What Is A Community Manager And Why Are They So Important?

By Jonathon Tanner, Co-CEO and founder, Social Media College Commercial Director

As technology advances and new platforms, website tools and automation systems emerge, organisations understandably assume digital marketing management becomes easier however, this is not the case. Human beings need to assess these innovations to value their potential, and understand how they can be implemented. In addition, when it comes to establishing a brand on social media, humanising rather than automating is critical.  Many executives and managers do not fully appreciate how labour-intensive digital marketing and social media marketing can be. At the heart of social media marketing is bespoke content that relates to an audience when it is posted, and the profile owners’ responsiveness to audience engagement.

Social media marketing is a powerful and effective marketing tool because it allows the audience to engage with the content an organisation produces. Social media however, positions organisations in a public arena vulnerable to the excitement and outbursts of online users. Social media users have the freedom express their appreciation, criticise, advocate, or argue against an organisation. It is a frightening concept for marketers to be exposed to the emotions of the masses. However, in today’s market, dictated by the needs and wants of consumers, organisations have no choice.  If social media marketers do not participate in the online conversation, they will not succeed. With social media being around for quite some time now, it’s what people expect from organisations and brands.

Role of Community Manager

The community manager arguably plays the most important role in a social media marketing strategy as he/she engages with the organisation’s audience on a daily basis. It is essential that as the online audience responds to posts and openly voices their personal experiences with the organisation, a community manager is present to rapidly reply to audience feedback in a way that enables the audience to feel positive about the organisation. A consumer’s good feelings can thus provoke repeat purchase and loyalty.

Let’s go deep into the subject with the help of a case study that will make you better understand the role of Community Manager and their importance in the team.

Jetblue Airways Case Study:

Clever community managers also have the power to turn a negative comment into an overall positive experience. For example, when a Jetblue customer shared his disappointment of an issue during his flight with the online Twitter crowd, Jetblue almost immediately responded with a helpful and accommodating reply. The negative comment had the potential to spiral out of control and provoke a flood of more destructive comments, however the community manager’s quick thinking saved Jetblue’s brand.

In the case of organisations with many regulations or complex legal and ethical requirements, a highly detailed audience feedback template is essential to ensure the community manager can respond to online comments quickly whilst ensuring they align with the organisation’s policies and protocol.

Audience Feedback Template

Ensuring that there is consistency across all social media marketing channels, it is vital for an audience to understand exactly what the brand represents. Creating a social media audience feedback template guides when and how to respond to audience interactions on social media.  It also helps manage the social media team. Note that this is a ‘recommended’ course of action and reply – every organisation will have their own social media policies and procedures that an employee must know and follow.

Download the Audience Feedback Template.

Key Tips for a Community Manager

A community manager therefore, has many responsibilities including advocating their organisation or brand on social media, and interacting with online current and prospective customers. Below is a summary of key tips in order to ensure the success of a community manager in carrying out their necessary responsibilities and tasks:

  • Respond to feedback quickly and professionally
  • Address the individual directly and personally (often by mentioning their name in the comment)
  • Listen to what your consumer’s are saying online, be open to change, and react to changing sentiments about your brand
  • Demonstrate gratitude and genuine appreciate for the feedback and comments received online
  • Always adopt the ‘voice’ of the brand (every brand has a defined persona and style of expression which is apparent in all online and offline activities which should always remain consistent)
  • Be personable and humanise the brand by relating to your audience, and aim to provoke positive emotional responses such as laughter and smiles.
  • Think of creative and unique ways to engage your community and look to other communities for inspiration

For organisations who have established an active presence on social media networks, a successful community manager is pivotal to the effectiveness of an organisation’s social media marketing and strategy.


Jonathon Tanner, Co-CEO and founder, Social Media College

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