awesome article and I feel you really have covered it all. I always picture myself juggling it all… just picture the balls in the air with all the different forms of social media written on them. Throwing one up higher than the other all day long. 🙂
Annie: Oh! I can totally relate to that!
Such a great post, Christine! You hit the nail on the head with so many of your points. Love your list of what a SM Community Manager does. It’s a big job, and yet so many people think otherwise. Btw….I’m still in my pyjamas, lol.
HAHA! Sandy, I WISH I were still in my pjs!!! Had to bring LO to the bus and then I have a meeting and post office run. *sigh* I long to spend a day in my pajamas!
Fariha (CanadianMomEh). says
This is a fantastic post Christine. Honestly one of the best I have read on this subject. As I’ve increased my Community Management clients while growing my own blog over the past year, I find it’s all about becoming an expert juggler. I also completely get what you’re saying, much of my family has no clue what I do and often boil it down to a glorified pastime. I have saved this article and will definitely be sharing it with others in the future.
So true, Fariha! To many this is all so new still and they don’t really comprehend what’s involved. Ha! That people liken it to a glorified pastime really frustrates me. *sigh* Hopefully this makes things a little “less muddy” and easier to understand.
Erin - The Usual Mayhem says
I think you covered it really, really well, Christine. I do some social media work as well as writing and maintaining my own blogs, and writing for several other sites. Nothing is free!!! And it takes a huge amount of time and effort to keep all the balls in the air.
The “sitting around in pyjamas” aspect, however, is very true in my case; as I write, I am resplendent in bathrobe and fuzzy slippers 🙂
Erin: Hehehe! Love the bathrobe and fuzzy slippers comment 🙂 Okay, I sometimes wear my pajama bottoms while I work. With a top, of course! 😉
Jennifer (momvstheboys) says
You must be an expert juggler! it’s really hard to find a balance with just the blog and family life, I can’t imagine adding in a part time job on top of it all, especially one that requires you to spend even more time online.
Jennifer, it’s a bit manic over here! You’re right about it being a lot of extra time spent online. I’m trying to find a better balance since ultimately, family and my little one come first, right? 🙂 YOU amaze me at all the incredible things you do, my friend!
Tammy @inRdream says
I would have to agree with Jennifer. You gotta be good at juggling. I struggle with my blog and family. Adding Community Manager would be very hard for me. You wear many hats Christine and your so good at them all!
Ah! Thanks, Tammy. Some days are more challenging than others! I love what I do though 🙂 I’m still working on finding that proper balance though. Harmonious living is what I’m striving for! LOL!
Great Post Christine!! Forwarding to people that don’t have a clue what I do. 🙂
Tee hee! Thanks, Amy! Surprisingly, people still have a hard time understanding what I do…even if I’ve been doing this for the past few years. 😉
Stephannie Lane says
Great post Christine!! It it ok if I work in MY pajamas? Keep up the amazing blog!!!
Hehe! I’m sure you can, Steph! 😉 Just make sure to couple the pajamas with a Joey Jeremiah hat and you’re good to go! Post a pic of THAT on Instagram! 😉
Great post! It really points out all of the things you do. Good information!
Thanks so much, LouCheryl! I’m pretty sure I’m missing a few things, but I guess that’s a good start!
Darlene Schuller says
I love this post! Yes, there is so much more to what is involved then what the ‘obvious’ is.
I love this breakdown, this truly gives us a readers a better insight to what you do and all that is involved. Having done reviews, I can appreciate the time and energy and effort that goes into those.. as for the rest…. hats off to you my beautiful friend!
Darlene!!! Okay, I need to thank you for your always amazing comments! You truly make me smile!