Are Community Management Specialists the Future of Social Media Marketing?

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Are Community Management Specialists the Future of Social Media Marketing?

Community management specialists come in all shapes and spelling. Call them (us) community managers or social engagement specialists, the job is more or less the same: manage communities. Increasingly, this means managing online communities numbering from tens of thousands to millions. It’s a new and yet very powerful position to be in, especially today.

What is the point of social media marketing? At its very core, its essence is driving word-of-mouth engagement between people. A well-managed community talks about its interests, its fears and loves, and its aspirations regularly. Whoever is managing these dozens of individual conversations are in a prime position – literally – to listen and understand otherwise inaccessible conversations.

The Future is Here

The statement above is a motto in my Alma Mater, and it sums up community management specialists well. Consider the following points:

They are the first to know anything. – In a game between big brands to outdo each other in creating word-of-mouth buzz, having the first word, action, or move in sets an immediately high standard. Crises can be nipped at the bud while it’s still brewing (by listening to increasingly negative sentiments) and good news can be amplified by repeating actions which work (such as successful Facebook status updates).

They control the brand’s entire reputation. – Whether brands/companies like it or not, they are at the mercy of their community management specialists. The uber-social world we live in now can spread bad news quicker than ever and a mistake (purposeful or not) published even for a split-second can cause severe damage to a brand’s reputation. On the flip side, a caring manager can literally drive positive conversation on his/her managed assets – creating powerful word-of-mouth engagement between people.

Community Management Specialists are the FutureThey are the social media world’s ‘ubermensch’. – Community management specialists are the unique hybrid between three separate and esteemed disciplines in marketing. They must possess the creativity of copywriters and artists, knowing exactly what to write and what image will go well with it to make his/her community go wild. They must have the personalities of PR specialists, as community management increasingly resembles customer support and -relationship management. Finally, they increasingly have the thought-process of a strategic planner, creating tailor-fit social campaigns best suited for their respective communities.

All bias aside – I am, after all, a community manager myself – this is the future simply because it is the current evolution of how social media marketing is coming to be, in the Philippines not least of all. Brands and companies are increasingly using their Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts for customer service, relationship management, and yes, making sure their communities are happy and appeased.