Thanks to Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst at Altimeter, one of my favorite resources, for reminding me that yesterday was Community Manager Appreciation Day around the world. All kinds of activities were held in celebration of the individuals who hold this relatively new position in companies.
You might want to read Altimeter’s study 10 Key Stats of the Community Manager Space #CMAD. If your company is considering who should manage social media within your company, then does it matter whether you hire a Community Manager or Social Media Manager?
Community Manager Role
According to Owyang’s definition on his Google+ account:
Collectively, Community Managers are the most powerful group on the Internet — but few stop to realize how and why they’ve achieved this. They’re trusted by the top corporations to relentlessly help customers in online channels, and are the modern day example of a concierge. Furthermore, they’re changing business and putting a human face, touch, to an otherwise cold digital landscape.
In reviewing Community Manager job descriptions, Altimeter found the most critical requested skills were writing ability (83%), customer relations in online channels in normal daily conditions (76%), and working with other departments (53%).
I’m not surprised by the writing statistic. The 140-word tweet and social media abbreviations are corrupting good grammar. Sad to say, good writing is in short supply these days. True story: I met with a young woman who had graduated from college with a Communications degree. She said she had never been required to take a writing course so she didn’t bother.
Role of Social Media Manager
Returning the title of this post, if the Community Manager’s job is so interwoven with social media, then what’s the role of the Social Media Manager? Are they often the same person?
I wrote about the seven basic duties of the Social Media Director in a post a couple of years ago, so I decided it was time to circle back to the subject.
I located this definition of a social media manager on WhatIs.com:
A social media manager is the individual in an organization trusted with monitoring, contributing to, filtering, measuring and otherwise guiding the social media presence of a brand, product, individual or corporation. The role is similar to that of a community manager on a website forum or public relations representative. Social media managers are often found in the marketing and public relations departments of large organizations.
Sounds a lot like the role of the Community Manager.
The Job Boards
I decided to check Monster.com to assess the level of interest in both titles. Monster listed 356 current searches for Social Media Manager.
Then I searched Community Manager – only 66 listings for Marketing Community Manager and within those were included Community Relations Managers. Monster offered an alternative, “Web Community Manager” which produced only two searches. But none for simply Community Manager.
I turned next to simplyhired.com, a site that aggregates searches on job boards, for Community Manager and a variety of jobs popped up, mostly for property managers and a few for health community care managers. But none matching Altimeter’s definition of a community manager. Then I searched for Social Media Manager and dozens of jobs came up with variations on that title.
My question is this: can the Community Manager be that essential when companies are not listing the position on job boards? A whole day is devoted to celebrating managers who are barely on the radar. Maybe I’m missing something here.
I turned to trusty Wikipedia and turned up no content for Community Manager but Wikipedia suggested checking Online Community Manager. It turns out that Jeremiah Oywang is the leading evangelist for this role, which he held at Hitachi Data Systems. He maintains lists of Community Managers and, in 2010, Oywang created Community Manager Appreciation Day, which caught on and is celebrated in several countries.
Community or Social Media Manager?
I admire Jeremiah Oywang and have no doubt that many companies employ Community Managers, but I wonder if that title is familiar to the vast majority of companies that are seeking talented individuals to manage their social media efforts.
If you’re a professional interested in a position in social media with a company, wouldn’t you be more likely to search the term “Social Media Manager?” That’s how companies are listing this function and the job title they most often use.
What do you think? Community Manager or Social Media Manager? Please leave your thoughts in the comment box. Thank you.