“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?