Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager: What’s the Difference?

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What is the difference between a social media manager and community manager? This has become an increasingly popular question as social media has taken off.  Especially for companies that have been able to expand their growth, just saying they need a social media manager to manage all, from customer support to marketing person, is not an easy task anymore for the person. Hence the role of community manager has been an up and coming one as a way to divide the complex work of the social media manager. 

And so, how are we to expand the role of a social media manager and how does it compare to a community manager? 

A Social Media Manager: The Voice of the Brand

A social media manager is a person who manages social networks or social media accounts for a company. They’re the voice of the brand and are responsible for posts, replies and general content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any other social network that they choose to manage in the voice of the brand. For the brand, the social media manager makes sure to post according to a voice and social strategy. Often, they’re speaking directly to people who are already familiar with the brand. A good way for them to get started is by reading blog posts like this one which will provide insight into what it takes to be an effective social media manager!

Let’s take “The Sims” social media account on Twitter as an example. As a famous and big platform, the brand employs both social media managers and community managers. And so the social media manager posts updates company news and promotes new or current game features. They don’t simply upload the posts, rather they do so in a timely and strategic manner. 

Tasks and responsibilities: Social Media Manager

The social media manager will spend most of their time around two things. First, curating, sourcing, and scheduling content. Second, they’ll listen and engage. This means keeping an eye on brand mentions, taking note of trends and replying to questions. Lastly, the social media manager will spend a portion of their time on strategy and analytics. 

As tempting as it is to make them in charge of generating content, responding to customer inquiries and generally helping out with marketing efforts, once the organization or company grows bigger and bigger, there will be a need to branch out. But the social media manager and community manager will still need to discuss each other’s work often such as informing the social media manager about a brand’s posts that the community manager needs. 

The Hidden Power of Community Managers: Brand Advocates 

Community managers are an essential and often overlooked element of a successful social media campaign. They serve as the face of the brand to customers, who want to know more about the company behind their favorite products or services. A community manager will post as a brand ambassador under their own account, not the brand’s, and work on developing the community by participating in discussions, finding new customers and listening to current ones. The community manager often works on new ways to engage with followers, making it seem much more approachable than just a general company account. While not necessary, they may also create a separate social account with the brand name in the username- this allows them to keep all posts related only to that one topic without cluttering their personal feed.

Let’s use the example of The Sims game as an example again. Its community managers are assigned a lot of tasks to do on social media. They are responsible for engaging with current community members, as well as building relationships with new people and potential players. Community managers share information about the game, suggest builds and help other community members get into the game. Because of the size of the company, they have community managers who work internally and externally. Hence, having different daily tasks and goals. For small teams, one person may be doing both jobs. But as you grow your team, specialization is helpful and it’s good to know how building out these two roles can help you grow even more!

Tasks and responsibilities: Community Managers

Being a community manager is an exciting job. You get to be social and interactive with people, both in the digital world as well as out in the real world. It’s important for community managers to understand that their responsibilities don’t just include interacting with members of their online communities but also understanding what those communities want and need. 

A community manager will also often be expected to post as a brand ambassador under their own account, not the brand’s and work on developing the community by participating in discussions, finding new customers and listening to current ones. The community manager also works on ways to engage followers making it seem much more approachable than just a general company account. While this isn’t necessary they may create a separate social account with the brands name in the username which allows them to keep all posts only about that topic without cluttering personal feed.

Hence, a community manager focuses more on developing a community around their company’s product or service. For example, they will post relevant questions and answers about products to generate discussion amongst customers as well as encourage people to contribute their own thoughts. 

How the Social Media Manager and Community Managers Work Together

Overall, the social media manager and community manager still need or can work together to help support your content marketing strategy. The social media manager works online and will report to the social media or marketing director. They also work directly with the community managers to ensure that all posts are performing well. Both roles will talk to each other in order to keep informed on what is happening with one another’s work. For example, if a community manager reports that audiences are repeatedly bringing up questions around a certain topic or issue, then the social media manager might craft a post to clarify it. Both roles require creativity and social media skills for management, as well as excellent communication skills.

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