In the beginning, there was the internet.
As the internet grew, groups and communities were formed. Businesses eventually became aware that they needed to harness the powers of these communities. The job of community management was born. While the growth continued, along came social media and from that came that new upstart “social media manager”. At the start there was a bit of chaff between the two groups. You were one or the other, and that difference was a big one. The basic differences boil down to job duties.
How are the two different?
A community manager is the person who will work directly with the community. The cmgr is the link from the business/brand and the people they’re trying to reach. They serve as a face of the company, representing the business across the on-line and offline space. They manage every kind of contact point from Facebook pages to forums to in person events.
A social media manager is a behind the scenes strategist who shapes and builds a business’s company social media program. A SMM needs to be on top of all the “new shiny” when it comes to the latest technologies and best practices (Facebook TOS anyone?) They work hand in hand with marketing to keep the social programs in brand voice.
Now, what I’m about to say may step on a toe or two (I don’t mean to), but I believe that, for some people the titles definitely overlap. While brands are beginning to explore the digital space and understand more its importance to them, many are not prepared to invest in creating both positions. These businesses hire one person, slap a title on them and plug them into the internet. This new team of one have to do it all. From creating the strategy to implementing it, from social media listening to front line customer service.
I consider myself to be a part of this new hybrid species and I think quite a few others are there with me. As both the two individual positions grow, I believe that this new hybrid will grow right along with them.
Are you a hybrid? Or are you in a more traditional role?