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The Difference Between Social Media Management and Community Management

Joe from Alaska asked your small business to ship a gift to his mother in Montana, but there was an error and it ended up on his doorstep instead of hers. He posts an angry comment on your Facebook page looking for answers.

Lindsey from Illinois is looking for a certain (now discontinued) item that you sold “oh, about 10 years ago, I think, but I’m not really sure. It was red.” She tweets your company, asking if you (or anyone else in the community) might have one lying around that she could purchase to replace the one her sister broke.

Both these posts were made on social media — but who should handle them? Should they be directed to your social media manager? Your community manager? Wait — there’s a difference?

There definitely is a difference between social media management and community management, and whether you have a person responsible for each task or you’re wearing both hats yourself, it’s important that you understand the distinction. Let’s explore.

What Is Social Media Management?

In our Joe and Lindsey scenario above, Joe’s dilemma falls under the heading of social media management. A customer has a problem, and it’s the social media manager’s responsibility to deal with it.

Your social media manager’s job is to represent your brand on your various platforms. They are the voice of your business — the company speaking directly to your fans and followers.

Social media management involves creating the content to be posted, scheduling the posts, responding to private messages and comments, keeping up with the analytics, reporting on what’s working and what isn’t, and maintaining your business’s online reputation.

What Is Community Management?

Now we come to Lindsey, who is using Twitter’s extended character count to her fullest advantage, explaining how that red tchotchke was her sister’s favorite, and Sis’s birthday is coming up, and it would make her entire year if someone could track a replacement down for her.

Lindsey’s situation could go either way. A savvy social media manager could tweet her back, saying “Unfortunately, that item has been discontinued. May we suggest XYZ instead?”

That doesn’t solve Lindsey’s problem.

A community manager, however, could rally the community. “Everyone, Lindsey needs this item! Check your closets and storage sheds and let’s save the day!”

If Lindsey is successful in her search, she’s going to be a customer for life, remembering how your community went above and beyond for her. If the search isn’t successful, the result is still the same. Just the effort alone has earned her loyalty.

It’s not all heroism, though. A community manager also deals with your everyday trolls, rule-breakers and those two people in the group who just can’t seem to comment on the same post without needing a referee. Community management is equal parts cheerleading, moderating, welcoming new members and creating connections with existing members.

Social Media and Community Management Are Different (And You Need Both!)

Creating awesome content, regularly posting, networking, bringing new people into the fold, responding to questions, concerns, complaints, etc. — that’s social media management. Fostering a sense of community between your members, the company, and each other is community management. And the best small business social media pages use both to give their audience a well-rounded experience.

If you’re a one-person show, however, it can be hard to play both roles at once. (Changing hats gets exhausting after a while!) If you’re finding it hard to keep up, let Mischa Communications take on some of the load! Our team of social media and community managers are ready to get down to business, so give us a call today.

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