The number of companies looking to employ community managers has grown tremendously over the past year. Regardless of whether your organisation is a huge bank or a small retail company – people tend to think of a “community manager” as a singular person. While this used to make sense a few years ago, it doesn’t always work that way anymore.

Here’s why:

  • Job roles aren’t always clear. When you hire a community manager, you basically want them to “take care of the online community”. Managing social media accounts is one thing, but what if your community manager isn’t a good writer and you want him or her to write good blog posts? Or what if the community manager is a great writer, but lacks basic HTML skills to upload new blog posts? You’re going to have to plan for collaboration within your company if you want to empower your community manager with the right tools and skills to run your online community.
  • The community manager becomes the complaints department. Your community manager might be faced with tough questions from clients (and if your clients are a niche group of people – like intermediaries who sell insurance – you’re going to have to give appropriate answers). Will the community manager be able to engage in high-level debate or will they simply be posting answers like “We apologise for the inconvenience…”? If you’ve only got one community manager, you might be limiting the value you can give your community. When you’ve got a team of people working on your accounts and monitoring your brand across various social media platforms, you can cover all your bases.
  • Community management and digital marketing needs to go hand in hand. It’s great if you can find a community manager that knows your business, is proficient with all the social media platforms and likes to initiate conversations, but what type of input will they be able to give regarding your digital marketing strategy? Do you simply want somebody to tweet or do you want the community manager to advertise to the community, handle crisis communications, generate reports and analytics and give input on your company’s entire digital strategy? A single person usually won’t be able to fulfil all these roles.

One-man bands used to be the way online communities were run, but today it takes collaboration between an organisation, a dedicated community manager and digital strategists to continuously take online community management to the next level.

If you need help managing your online community, contact WSI.