In marketing, social media has always enveloped a variety of tactics, platforms and strategies. As the space is maturing two distinct disciplines are starting to emerge, and while these disciplines overlap, I think they require unique and separate approaches.
If you represent a brand you want to listen to your customers, talk to your customers, and get your customers to engage with each other. There’s a natural tension between talking to your customer and listening to your community. Because of this, there are distinct disciplines coming out of social media, social marketing and community management.
The community manager is the advocate for the community. They listen, they foster discussion and they advocate for the customer within the company. These are the people that build trust and empathy.
Social marketers fuel discussions with marketing content and build the interactive experiences that live on social networks. They get attention for the brand and create experiences that extend the social reach of the brand.
One can’t live without the other. Without community managers you’re not building real community, you’re just building followers. Without social marketers, it’s a lot harder to attract a community and give them content to share and rally around. The tension between advocating for the community and advocating for the brand is what helps make social programs successful.
Which one are you? Does your brand have both?