The Community Manager is one of the most cited and in-demand digital professions of recent times. More and more companies are looking for professional profiles like Community Managers to hire internally or on the freelance work commission. The Community Manager (online Community Manager) according to Wikipedia:
The Community Manager is someone in charge of the management of a virtual community (also called an online community), with the task of designing its structure and coordinating its activities. It is a profession linked to Web 2.0. The Community Managers initially designs the community structure and events, based on any user requests or the objectives of a client; they then define the aggregation methods, chooses the tools, services, and discussion categories and, if required, they also use moderators, promoters or other figures, who support them in the management of the community itself to create an environment in which the members feel free and safe to express themselves, to dialogue, to communicate, to collaborate, without fear of being judged or misinterpreted.
We can safely say that this is another professional figure that has become indispensable for companies that want to operate in the digital world. But who are the Community Managers and what do they do? What skills should they have, what courses should they attend, and above all, how could you become a Community Manager?
We, therefore, made two interesting video interviews on the subject:
- Claudia Berti interviewed Luigi Zanni, Digital Strategist & Social Media Manager consultant at LifeGate and co-founder of Zootropio. They spoke about the professional figure of the Community Manager, increasingly strategic and necessary for companies to manage branding activities on the web
- Stefano Belli interviewed Francesco Ambrosino, Community Manager, Social Media Manager, and blogger, blog author of socialmediacoso.it
FIRST INTERVIEW – LUIGI ZANNI, Community Manager
The Community Manager is certainly a profession that has grown rapidly over time. This is a role that performs the task of acting as a bridge between the well-known brand, or one that is building its reputation, and the online platforms that allow direct contact with all users present on social networks.
We are now living in a time of transformation of the role of the Internet, compared to how it was perceived a decade ago.
The role of the Community Manager, if implemented effectively, can be truly decisive in the context of a brand’s communication strategy, especially due to the change in how the public uses the web: increasingly large groups of users spend many more hours on social networks instead of doing direct searches of the institutional sites of the brands.
Thus, a good presence of companies on social networks may intercept a significant number of prospective customers, interested in the product or service being offered.
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How has the relationship with users changed in recent times and how much more interaction on Social Media makes website visitors more aware and informed?
This relationship has evolved. In the early days, communication was unidirectional: the company made its communications and the audience received them passively.
With the advent of the web, the first forums, and the possibility of communicating via e-mail, there has been an actual revolution in communication. The route has been paved for a two-way direct line between the brand and the user. Social networks today are the maximum expression of this mode of interaction because they allow you to immediately ask questions and receive answers, as in a real conversation.
These social conversation networks, therefore, turn out to be not only places of visibility and communication but also customer service tools, which allow for a direct, effective, and decisive relationship in situations in which the customer wants an answer to their needs.
Two-billion-dollar question! Of course, it varies a lot from case to case.
What I can recommend to anyone about to embark on a Community Manager strategy for a brand or business to promote is to, first of all, be actively present on social networks, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or any other platform.
It is fundamental to:
1 – do a market analysis, figure out what our competitors are doing, if they are already online, and how they manage their web activities;
2 – evaluate which platforms may be more suitable for the brand, depending on the type of product or service it offers, trying to understand which social network offers the possibility of making yourself visible and interacting with potential customers and with the target users you want to reach ;
3 – begin monitoring the identified platforms, publishing and getting to know the community, and interacting with listening skills;
4 – study an editorial calendar that allows you to develop more and more interesting content for the people to reach.
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The type of advertising is different for each platform. If we take for example Twitter, compared to Facebook, it has very different types of ads, just as sponsored posts on Instagram are different.
YouTube has taught us that pre-roll commercials can sometimes be effective whereas other times, they can turn against it and not have the desired results.
The advertising formats should be chosen specifically for each platform in order not to run into, for example, the experiences of some brands that use videos created for TV also for the web, simply by adapting them, creating this déjà vu effect, not normal and suitable for the Internet platform.
Discussion is perhaps the most important part of what happens on a Facebook page, Twitter profile, or other platforms.
Knowing how to moderate and manage a discussion is very important because it allows you to have a direct relationship with the user, which is the goal of being on the social network, and offers the opportunity to give answers to increase the trust of our clients/followers who perhaps initially were not very convinced.
Being prepared on the topics, and knowing what the contents posted are about is certainly the basic condition for being able to manage the debates by the Community Manager, who manages that page, or by his collaborators.
When specific and sectoral contents are published, whoever writes and is competent, is perhaps the first subject involved in moderating the debate and in providing answers to any questions.
In an editorial reality, in addition to the editorial staff of the magazine, which deals with creating all the content that is published, there must also be:
1. a Community Manager who manages all the daily content publication based on the editorial calendar;
2. a graphic designer, even if, now the necessary graphic skills are also carried out by professional figures who are not graphic designers;
3. a good creative who intervenes when necessary and who goes beyond the lines strictly marked by the type of editorial masthead, who can provide original ideas when looking for particular solutions;
In my first-hand experience, this type of collaboration is capable of delivering good results.
SECOND INTERVIEW – FRANCESCO AMBROSINO, Community Manager
Who is the Community Manager?
The Community Manager is a professional figure halfway between the social media strategist and the company, that is, the person who directly manages the social channels on behalf of the company, and also who does the dirty work. The Community Manager publishes content, in many cases, and also creates them, replies to messages, and comments, and interacts with the community acting as a filter for the company. In short, the person who works the most!
How do you become a Community Manager?
Considering that almost all young people are “digital natives” and have a good approach to technology and the web, a lot of them are starting a career in web marketing, then the remaining ones are specializing in community management (find out more about it here community definition) – perhaps specializing in some social networks, in particular – and those who instead aspire to become a marketing specialist, dealing with digital marketing at 360°.
So you tend to get there either because you have marketing training, or maybe you have more digital skills and you start a path like that of the Community Manager.
For example, a 20-year-old boy who wants to start gaining some experience to supplement his income during university can follow the Facebook page of the family business or that of an uncle’s friend and thus begins by gaining experience and then slowly creating a network of small customers and then continue growing.
It’s a way to approach the digital trade without needing investments, which remains an issue for freelancers.
Is a social media manager the right career for you?
What is a Community Manager’s job description?
The Community Manager is a professional figure who has good foundations both in terms of marketing and humanistic training because also must have good language skills.
The Community Manager is the one who creates, retrieves, and shares content by and on behalf of the company on social profiles, therefore, on a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or on a Google page (check out our local marketing course).
The Community Manager is someone who creates content and conveys it by responding to the needs of the company. Community Managers are a link between the company’s traditional communication and customers. In summary, they deal with creating a community to generate direct involvement with customers (engagement) which is the main goal.
Which tools must a Community Manager be able to use?
A tool for managing multiple social accounts, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or Postpickr easier for those who manage multiple accounts instead of constantly logging in and out or opening 1000 different browsers, can use a single platform with a single dashboard to manage multiple profiles.
However, we have to be careful, because Facebook, for example, is very closed when it comes to third-party applications, therefore this creates new limitations every day, that’s why I always advise Community Managers to learn how to use the proprietary platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google plus, etc.), for the tools provided directly by the platforms.
Also obviously, there is a need for management software to facilitate your job. So the Community Manager should also know how to use Facebook Ads and their insights correctly because if data is not read properly and accurately, well-structured advertising campaigns won’t bring the desired results. He must also know how to use all those tools that a web freelancer uses in general, from Google Drive to Canva for visuals, Trello (to name a few), and Facebook groups that I recommend because they are full of very useful functions and so managing a work team is helpful.
What other professionals does a Community Manager interact with?
The Community Manager acts as a filter between the social media strategist and the company. The Community Manager is the person who follows the strategic indications developed by the strategist so he is the one who is responsible for the results when things go wrong.
The Community Manager is the one that does the work that takes up the most time and energy but must be able to work in both phases because companies often have no idea how social media marketing operates. An indispensable skill for the Community Manager is patience.
How Much Does a Community Manager earn?
It depends on the social networks handled. And by assuming the costs of a Community Manager at the outset, we could be quantified at € 100,00 ($ 110,00) per social network per month.
It depends on who the customer is, its expense possibilities, what are the objectives, and above all how much content needs to be created because if you have to produce an online newspaper that publishes 50/60 articles a day and you have to report them all on social media, the commitment is very different from the one that requires the publication of only one article a day for a company that does b2b.
We have to consider that few pieces of technological equipment are needed and therefore the investments are not huge, because a good computer and an internet connection are enough to work. In conclusion, it’s a stimulating job as it allows you to learn many new things and to work in several sectors.
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