Since starting my role as community manager for the Social Guy last year, I’ve become accustomed to explaining what I do to everyone several times over.
I had to Google the term myself before I applied for the job, and while the title may sound officious, I don’t actually manage anyone but myself.
Many community managers carry self-appointed titles, such as “social media guru”, “social media expert” or “social media ninja”. But I’ve only been in the game for four months, so I’m certainly not going to try and palm myself off as something I’m not. Also, as someone once said to me, if anyone has to TELL you they’re a ninja, chances are they’re probably not, unless you’re talking to Bruce Lee.
Community management is a growing and developing profession. Defined by Jake McKee aka “The Community Guy”, a community is: “A group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons.” Online communities connect and share information with each other using web tools, such as social networks, blogs, podcasts and forums.
Community managers, on the other hand, build and manage a company’s or brand’s community on the web, via its social and digital channels. We act as an ambassador and advocate for the brand or company, and essentially we are their official “voice” on the web.
If you’ve ever liked, loved, shared, commented on, RTed, favourited, +1ed, re-blogged any information from a brand or business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, Digg, WordPress, or any of the other social media channels, you’re an active participant in the community. Your engagement, or lack of, is partly how the success of social and digital marketing strategies are measured.
Many people assume I spend all day updating Facebook statuses and posting tweets, and yes, sadly I am glued to my screen most of the day, but there’s a bit more to it than throwing up a post now and then.
Some of my responsibilities include gathering information about our clients, their products, services, market and competitors, answering queries from members of the community, researching and collating data and information, writing reports and planning and strategising.
So there you have it, you’ll be hearing more about what I do as I get into my role. I love it, I’m learning heaps, I still get to write, I’m broadening my skills, and learning from someone who’s been in the industry for a very long time. I’m even going to bestow the Social Guy aka the WineGeekNZ with the lofty title of expert, because he’s enormously good at what he does, and a great teacher to boot.
So if there’s someone at your work who fits the above job description, you might want to send them a message telling them what a great job they do tomorrow. Because the fourth Monday of every January (January 27th this year) is Community Manager Appreciation Day (initiated by Jeremy Owyang in 2010). If you’re on Twitter join the conversation using the official hashtag #CMAD2014, and check out 2014’s top 100 Community Managers on Twitter, compiled by Little Bird.