By now, social media is a normal and necessary part of running any organization. It’s a cost-efficient way to grow an audience, develop a brand narrative, and reach new consumers. A high-quality social media presence involves crafting compelling content, posting it at enticing intervals – to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or an alumni platform – and interacting with a growing community of followers.
Traditionally, these tasks have been the domain of the social media manager. But recently, a number of ambitious, creative outfits are breaking this job in two and are generating better returns from online community investments than ever before by creating a brand new position; the community manager. Having two complimentary social media positions makes sense. The job of branding, messaging, posting, and engaging the online public is becoming too big a job for just one person. First, a worker must come up with creative content that reflects the brand accurately, proves compelling to relevant audiences, avoids political pitfalls, and has staying power. Then they have to know how to post it to different platforms in different ways at different times. Then they need to nurture each audience, so they stay engaged, tell friends, and don’t become bored, disillusioned, or captured by competitors. Engaging a community is doubly important in an alumni network. Organization alumni are more likely to stay engaged if they feel connected to the worker communicating with them, or at least feel invested in keeping alumni engaged more than devising how new content should look.
Given all these factors, there are at least three excellent reasons every organization should create a community manager position.
Time is money
Once a robust social media presence is established, it can be time-consuming to thank every follower, respond to every tweet, answer every question, block every troll, ping every influencer, elevate every compliment, and delete every profanity. The act of engagement requires a keen sense of brand awareness, an ability to navigate many platforms, and excellent people skills. Creating content, of course, requires time and attention to graphics, video editing, and posting metrics. The job is massive and is getting more laborious each year. This is why community managing should be treated as its own function.
Two heads are better than one.
It can be hard to come up with new, creative content each week. Sometimes there are no new ideas, and a brand’s message can start to feel repetitive and stale. It would be great to be able to garner new ideas from the followers who actually value and engage with the brand. A good community manager has spent time typing back and forth with followers and reading the reactions competitors get from their followers. Community engagement can be a fantastic place to get all sorts of new ideas. This is where a community manager can do research and report back to content creators to spark new marketing streams and even branding tweaks that resonate with brand new audiences.
A different set of skills
The two positions – content creation and community engagement – rely on two very different sets of skills. Creating content is a creative effort that advances marketing, while community engagement is a social effort that advances outreach. No one type of person is “good at social media,” and organizations who think this way are likely to undervalue community engagement, which is where some of the biggest returns can be made. Capturing the allegiance of a few influencers, bulk consumers, prominent clients, or dedicated former employees can help transform a company overnight. This division of labor will likely become the norm among successful organizations. Therefore, organizations looking to make huge strides against their competition would benefit from hiring or appointing an official community manager sooner rather than later.
Alumni Reach is a comprehensive corporate platform that can help community managers maximize the impact of their networks more than with social media alone. To reach the largest possible audience and pull from it the best ideas and most dynamic creativity, an alumni platform can make a community manager the most valuable asset to any organization.