Social media professional Sookie Shuen makes the case for community managers everywhere.
Social media is an effective tool to engage your target audience, drive website traffic and, ultimately, boost sales. So why do so few companies employ a social media community manager? You know, the person that manages the whole thing?
At Tomorrow People, we've been developing our community management team and processes to real effect over the past 16 months. Many companies we work, including HubSpot, invests in employees dedicated solely to managing their social media presence. And they're all seeing great results from it.
So how do you make the leap? This post will tell you everything you need to know about integrating a community manager into your marketing department.
First, what are the benefits of having a community manager?
For us, it has made sense to hire a community management team, but it may make sense for other companies to retain these skills — it’s all about finding people with the right skills and enabling them to develop a community for you in the long-term.
1) Sets Up and Manages Profiles
Nothing makes your company look like it doesn’t care like half-filled in, out of date employee and company pages on LinkedIn or Facebook. Our community management team sets up and manages our company and employee social media profiles and groups. This involves setting up the content within our social media publishing tool — we use HubSpot, but just transfer this step to whatever tool you use — and ensuring profiles are standardized and present the company in a professional light.
2) Listens to the Buzz
A good community manager should listen to the buzz already online -- finding out what groups your target audience is joining on LinkedIn, for example, and who they’re following on Twitter. What are they talking about? What are they interested in? Who are the key influencers within your industry who you should develop a long lasting relationship with?
3) Grows the Network
A good community manager should grow your networks by engaging every day online (via forums and owned communities) and offline (via events, conferences, and meet-ups). They should also, of course, craft status updates, posts, and tweets social media depends on sharing excellent content. They should also increase your Facebook fans and quality Twitter and LinkedIn contacts. Quantity is important, but quality is crucial.
4) Distributes Content
Your community manager should promote your blog and website content to your network. They should help your company foster meaningful business discussions that will allow you to reach your target audience and gain more clients. It’s about dialogues, not monologues.
5) Joins the Conversation
This involves replying to online questions and comments immediately, giving your brand a face, and creating a relationship with prospects. The community manager should represent the client's voice, but should also be able to get their individual personality across.
What does the community manager not do?
A community manager isn’t responsible for:
- Marketing strategy
- Content creation
- Email marketing
- Lead nurturing
These tasks detract from the central role, but are all too often lumbered on community managers.
Is it worth it?
It’s definitely worth the effort for us -- and we’re sure it could be worth it for you, too! You should remember that while hiring a community manager is certainly an expense, you could save money hiring sales people or in other marketing hires.
Some of our clients even have no salespeople — they sell online, so the community managers are driving their sales directly!
We've noticed that employing a community manager drives approximately 30% more traffic to our website every month. Additionally, our average visitor-to-lead conversion rate for our B2B clients is 8%.